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  • FIRST POST
    MSE Martin
    What to do when a partner/spouse dies.
    • #1
    • 8th Jan 07, 6:34 PM
    What to do when a partner/spouse dies. 8th Jan 07 at 6:34 PM
    MSE Update:

    We now have a guide, Dealing with Death that we hope may help along with a Forum Board: Deaths, Funerals & Probate

    Why I'm doing this?

    Very sadly, just before Christmas one of the chat forum's user's husband died, and she received great support and advice through it (here's the original thread, and of course I checked with Stormybay she wouldn't mind me making this public)

    It made me think, at that difficult time, help is needed to sort out the logistics of money, and organisation - a checklist of things to do, as thinking straight at such a time is very hard.

    Is it just for a spouse/partner

    No, if it applies when another close family member, or a friend for whom you act as next of kin dies, tips there are relevant too.

    What help I want?

    So I need your help, those who've been through it, please feedback your experience and advice, I'll then combine this with my own notes and make an checklist article everyone can use if they need it.

    Thank you

    Martin

    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 26-03-2014 at 10:24 AM.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

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Page 3
  • mskitten2904
    hi, I may be wrong but I think it is only people with low income that can recieve help with funeral costs but that does not necessarly mean you have to be claiming benefits?
  • impecunious

    Martin- can sub-board be started on Bereavement ?
    by montycat
    I second this. We are all told that there only two certainties in life and taxes are already covered on MSE. Like the majority I suspect, when we have an impending issue to solve we start here and, surprisingly, there is not a board dealing with this massive issue. Not only is there a financial issues to be resolved, but emotional ones of course.

    In 90 minutes time, I am having to go to the hospital to register the death of my son who was stillborn on Monday. This was my first child and I have never even been to a funeral before. I really don't have a clue and neither does my wife. Can we somehow change this so that others in similar situations have a better understanding of the trials we all have to face?
    If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend 6 hours sharpening my axe
  • cazrobinson
    http://www.willaid.org.uk/

    you can donate money to charity instead of paying for a will ANY AMOUNT WILL DO!

    very moneysaving!

    this is for a straight forward will - more complicated wills they do charge for (110 each!! usually!!!)

    we did this for both of us, with a local solicitor.

    we have three children and felt it was very important to do asap.

    hope this is helpful!
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always recieve lots
  • scoobiedoo101
    As previously mentioned, any joint account/asset will be frozen as soon as one of the holders/signatories dies. The best thing to do is to get a solicitor to draw up an Enduring Power of Attorney, which allows someone else to act for you in the event not only of death, but also if you become incapacitated or unavailable in any way (eg breaking both wrists, going into hospital, getting dementia, going abroad). Costs about 80.00 at the moment but in April the government is making it much more difficult to set up an EPA! We've just drawn up wills with lots of inheritance tax planning and EPAs and we feel much better for it!
  • TRUDYLOU
    I Was Widowed July 02 Aged 34, My Baby Was 13 Days Old & I Also Had A 7 & 5 Yr Old.
    I Got Most Of My Help From Social Security. They Were Very Helpful And Told Me What I Was Entitled To & Even Gave Me A Direct Phone No If I Had Any Worries !
    As We Knew My Husband Was Terminal We Had Time To Sort Things Out. Got The Will Done, Got Married, Put All Bank Accounts In Joint Names. All Of Which Made My Life A Little Easier, Not Everyone Has This Chance But Its These Things That Make A Difference.
  • jlh
    Can anybody advise me. My husband and I have "mirror wills" leaving everything to each other when one dies before the other - all pretty standard. The mortgage is in my hubbies name and I think this may cause problems should anything happen to him (he has cancer). Should we go to the expense of adding my name to the mortgage, which I was told would be in the region of £300 - £700 as its quite a complicated business, or just leave things as they are. Any advice please? thanks, jlh
  • montycat
    Me again ,

    One other thing I found useful was ,to accept offers of help .You also have to be strong to state your wishes as well .It is easy for people to trample on your wishes as well .

    Memory Boxes .

    Put anything belonging to the deceased in a box (or suitcase) -If you have children ,you can include ,memories they have written ,things they have drawn ,meaningful pictures etc .I ts is painful and ,therapeutic at the same time .
  • Cinders2001
    My Mother In Law died in November.
    She had no Will.

    Get a Will.

    We are going through all the formalities as best we can while we are waiting for the Solicitor to do his bit in getting the Letters of Administration ready.

    It will cost less to get a Will done, than the Solicitors fees now having.
    For us, as she didn't have or do much, it is fairly easy to arrange all the stuff after her death.

    But had she had a Will it would have been even easier.

    Get a Will - don't make it hard for those left behind.
    ** Freebies and money saved with the help of you all? - Don't know ....lost count! **

    Thank you costs nothing but means a lot. That's why I thank all posts I like!
  • WRabbit
    First of all to anyone reading this thread because of a bereavement - condolences.

    Couple of things - remember England/Wales and Scotland can differ in some of these areas, so when Martin's writing this up he needs to remember that (I know he will, but just a reminder ).

    What scoobiedoo101 said about the power of attorney is useful, but AFAIK all powers of attorney stop immediately on death. But it is extremely useful if the person is alive but unable to deal with their own affairs. In Scotland there are 2 different types - continuing and welfare. The former deals with financial things, and the second with personal stuff. They only kick in when they're registered. They cost a bit of money to do, but it's cheaper both financially and emotionally than having to go to court at a very stressful time.

    Split money between you or have it in joint accounts. If it's in a single name account it will get frozen on death.

    There's been several good suggestions about keeping all your financial stuff together. The one thing people often forget is accessing the person's computer.

    We're all told to keep our passwords for online things secure, but this can be a major problem if something happens. You might not be able to get onto the persons computer, check their e-mails or check online things. This is one of those exceptions to the rule about security. Keep an uptodate note of all online accounts with their usernames/account references. If you're uncomfortable including passwords then don't, but make sure someone knows exactly what online stuff you have setup ie continuing authorities off credit cards etc.

    A lot of people who have small business do their accounts at home, so being able to access the PC and the accounts package etc can be vital. All business related info should be written down somewhere and stored securely. The same goes for any business users out there - make sure that information isn't stored in just one person's head.

    A friend's father has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour. His company had problems as a result because he was the one who did the payroll!
    Last edited by WRabbit; 10-01-2007 at 12:28 PM.
  • Happiness71
    Can anybody advise me. My husband and I have "mirror wills" leaving everything to each other when one dies before the other - all pretty standard. The mortgage is in my hubbies name and I think this may cause problems should anything happen to him (he has cancer). Should we go to the expense of adding my name to the mortgage, which I was told would be in the region of 300 - 700 as its quite a complicated business, or just leave things as they are. Any advice please? thanks, jlh
    by jlh
    The wife and I went in for this WillAid thing recently. My wife is not on the mortgage. The solicitor mentioned some sort of paperwork that it would be advisable to complete to ensure the house went automatically to the wife if I died. I forget the name - perhaps someone here could remind me? Anyway, my understanding is that you don't actually have to be on the mortgage as long as this other paperwork is sorted but it could be an issue without either thing being done.

    Further the wife is not an EU citizen. Any involvement of her family members abroad in the care of our child (should we both die) would need a solicitor in that country to sort out the paperwork. So, because our marriage is mixed nationality there are a number of hurdles with wills to sort out! Beware if your situation is remotely similar.
  • Happiness71
    Can anybody advise me. My husband and I have "mirror wills" leaving everything to each other when one dies before the other - all pretty standard. The mortgage is in my hubbies name and I think this may cause problems should anything happen to him (he has cancer). Should we go to the expense of adding my name to the mortgage, which I was told would be in the region of 300 - 700 as its quite a complicated business, or just leave things as they are. Any advice please? thanks, jlh
    by jlh
    The wife and I went in for this WillAid thing recently. My wife is not on the mortgage. The solicitor mentioned some sort of paperwork that it would be advisable to complete to ensure the house went automatically to the wife if I died. I forget the name - perhaps someone here could remind me? Anyway, my understanding is that you don't actually have to be on the mortgage as long as this other paperwork is sorted but it could be an issue without either thing being done.

    Further the wife is not an EU citizen. Any involvement of her family members abroad in the care of our child (should we both die) would need a solicitor in that country to sort out the paperwork. So, because our marriage is mixed nationality there are a number of hurdles with wills to sort out! Beware if your situation is remotely similar.
  • Happiness71
    Can anybody advise me. My husband and I have "mirror wills" leaving everything to each other when one dies before the other - all pretty standard. The mortgage is in my hubbies name and I think this may cause problems should anything happen to him (he has cancer). Should we go to the expense of adding my name to the mortgage, which I was told would be in the region of 300 - 700 as its quite a complicated business, or just leave things as they are. Any advice please? thanks, jlh
    by jlh
    The wife and I went in for this WillAid thing recently. My wife is not on the mortgage. The solicitor mentioned some sort of paperwork that it would be advisable to complete to ensure the house went automatically to the wife if I died. I forget the name - perhaps someone here could remind me? Anyway, my understanding is that you don't actually have to be on the mortgage as long as this other paperwork is sorted but it could be an issue without either thing being done.

    Further the wife is not an EU citizen. Any involvement of her family members abroad in the care of our child (should we both die) would need a solicitor in that country to sort out the paperwork. So, because our marriage is mixed nationality there are a number of hurdles with wills to sort out! Beware if your situation is remotely similar.
  • elona
    When my fathet died in August his bank, helpfully said that they could deal with Probate for me as they had a special department and I "did not want to pay for solicitor's letters!"

    I found out that they would have charged me at least £1200 for a simple situation.

    I did this myself for about £120 and it really was not difficult.

    A friend of my DH died suddenly in early October and because no one could find a will and because there is confusion about whether he has a child - legal hurdles mean he is still not buried or cremated.

    If the person who has died was in any kind of union there may be some benefits to come from them - it is worth asking.
    Last edited by elona; 10-01-2007 at 4:38 PM.
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  • Never too old to learn
    One thing that people sometimes over look when sorting out the financial matters is contacting the Inland Revenue for a refund on the deceased Tax. My aunt paid tax on her pension and when she dyed as the executor of the will I applied for a refund and received a cheque for approx 600 which went to my mother who was beneficiary of her sister's will. When reading this back it sounds a bit money grabbing during what was a very sad time but my aunt would have got such a big kick out of knowing the Inland Revenue had to give back all of the tax she had paid that year.
  • Happiness71
    Can anybody advise me. My husband and I have "mirror wills" leaving everything to each other when one dies before the other - all pretty standard. The mortgage is in my hubbies name and I think this may cause problems should anything happen to him (he has cancer). Should we go to the expense of adding my name to the mortgage, which I was told would be in the region of 300 - 700 as its quite a complicated business, or just leave things as they are. Any advice please? thanks, jlh
    by jlh
    The wife and I went in for this WillAid thing recently. My wife is not on the mortgage. The solicitor mentioned some sort of paperwork that it would be advisable to complete to ensure the house went automatically to the wife if I died. I forget the name - perhaps someone here could remind me? Anyway, my understanding is that you don't actually have to be on the mortgage as long as this other paperwork is sorted but it could be an issue without either thing being done.

    Further the wife is not an EU citizen. Any involvement of her family members abroad in the care of our child (should we both die) would need a solicitor in that country to sort out the paperwork. So, because our marriage is mixed nationality there are a number of hurdles with wills to sort out! Beware if your situation is remotely similar.
  • mazhen
    Making a will
    Yes I agree making a will is a good idea but to be honest after the loss of a loved one your head is not always working properly. After my husbands death 9 years ago I did make a will almost immediatley, however 9 years down the line my emotions and feelings are very different and I have just had a new will drawn up including a deed of variation. Other advice get in touch with your local tax office and get them on your side and on your case and inform the benefits department of your loss. Sadly in the first few months keeping focused on your entitlements can keep you sane.Take care stormybay life will never be the same just different and easier to bear as the months and years roll by. I'm here if you need me.xxx
  • moses3256
    Before my father passed away last year, he said he had made everything simple for my mom by making a will. However, when we started dealing with his affairs after he passed away, we found the deeds to the house ( which they had finished paying for years ago) were in his name only. This was not an uncommon thing to do in those days - he was 82. This meant that although there was a will, my mom still had to go through probate to get the deeds put into her name before she could be legally entitled to sell it.
  • simphart
    WHEN MY FATHER PASSED AWAY IN JANUARY OF 2006 ON MY BIRTHDAY, I WAS DEVASTED AND MY BROTHER WHO LIVED NOT FIVE MINUTES AWAY PROVED USELESS ALTHOUGH I HAD A 90 MILE ROUND TRIP TO SORT THINGS OUT THE FIRST THING IS FUNERAL AND DEATH CERTIFICATE.
    THEN COMES THE SORTING OUT OF ANY PAPERWORK EVEN IF YOU HAVE A WILL YOU STILL HAVE TO GET PROBATE IN COURT FOR IT.

    i.e.:- 1ST) PROBATE THIS CAN BE DONE YOURSELF THROUGH THE COURTS IF MONEY MORE THAN £15000.00.
    2ND) BANK ACCOUNTS HAVE TO BEFROZEN SO PROOF SUCH AS DEATH CERTIFICATE MUST BE TAKEN TO BANKS THEN WHEN YOU HAVE PROBATE THEY WILL RELEASE ANY MONIES.
    3RD) MORTGAGE COMPANIES/COUNCILS MUST BE INFORMED WHEN THE PARTY DIED AND PROOF AGAIN MUST BE SEEN.
    4TH) FUNERAL EXPENSES THEY WILL WAIT UNTIL ANY MONIES HAVE BEEN RELEASED OR IF NO MONEY SOCIAL SERVICES WILL PAY UPTO ABOUT £1000.00 IN FUNERAL EXPENSES.

    BUT I MUST WORN EVERYONE I HAD TO PAY THE COUNCIL FOR MY FATHERS HOUSE UNTIL I COULD CLEAR IT AND ANYTHING IN THE GARDEN THEY HAD TO CLEAR COST US £700.00 IN FEES, ALSO ELECTRICITY,GAS AND PHONE BILLS HAVE TO BE PAID UPTO THEIR DEATH AGAIN EVERYONE REQUIRE PROOF THIS IS WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND GETTING COPIES OF DEATH CERT. AT LEAST 3.
    Last edited by simphart; 10-01-2007 at 2:18 PM.
  • Australia
    When my sisters husband died the children notified the credit card company,bank etc of the loss of their father. They all immediately froze all the accounts so my sister was unable to access any money etc even to pay for the funeral. Suggest that everyone gets a credit card etc in their own name (not joint or additional cardholder) then when the worst happens life does not kick you down even further.
  • angeltoad
    An Advance Directive or Living Will is at least as important as the will in my opinion , but far more rare. The best resource for all kinds of things like this - advice, forms, how to DIY funerals etc,is the Natural Death Centre : http://www.ac026.dial.pipex.com/naturaldeath/
    I strongly recommend THe Natural Death Handbook. It is a good way of bringing up the topic of whether someone wants to be buried or cremated, kept alive by mechanical means or allowed to die gracefully should they be mortally ill, and whether they want an all singing, dancing funeral with plumed horses and a full choir, or a simple plywood box and no flowers.
    The most important thing to remember is that there are a number of people out there whose objective is to make money out of the death, and you do not have to say "yes" to their offers of "help". You do not have to be rushed into things. One of the best funerals I attended was where friends carried teh coffin, we sat in a circle around it ina local community centre and just siad what we felt rather than have a formal service in a church, and he was buried in an eco-burial site where there were no traditional headstones. some had trees, somehad pi,les of rockes, some had a rose bush or a rosemary plant, some nothing at all. It was on top of a hill with glorious views and, we all helped to fill in the grave and then decorate it with flowers. Strange at first but it was therapuetic, and it felt like putting him safely to bed rather than anything grim. It was a beautiful day, and everything was fron the heart, and organised by those who knew and loved him.
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