My dad passed suddenly, I would be ever so grateful if anyone can help with any advice

Good morning, wondering if anyone can please help with a little advice?  My dad suddenly passed last Tuesday and I have a lot try and sort out.

Mum is next of kin (but not capable of sorting anything as dad has always done everything and she has not got a clue how all the bills, etc work)  Dad had not made a will and apart from a joint bank account and the bungalow they live in everything is in his name only.  We have today heard from the Coroner that his body is being released to the funeral director and that the Registrar will contact me by phone within the next few days.

I was wondering about how many copies of the death certificate I might need, was maybe thinking about 6 or 7?  as well as all the usual bills, there are 3 small private pensions all the with same company and 5 very small life insurance policies all with different companies.  And was also hoping to use the Government Tell us once service.

I am not sure if I will need Letters of Administration, I have read so much over the past few days my mind is a fuzz.   From what I understand the bungalow will transfer over to mum as they are joint tenants and the bank hopefully should do the same with the bank account, the balance of the account is only a couple of thousand pounds.   The 5 life policies only total about £6,500 but from reading them I cannot work out if he named mum as the beneficiary if that is the correct wording? So I am not sure if that means I have to apply to be Administrator or if because they are for a small amount I can just hopefully sort them for mum.  (not even sure if this makes sense, so I do apologise)

Might there anything else I have missed or should sorting or doing?

I am very happy to and would like to try and sort everything out for mum, sorry if you think I am asking questions that might have been asked many times before but want to make sure I am on the right track to do it all correctly.  I am also in the process of sorting out lasting Power of Attorney for mum to enable me to help her in the future with her finance and health. 

I would be very grateful and thank you so much to anyone who might be able to help with a few pointers in the right direction xxx


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Replies

  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    First of all sorry for your loss.

    Stop and take a breath.

    When you register the death you can use the 'tell us once' service to notify government departments.

    get a notebook and make a list of what needs to be done

    List the bank accounts, the life policies. utilities, council tax etc and anybody else that needs to know

    Then make a note against them when you do anything. 

    That  way you can keep track of what you have done.

    Contact the banks' bereavement section as they will advise you waht you need to do aboutt eh accounts.

    Some companies can view the death certificate online so no need to send a copy.  Others will accept an emailed copy , so don't get too many. I had 3 but really only needed two.

    When you send it to a company they generally return it by return post.  

    If your dad was in receipt of state pension your mother may be due to inherit  some of it.  This should be done automatically   but can take ages so a phone call to the pension service can speed things up

    Have a look at the government website

    https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death




  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    I'm sorry for your loss. I'd get about 10 copies of the death certificate. You'll probably need to send it off to each pension provider and bank and while they will return them, it will save time if you don't have to wait for it to be returned by one company before you can send it to the nest.

    The joint account should automatically pass to your mum, and the house(if they owned as Joint Tenants) too . It is sensible to update the land registry but not urgent.

    As he didn't have a will, intestacy rules apply. It sounds as though it's a small estate (th house isn't part of it as it's held jointly) so everything will come to your mum.)

    The insurance companies will be able to say whether the funds go direct to your mum or not - if not, you or your mum may need to apply for letters of administration (probate), or they may be willing to release the money to her if she signed an indemnity saying she is the person entitled. 


    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • katies_mumkaties_mum Forumite
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    Thank you so much for replying,  I have a notebook and have started to make a list of all the companies but hadn`t thought about making notes each time I do anything, that's really great advice.  As soon as I have death certificates was going to start with the bank, life ins and pensions.   Thank you will check about the state pension, dad was 86 and mum is 85, currently she gets a small government pension as didn`t pay a lot of NI or work a lot when she was younger.

    Please might you know if dad had set up direct debits in his name from their joint account will they just transfer to mum? or is it dependent on the bank 

  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    Do you think his sole assets are likely to exceed £270k? If so it complicates things a little as not all of them go to hi# wife under intestacy rules.

    Whether you need letters of administration or not depends on what assets he held. Large cash deposits may need it as would any equities he held.

    I would highly recommend you talk to your mother about setting up lasting powers of attorney for finance and welfare as it seems she is already in need of financial assistance.
  • edited 20 January at 2:40PM
    thegreenonethegreenone Forumite
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    edited 20 January at 2:40PM
    A quick phone call first to the direct debits/gas/electric/water/Council Tax to let them know and how they would like to see the DC.  Some will let you email a copy.  Otherwise, they will be requesting money from an account that technically doesn't exist.

    As sheramber says - a notebook or as I did, a basic Excel spreadsheet. I bought five DCs and that I found enough as most companies return them very quickly.  It will probably be the insurance co's that will ask for them. Also, contact DWP re Widow's Pension.  They will know from the Tell Us Once Service but no harm in kick-starting the process for Mum so she feels financially secure.

    It's a tough time.  I lost Mum in November 2020 and we lost FiL on NYE.  I'm sorry for your loss.

    Edited:  While arranging LPA please, please ask your Mum to write a Will.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    A quick phone call first to the direct debits/gas/electric/water/Council Tax to let them know and how they would like to see the DC.  Some will let you email a copy.  Otherwise, they will be requesting money from an account that technically doesn't exist.

    As sheramber says - a notebook or as I did, a basic Excel spreadsheet. I bought five DCs and that I found enough as most companies return them very quickly.  It will probably be the insurance co's that will ask for them. Also, contact DWP re Widow's Pension.  They will know from the Tell Us Once Service but no harm in kick-starting the process for Mum so she feels financially secure.

    It's a tough time.  I lost Mum in November 2020 and we lost FiL on NYE.  I'm sorry for your loss.

    Edited:  While arranging LPA please, please ask your Mum to write a Will.
    If the gas and electric bills are coming out of the joint account but are only in his name, and if either are on fixed term contracts please be aware that your mother may have to switch to a more expensive tariff. If that is the case I would wait until near the end of the contract before arranging a new one in her name.
  • KxMxKxMx Forumite
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    I wouldn't buy that many certificates, lots of places accept a digital upload and those that don't soon return the original.
    Even with lots of companies wanting one they can be dealt with a few at a time, easier to manage and cope with.
  • BooJewelsBooJewels Forumite
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    Firstly, my sincere condolences.

    Others have already noted the things I would have posted - but I reiterate the value of a notebook to keep everything in one place.  After speaking to a few similar companies, you start getting confused about what was said by who, so having good notes will be valuable as you make more and more calls and end up at different stages with different companies - as some matters may drag on over weeks - some get sorted first call.   Be meticulous with filing/storing paperwork too.

    As I ring anyone I write down the date and time and if when they answer, they give their name, jot that too and what department they're in - especially if you've been transferred.  If you do get transferred - ask the person you're speaking to if they have a direct line or there's a dedicated department phone number, save you starting with the switchboard/main number again.

    Always ask to speak to their bereavement department when calling - they're generally well trained, sensitive and able to make the changes you need that some other departments don't have access to.

    I'm just finalising 2 estates and it would be my unofficial personal observation that the more money involved, the more hoops they'll make you jump through.  The biggest pension pot I claimed was the last thing to settle and there was quite a lot of back and forth with forms and asking for more documents etc. so just patiently provide what they ask for in turn and wait it out.

    If your Mum is only getting a small state pension, she may be eligible for Pension Credit - my elderly aunt got this when her husband passed.  As mentioned, the Tell Us Once service stops your Dad's pension very quickly, but you might need to speak to them directly about seeing if she inherits any of her husband's.  Whilst I'm below pension age yet, I've been trying to sort it out (missing NI years myself too) after my husband died and I actually found them very obliging and they did a forecast for me, but warned that they take some time to do, but it might be worth kick-starting that process.

    You asked about joint bank accounts - again, Bereavement departments will sort that for you - your Mum might get new cards or cheque books, but it is all sorted within a couple of weeks.  As for DDs - I spotted one this week that I noticed was still in joint names - the utility account's in my name, but it shows the DD coming from the joint account - but payments have continued throughout - so it doesn't necessarily trip it up.

    Be aware, if you're setting up an LPA with your Mum, the OPG say that they're taking around 20 weeks to set up new ones or make changes.  A family member has changed hers and we're exactly week 20 today and we've not heard anything back yet.  So that won't be a quick fix unfortunately.

    I would think that 5 or 6 DCs would suffice.  But also keep one filed away for yourself - at some point in the future you may need it - in handling my Dad's estate, I also needed Mum's DC on a couple of occasions.  When you get them, do a good quality scan of one, if you're able, as there are many companies that will accept a photocopy (I just print the scanned file) and many now that will either accept an emailed copy, or have upload portals that they send you a link to - did that with the banks.
  • katies_mumkaties_mum Forumite
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    Oh my, thank you all so much for sharing your advice with me, it is so kind x

    I have read lots and lots about intestacy rules but finding it still confusing as to whether or not I might need Letters of Administration.    The Life policies dad has are very small £1,781, £1,341, £540, £1,340 and £1,548, I am hoping they won`t insist on L of Administration.  Suppose I will only find out once I contact them (they are with different companies)  His monthly private pensions are £86 and £65 and there is another £35 every quarter.  

    His sole assets won`t exceed £270k and there are no large cash deposits apart from an ISA I have just found details of with is with Santander for £10,400, but looking at their website it says you only need L of Admin if it is more than £50,000.
    Funny you should mention about the Gas and Elec, yes it is a fixed deal until 30 July 2022 that dad set up, unfortunately just in his name.  I did wonder if anything was changed regarding this that mum might lose out.  Might we get into trouble if we didn`t advise them about dad until July?   

    A will for mum is defo on our to do list.

    I think what they have is classed as a small estate, but am learning new info daily.  I don`t know much about Pension Credit but will definitely look into it, thank you.  Yesterday the coroners office also mentioned `widows pension`  I don`t know about that either.   My to do list is getting longer and longer.

    I have read that LPA`s are taking around 20 weeks, I started the forms online last week but havn`t had time to do any more yet...its on the list.  

    I will make detailed notes of everyone I speak to, names, dates etc and will keep a DC safely filed away, also I will ask my `technical expert` - daughter to also do some scanning for me.

    Once again thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, all your information is really helpful and very much appreciated  xx




  • BooJewelsBooJewels Forumite
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    You're very welcome @katies_mum - I think most of us are speaking from recent experience.   I wish you luck - I personally actually found it helpful to get stuck in and be doing something. It's actually a bit harder now much of it is done.

    In respect of letters of administration - my gut thought is that you won't need it and that wait and see if anyone asks for it or you can't progress something without it. 

    Maybe someone else can clarify this - but when you're an executor, you have a legal right to undertake certain administrative tasks - further enhanced if you also get probate. I don't know if there are any potential difficulties without that legal endorsement (ie no will/executor)? If companies might insist on it before they'll deal with you?  I don't know the answer myself, so maybe someone else does. 

    I dealt with Santander for 2 estates with several accounts and they were the best I've dealt with.
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