What is to be done with bank accounts after a death can vary. In some cases, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. To avoid any complications, the bank should be notified immediately, and you should find out the procedures for releasing these funds, and how to set up a new account for funds received after the death. It’s recommended that a joint account stay open for at least six months to allow you to deposit any cheques that are made out to the deceased. To take a name off a joint bank account, banks require an original copy of a death certificate. If the deceased had a safety deposit box in a bank, the contents can be sealed after death and an original copy of the death certificate will be required to gain access to the contents.
A death certificate is necessary before anything can be done. A death certificate can be obtained by making an appointment with the local register office. It is a good idea to obtain multiple copies of a death certificate as most agencies require an original certificate and not a photocopy. (Funeral directors only require a copy so no need to pay for one for them)
Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries. During the probate process the executor of your will goes before the courts and indentifies and catalogues all the property you owned, appraises the property, pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will. Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place. Simply speak to your solicitor to find out what you can do to avoid probate in your area.
Everyone knows they should have a will, but the vast majority – about 70% of us – do not. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes. As well, if you have children, you can leave instructions on who will be left in charge of them if you pass, leaving that decision out of the Courts’ hands. Making a will is easy, you just need to be at least 18 years of age and must be of sound mind when the will is written. To make a will legal it must:
• Expressly state that it is your will
• Be computer generated or typewritten
• Be signed and dated
• Be signed by 2-3 witnesses, these witnesses must be people who don’t stand to inherit anything in the will
Although you do not need a lawyer to complete a will, it is recommended to do one with a lawyer, as it will avoid any legal headaches after your passing. Once your will is complete, it’s recommended that it is kept somewhere safe and secure outside of your home. If you do your will through a lawyer, most law firms will store it for you free of charge. Many people keep their wills in a safety deposit box at a bank, but this is not recommended as the contents could be sealed at the time of death. The executor of your will should be aware of the location of it.
Registering a Death;
The registration of the death is the formal record of the death. It is done by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The local office in Pontypridd is Municipal Buildings/Gelliwastad Rd, Pontypridd CF37 2DP
A death should be registered within five days but registration can be delayed for another nine days if the registrar is told that a medical certificate has been issued.
If the death has been reported to the coroner you cannot register it until the coroner’s investigations are finished.
It is a criminal offence not to register a death.
Please contact us for help during this time.