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The process after someone has died

(19 Posts)
SheilaBirling Mon 21-Nov-16 12:29:54

My Aunt is at the end of a long life. My Dad, who is younger ~(but at 83, quite old) is becoming distressed about the process after she has actually passed away. One concern he has is getting her personal effects from the hospital (he is in the West Country but she is in hospital in Middx). He also thinks that we will have to clear the house out at once. I am liasing with the minister about the service and am also doing the eulogy. Obviously I will be at the funeral, but I am in Devon and will have limited time to "clear out" until the Christmas holidays (when I will have plenty of time). Could anyone help at all?

IEatCannibals Mon 21-Nov-16 12:32:09

Does she own or rent the home? Who will benefit from any estate? Could they help? Can you afford a house clearance professional? Maybe go for one day to get anything you wish to keep and then let a house clearance person do the rest.

SheilaBirling Mon 21-Nov-16 12:35:08

My brother and I will be left something (I think it is a funny number like 11 and a half percent each of the estate). I just wonder - does it have to be this week or next?

TheMerryWidow1 Mon 21-Nov-16 12:38:07

depends if she owns her own or rents, if its Council they don't give you long might be days or a couple of weeks. If she owns then you'll have to get Probate on her Will before you can even think of selling. You'll need to locate her Will, if she has one, as well.

CMOTDibbler Mon 21-Nov-16 12:44:52

My dad was in the same situation - his aunt died in Dorset, he lives in Oxfordshire (I live elsewhere again) and is too frail to travel.
The funeral directors collected her personal effects, so that was no issue.

Does your aunt rent or own her home? My great aunt owned hers, so after I made one trip to collect photos and some other things dad wanted the solicitor arranged for a local charity house clearance service to come in. However I know someone else whose grandparents had a council house, and that had to be cleared in 2 weeks, which was very challenging. I think they got rid of the furniture and had movers pack everything else and put it into storage, then sorted afterwards.

Viewofhedges Mon 21-Nov-16 12:45:19

It does depend entirely on whether the house is hers or not.
If it's hers probate can take some time so it's unlikely you'll need to rush. We're in the same situation with a family member and have been advised probate could take months. If she rents, perhaps some discreet enquiries to the landlord will help you and your dad prepare.

Perhaps you could speak to someone at the hospital, or a local undertaker about personal effects from the hospital so that you can put your dad's mind at rest on that one. They will deal with this all the time and they'll be able to give you and answer.

Leopard12 Mon 21-Nov-16 13:04:16

If she owns outright there's not really any rush, after my gd died the house was due to be spilt 4 ways but they decided to let one of them stay there for a while and it's still not even up for sale 7 months on, I'm not sure about if there's rent or a mortgage to pay I'm not sure you would have to contact the bank/landlord but a sale might take months anyway and you could offer to pay the tenancy so you have time to clear out over Christmas

Sosidges Mon 21-Nov-16 13:59:40

If you do have to clear quickly, you could try the Air Ambulance or St Francis Hospice. They both do house clearance but may not cover your area. We had to pay but it was worth it because they took everything and cleaned the house after.

Sosidges Mon 21-Nov-16 14:02:32

Our local Coincil collect rent until the house is cleared. They give you one calendar month.

SheilaBirling Mon 21-Nov-16 14:28:58

Sorry - to clarify - my aunt owns her home entirely. That is interesting about the undertakers collecting the persona effects. Thank you.

IEatCannibals Mon 21-Nov-16 14:32:01

You've got all the time you need then. People who inherit the estate may push for the house to be cleared in order to sell but normally don't. And if they do then they're welcome to clear the house themselves. You can't sell the house until you get probate anyway and that can take months. Obviously you can clear the house of effects before then as long as none of the beneficiaries object.

gillybeanz Mon 21-Nov-16 14:36:32

I'd let the person who will benefit from the largest percentage of the estate and the executor sort it out tbh.
Even straight forward wills and probate can take months to sort out.

Ifailed Mon 21-Nov-16 14:40:39

The hospital will hold on to her personal stuff for a while on the ward, but it will need collecting at some point quite soon afterwards. ask if they will allow an undertaker to do so, remember it's still her property (or rather the estates) it will need signing for. Had this last year with my DP, I slowly removed stuff as the end came near so they was just a holdall to pick up afterwards. Is there any family or friend who could help out?

greenfolder Mon 21-Nov-16 21:46:01

Tbh I would try to get to the house soonish if no one is going in regularly just to take anything of value, sentimental or otherwise.

JaniceBattersby Mon 21-Nov-16 22:50:42

My FIL took three years to clear out his mum's house. The other beneficiaries of the estate were not best pleased...

Sosidges Tue 22-Nov-16 08:43:55

Once she has died you can contact all of the utility companies that supplied the house and also Local Authority for Community Charge.

Ask to speak to their probate departments, I found them really good. They put a stop on the accounts to stop any more DDs being paid while probate was sorted. Then when the house is sold, they ask for meter readings. Stop the telephone immediately, but gas, electricity and water you will need. British Gas recommended getting someone to switch of the mains. I also recommend asking a neighbour to keep an eye on the property and give them your number. Royal Mail will also redirect the mail to you, which really helps.

I used a specialist probate company, which was much cheaper than the solicitor. It took 4 months and cost £600.

poisonedbypen Tue 22-Nov-16 08:53:52

Check the household insurance. It will be valid until probate comes through but may require the heating to be on sometimes and someone to visit once a week.

Sosidges Tue 22-Nov-16 10:48:25

That is a good point as the weekly visit was part of the Insurance for us too. Fortunately for us, her neighbour happily took on the role and turned off the gas.

kath6144 Thu 24-Nov-16 21:54:36

Op - Hope you are doing ok. Since she owns the house, there is absolutely no rush to empty it

My DM died earlier this year, we did get estate agents out straight after the funeral, but only because DB didn't want to return to our home town anytime soon. Then it is up to the executors how quick to put it on market, and the house can be emptied whilst it is on market. Mums sold v fast but we then had 3 months for sale to go through, giving DH and I plenty of time to empty it.

Assuming she has a will, and depending on the complexity of her estate and who are executors, it is a fairly easy process to do Probate without professionals. My DB and I were joint executors, I did most of leg work, but it was straightforward, getting the value of bank accounts, life policies, value of house, value of any other possessions (v little in mums case!) - I posted the probate application within about 8 weeks of her death and we had the oath swearing about 3 wks after that. However, we did know what accounts and life policies she had, so didn't have to hunt for paperwork.

As others have said, gas and electric need to stay on. BT cut the phone off as soon as DB rang them, not a problem as no one there. When the death is registered there is an option to 'Tell everyone' which will basically let council tax, inland revenue, benefits/pension office etc know of the death automatically. Very useful as it saves ringing everyone. It can also include passport office and DVLA.

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