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Relative died insolvent (probably)

(10 Posts)
Kathysclown Sun 27-Dec-15 13:04:27

A cousin of my DF died recently. To the best of our knowledge, there was no will. She was not married/in a Civil Partnership, and had no children, and her only sibling is deceased, as well as her parents.

Her next of kin are probably her nephews, but their whereabouts and contact details are not known.

The cousin was a director of a limited company, but this seems to have had liabilities but no assets. Her accountant has said that she did not file accounts in the last 12 months, and the family solicitor has indicated that upon initial investigation, she probably died insolvent.

My DF seems to have been left the task of both organising and paying for the funeral, as well as trying to potentially sort out her financial affairs.

The solicitor has indicated that as my DF is not the next of kin, he cannot try and get access to the deceased's laptop (which is the place where we think any clues may be found to other back accounts, wills etc, if they exist). Additionally, the solicitor will not provide any further support/advice now without being paid (fair enough, but we don't want to run up a sizeable legal bill for dealing with this).

We really don't know what to do and where to look for support in all of this. Does anyone have any suggestions on the following?

- Does the local authority have a duty to provide a funeral, as the relative died insolvent? Does anyone have any knowledge of what this kind of funeral would consist of (i.e. would my DM be allowed to attend, have any say in the date etc?). Taking on the burden of organising the funeral ourselves would probably incur a cost of several thousand pounds, which obviously is not an undertaking that can be done lightly, although we would do it if that is the only way of ensuring that she has a 'suitable' burial.

- How do any creditors get notified of her death? We don't know who she backed with/invested with etc.

- How does Probate work, and is that relevant to this situation? Do we need to inform anyone regarding this?

- We have tried to complete the 'Tell Us Once' form on the You.Gov website, but we are not the next of kin (and it should be completed by NOK), and we also don't have all of the relevant documents e.g. passports etc.

This really is all a big mess, and one that we are just not sure how to see our way through......

Any advice would be welcomed please.......

annielostit Sun 27-Dec-15 15:09:41

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/resources-and-tools/navigation-tools/Search/?q=Death+intestacy&t=2

Might help here.
The solicitor isn't being helpful.sorry for your lossflowers

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 27-Dec-15 15:18:34

I can help with the funeral part - there is a funeral grant that some people on low incomes are eligible for, although it's really small.

In terms of what you get, it's about £700 towards a coffin/flowers/funeral directors, fees, plus you can claim for "reasonable" travel costs to the funeral and burial/cremation fees. If the person has a pre-paid funeral plan, you can't claim for anything covered in that. It's usually paid to the funeral director but if you've already paid them, it can be paid to you instead.

Eligibility is a bit more complicated in these circumstances. You have to claim within three months of the funeral, AND have a suitable relationship to the deceased AND qualify yourself.

A suitable relationship is classed as being the partner, close friend or close relative of the deceased, the parents of a stillborn baby over 24 weeks, or the parents of a deceased child under 20.

You also need to get a qualifying benefit, so income support, income based JSA, income based ESA, pension credit, housing benefit, the disability or severe disability element of working tax credits, an extra element of child tax credit, or universal credit.

To claim, you fill in an SF200 form. They'll review how much money the deceased had, and let you know how much you'll receive.

To be very honest, I think a cousin of your DF is probably too far removed for you to be able to claim, but your mum could try if she's on one of the benefits named above. She should probably expect to be rejected but if she explains the circumstances, there's a chance she'll be eligible. Otherwise, the nephews would need to qualify and claim themselves.

scarlets Tue 29-Dec-15 15:41:02

Honestly? In the context of a cousin I barely saw, with a company in debt, I'd leave it to the next of kin. I wouldn't get involved.

This might sound terrible but in the absence of a legal obligation, I wouldn't regard the probate stuff as my problem at all.

I would chip in for a simple, dignified funeral with other relatives.

planter Tue 29-Dec-15 15:44:25

If your DF isn't the next of kin, or executor, how has it fallen to him to sort it all out? It seems to me he could just walk away (although obviously might not want to)

ginmakesitallok Tue 29-Dec-15 15:50:07

Why is it being left to your df? Why does he need to do anything? Was he close to his cousin?

Kathysclown Tue 29-Dec-15 16:56:32

i think it is just a sense of obligation to my Df's late aunt and uncle, to be honest. He was close to his cousin as a child, and had a cordial if not especially close relationship as an adult. There just isn't anyone else to pick this stuff up - the Next of Kin only met their aunt at most twice in their lives, and we have no idea where in the world they are or how to get hold of them - it's a long story.... (we know that a search agent could possibly find them, but that in itself would cost money.....). I have talked with my parents about none of this being their legal responsibility, which they agree, but if they don't do it, then who will? That is the nub of the dilemma really...... Thanks for the advise to so far, nothing much has
Progressed so far, will see where it all goes.....

titchy Tue 29-Dec-15 17:02:07

The local authority will arrange the funeral if no one else will.

planter Tue 29-Dec-15 17:07:00

Apart from the funeral, what else is there to do? Debts will die with the cousin, and it really doesn't seem worth getting entangled. They're all dead, there's no point the living taking on these "dead" obligations.

It's sad, but it isn't your responsibility.

tattychicken Tue 29-Dec-15 18:51:23

Like a PP said, if the NOK cannot be found, and no one else is willing or able to pay, the Local Authority will pay for a simple funeral.

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