Practical guide to bereavement

As adults we are aware of the cycle of life.  However, even with this knowledge, when death happens to a family member or close friend it can turn your world upside down. Arranging the funeral and dealing with their estate seems a mammoth and daunting task. We can provide support, practical guidance and legal advice to help you through what can be an extremely difficult time.

Our guide and checklist will help you through the tasks ahead:

Registering the death

Before any other arrangements can be made, the death needs to be registered and must be done within five days:

  • Contact the doctor or hospital to obtain a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
  • Telephone the Register of Births and Deaths in Leeds on 0113 222 4408 to arrange an appointment to register the death. Appointments can be made at any of the One Stop Centres in Leeds, Armley, Chapeltown, Dewsbury, Garforth, Harehills, Middleton, Morley, Otley, Pudsey, Rawdon, Rothwell and Wetherby. The appointment usually lasts around half an hour and you will be given the Death Certificate at a cost of £4.00. It is advisable to obtain two or three further copies at a cost of £4.00 per copy.

Who to inform

  • Family members and friends.
  • Employer or educational establishments.
  • Health professionals with any appointments needing to be cancelled.
  • Care Agencies such as social services, home carers, meals on wheels etc.
  • Inform a solicitor to check whether the deceased made a Will and to see who has been appointed as the Executors. You will also need to instruct them, or a solicitor of your choice, to assist in obtaining the Grant of Representation, if required, or for them to simply encash the assets in the estate and distribute the monies out as per the Will. If no Will has been made we can assist with the rules of intestacy and guide you through the process.

Arranging the funeral

  • Check to see if the deceased planned their own funeral or whether there are any specific wishes contained in the Will.
  • Contact the Funeral Director to discuss the funeral arrangements
  • If the Funeral Director requires a deposit and the bank accounts have been frozen, we can assist in liaising with the Funeral Home and the banks to have money released to cover the costs of the funeral.
  • Obtaining the Grant of Representation.  Our Private Client Team are able to guide you through all aspects of administering the deceased’s estate and ensuring that your loved one’s wishes are fulfilled.  We can help with obtaining the grant whether a Will has been made or not.

Encashing the assets and distributing the estate

Once Probate has been granted we have the legal authority to close bank accounts, sell property and shares, and deal with the general administration of a deceased’s estate.

We work closely with our experienced in-house conveyancing team who will be able to act for you in the sale of any property. This reduces the amount of time you will need to spend dealing with the affairs as the entire administration is dealt with together.

Our help to you

We can do as much or as little as you need to help you through this difficult and emotional time.   During a free initial meeting, either over the telephone or in person, we will be able to simply guide you in the right direction or act on your behalf.

For advice and guidance please contact us on 0113 320 5000 or email us at wills@winstonsolicitors.co.uk.

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