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The latest lockdown restrictions make it difficult, once again, for those going through upsetting times, such as dealing with the loss of a loved one.

   

Dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away can be stressful at the best of times. But the restrictions in place make it difficult to share the tasks with other executors, find comfort from friends and family or even carry out some of the errands such as visiting banks and dealing with funeral plans. Third parties may take longer at replying than usual due to staff members working remotely and the overall process may not feel as smooth as it should.

   

Not being able to see a loved one before they pass away due to the covid-19 restrictions can be heart-breaking and it is very understandable that managing the affairs after death can put further strain on mental health.

   

Our Private Client Department who take care of sensitive legal matters all year round offer some words of advice for executors or family members who are responsible for the winding up of their loved one’s estate.

   

#1 First Steps

 

The first 3 practical steps that you need to take are to;

  • Register the death (to obtain the death certificate)
  • Locate the will
  • Make funeral arrangements
 

After these steps you can seek advice from a solicitor on how to deal with the probate application, check if any inheritance tax is payable and go through the process of winding up the estate and division of assets.

 

#2 Seek Support

 

Coping with the terrible news that a close friend or family member has died is difficult. Many people are suffering during these periods of lockdown without the physical contact of others – whether it is receiving hugs from family, the company of colleagues or being able to take your mind away from the loss by visiting friends or taking part in your usual hobbies and leisure activities. Make sure you talk about your emotions, allow yourself to grieve and find ways of getting support in line with current restrictions. It is important to take care of yourself during these challenging times, be kind to yourself, reach out to others who are grieving and if you are struggling with day-to-day life, seek professional support from your GP or a counsellor.

   

#3 Make a List

 

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount that you have on your plate. Break it down into manageable pieces and keep a ‘to do’ list. Ticking off a couple of tasks each day will help you remain in control and give you a sense of accomplishment each day. Set aside a list separate from your other household chores and prioritise what needs to be done first. Task yourself with achieving a certain amount each day or each week and take it slowly. Sometimes it is advised to do the most difficult task first, one that you would normally put off such as an upsetting phone call or complicated piece of paperwork, this can help motivate you to complete the rest of the more straight-forward tasks.

   

woman at a funeral with white lillies probate solicitor

#4 Seeing a Solicitor

 

Given the challenging year we have had, law firms are now well adjusted to helping clients remotely rather than seeing them in the office for meetings. This also can have the benefit of being more convenient for people who are working from home, self-isolating or unable to travel. If you do wish to see someone face-to-face or do not have access to video conferencing such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, then our Solicitors are able to carry out meetings in our covid-secure offices where we have screens in place, or they can offer home visits for vulnerable, elderly or disabled clients.

   

#5 Focusing on Your Legal Affairs

 

The death of someone close to you can often spark the sense of urgency to prepare and sort out your own legal matters. Whether you are concerned about the pandemic, other health worries or just want to ensure that the process is made easier for your loved ones to deal with. Getting a valid will in place and also considering an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) is a good place to start.

   

Getting Probate Advice

 

If you are responsible for dealing with the administration of a death and need some advice on where to start or find yourself getting overwhelmed with the process, then please feel free to call our Private Client Team for guidance.

   

Our offices are closed to the public during this national lockdown period; however, we are contactable over the phone (01256 844888) via email at enquiries@lambbrooks.com or through our live chat service on the website – which is manned by a real person, not a robot, 24 hours a day.

   

We are here to help you navigate the practical and legal aspects of losing a loved one during the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

     

Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

I’m an Executor of a Will, What Do I Need to Do?

Taking Care of a Property When Someone Dies

How to Start Writing a Will: 8 Simple Steps

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.