Following a loved one’s death, it is more than likely that the family and friends of the deceased are left to deal with all the matters following the death. This can be a daunting task at a very sensitive time.

Our Wills & Probate solicitor, Usman Khan has set out some clear steps for you to consider and follow to help you with this process.

Death Certificate
Before the process can begin you must obtain the Cause of Death Certificate from the hospital where the deceased passed away, or, if the death occurred elsewhere, from the deceased’s own doctor. Once this has been issued, the undertakers can take the deceased into their care to enable the funeral arrangements to be made. You will also have to formally register the death at the local Registry Office within five days of the date of death. Your solicitor will need an original Death Certificate and original Will, if there is one. You should, therefore, ask the Registrar to issue several certified copies of the death certificate. Your solicitor will then be able to begin the process of obtaining the grant of probate, (or letters of administration, if the person died without a Will).

Assets and Liabilities
You need to identify the assets and liabilities and pass all bank and building society paperwork, property valuations, insurance, pension shares, premium bonds, bills etc. to your solicitor who will contact the companies involved to determine what the assets are and what debts are owed such as credit card debts, HP agreements, mortgages etc. When your solicitor has the full details of all assets and liabilities, the Inheritance Tax liability, if any, is calculated. The paperwork will be submitted to HM Revenue & Customs who will return a certificate to your solicitor.

Swearing of the Oath
On receipt of the certificate from HM Revenue & Customs your solicitor will proceed to prepare the Oath form to be sent to the Executors for swearing before an independent solicitor. The Oath form is submitted together with the Revenue’s certificate to the Probate Registry to issue the Grant of Representation. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the Grant should take a couple of weeks to be issued. When the Grant is issued it is then sent to the banks, insurance companies etc., to request closure of accounts and payment of sums due to the estate to your solicitor. Where there is property involved your solicitor should carry out the necessary work to transfer the ownership.

Distribution of funds
On receipt of all assets and payment of all liabilities your solicitor will proceed to distribute the estate in accordance with the deceased’s Will or in accordance with the Intestacy rules if there is no Will. At the time of the transfer it is advised that the beneficiaries sign for the assets received.

Usman Khan

Usman is our Wills & Probate expert, with clear and concise advice, Usman can help on all matters arising within Wills and Probate.  Call Usman now on 020 7395 8591 or email

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