Death and the following days

23 July 2015

Death sadly comes to us all, it is only a question of when and we are honoured to receive calls from relatives and spouses of those that have sadly passed away, usually within a very short period of time, to ask for our advice and guidance as to what to do next.

Obviously it is an emotional and difficult time and it is important to be sympathetic to the needs of those that are suffering.

It is important at this crucial time to be mindful of a couple of basic points which can make a significant difference to family members at what is a very troubling time.

First of all you would normally register the death with the Register Office. They will issue a death certificate to you at that time. It is possible, at the time of registering the death, to receive 10 death certificates at a cost of £40 - £4 per certificate. Although this seems excessive, many pension and insurance policy providers will require sight of an original certificate before they will release any funds. Bearing in mind that undrawn pension funds can be released to those nominated under the pension fund, without recourse to probate and very quickly, it is a very useful way of providing a family with cash flow promptly. The value of the pension fund normally falls outside the estate for inheritance tax purposes and can provide some useful security for a spouse, as an example, when the breadwinner passes away.

If you do not get 10 death certificates then you may find that approaching the various policy providers will take significant time because of the to-ing and fro-ing of certificates. It is also of note that if you do return to the Register Office to gain additional death certificates they will charge you £7 or even £10 per certificate, depending on the length of time since the death, instead of the original £4.

One additional key point is that many banks are required to freeze a current or deposit account on notification of death. If a couple only have joint banking facilities we have seen this cause difficulties where a surviving spouse correctly notifies the bank that their loved one has passed away, to then find that they have no access to cash. We had one lady who was unable to pay for her weekly groceries at a local supermarket because the bank had frozen her debit card. Although the position is normally quickly resolved it can create a few pinch point moments over the initial few days, which can cause unnecessary angst and embarrassment.

These are very simple points at a difficult time but they can make a significant difference to the surviving spouse and family.

If you would like advice on your financial planning, inheritance tax, pension nominations, or other issues surrounding the protection of the family in the event of death then please do not hesitate to contact the team at Chapters Financial in Guildford or Woking.

No individual advice is provided during the course of this blog

Keith Churchouse
Chartered Financial Planner
Certified Financial Planner
ISO22222 Personal Financial Planner
Chapters Financial Planner

Chapters Financial Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, number 402899.