Podcasts, Radio Programmes and a TED Talk

Here are five links to some intelligent insights about why we should learn to be more comfortable with talking about death, before it happens.

Dying Matters ‘Let’s Talk About It’.  14 podcasts from the charity Hospice UK. It’s talking to people who do talk about death.  Thoughtful and informative.

Simon Evans Goes to Market – Death BBC Radio 4 programme – Laugh out loud at the economics of death

We need to Talk about Death’ Joan Bakewell 9 episodes.  Another BBC Radio 4 programme.  Informative.  This explores choices open to us.

At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.  It is a Social Franchise.

Michell Knox talks with straightforward gentle humour about why you should ‘take ownership of your finale’

If you have been asked to be someone’s executor, the Verat Executor app can help you hold conversations with the will writer.  It is a place where you can store the information you may need when carrying out your role.  If the will writer shares information about themselves before they die, it will make your life as an executor easier and less likely to make a mistake.

The Verat Executor app is available on The App Store and Google Play.

Executor’s Insurance Policy

If you have asked someone to be your executor, do you and they know what the possible pitfalls are?

The Trustee Act 2000 says that as an executor, you are personally liable if you make a mistake (or do something deliberately wrong).  The liability is unlimited.  This liability last for 12 years after the death of the estate owner.

Insurance policies are available for executors.  I found one for £560 that covers up to £1,000,000 for 18 months (NOT 12 years…).  The cost of the policy can come out of the estate (if there is enough money in the estate).

According to ExecutorsInsurance.co.uk. the reasons you may face a claim against you are:

  • “Neglecting to properly insure the assets of the estate if it suffers a claim
  • Diminishing the estate through imprudent investment and inadequate book keeping
  • Failure to pay the correct taxes on the estate
  • Selling an asset without the agreement of all the executors involved with the estate
  • Engaging in an action which constitutes a conflict of interest without declaring or disclosing your interest to all relevant parties
  • Improperly delegating a decision to someone who has no legal authority over the estate
  • Paying or distributing goods, chattels or assets to the wrong beneficiary and then failing to recover those assets or monies to the detriment of other beneficiaries
  • Failing to identify a creditor who subsequently makes a claim after the estate has been distributed
  • Missing an overseas bank account relating to the estate which subsequently comes to light and results in a tax fine after the estate has been distributed.”

Devastavit

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Executor – What if there is no will? Who sorts things out?

The Administrator

If someone has died and not left a will, someone still needs to sort out what to do with everything left behind.  This person is known as the ‘administrator’.

You can apply to become the estate’s administrator if you were the:

spouse (husband or wife) – even if you were separated

civil partner

child

BUT

You cannot apply to be the estate’s administrator if you were the partner of the person but were not their spouse or civil partner when they died, i.e living together, even if it has been years and you had children together, gives you no legal recognition (there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ wife or husband).

Citizens Advice has a more detailed list on the link here.

How to apply to be the administrator

To apply, you follow the same steps as applying for probate.  I’ve written another blog to help with this.

There are several steps you need to take before you can apply for ‘letters of administration’, again in other blogs I have explained what you need to do.

Once you are in a position to apply, this page on the Gov.uk website is helpful.

If you are applying by post you will need to fill in form PA1A – linked here.

You will need to send it, with supporting documents to your district probate registry – the Gov.uk website has the addresses – link here.

Cost of Letters of Administration

There is a cost to this.

But, and this is a faff, you need to pay before you send the form.  The costs are £215 if the value of the ‘estate’ (all possessions and money)  is £5,000 or over. No fee if the estate is under £5,000. Extra copies are £1.50 each.

You will also need to factor in the cost of recorded delivery for posting the precious evidence documents that you need to send with the form.

By the way, there is some brilliant double-speak on the Gov website that says you must pay before you send the form, but you can send the money with the form.  Breathe out, let your shoulders drop and know that you are not alone in finding the bureaucracy silly.

You need to pay before you send the form.

You can pay by either:

  • calling the card payment phone number of your district probate registry between 9:30am and 3pm to pay by debit or credit card – you’ll be given a reference number to send with your documents
  • sending a cheque payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service with your documents’

Also don’t be put off by the fact that the form talks about Grant of Representation rather than Letters of Administration.  The Letters of Administration are a type of ‘Grant of Representation’.

You’ll eventually receive ‘Letters of Administration’ to prove you have the legal right to deal with the estate.  They should be with you within eight weeks.

Before you go, here’s a question:

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