What happens when I die?

What happens when I die?

It can be uncomfortable to think about it. But if we really want to ensure that our wishes are seen to and our loved ones are protected, we all have to ask ourselves a very natural and important question: what will actually happen when I die?

Firstly, the police should be notified and a doctor will be able to issue a medical certificate of the fact of death. Soon the coroner will be contacted and, unless there is an inquest required, it will then be possible to register the death formally at the Register Office and arrange the funeral.

Who arranges the funeral? Ordinarily this is done by next of kin, but if there are no close family members the executor of the Will can undertake this duty.

Then the administration process can take place in full. Estate asset holders (banks, pensions, etc.) are notified, along with anyone to whom money is owed from the estate. Probate may or may not be required, depending upon the size and nature of the estate or the contents of the Will. If you have any concerns as to whether or not Probate is required, you can contact us: we will be happy to provide initial guidance free of charge.

There can however, during these difficult first few days, be a period of near-lawlessness. Often we at SWW Trust Corporation see that, when there is not an expert professional to oversee matters carefully, a lot of things can go wrong during this difficult time. Disinherited family members may steal or destroy the Will; cash or jewellery may go missing; locks could be changed, and other impediments to the true and proper management of the estate can arise. After the event it can be very hard to correct these wrongs.

So how can you ensure that this most sensitive time passes with minimal distress to your loved ones?

We recommend keeping your Will regularly updated and safely stored, along with any deeds, original share certificates, policy documents and other crucial paperwork. Ask your Will writer for any help they can provide. We also recommend having a funeral plan arranged – again, your Will writer should be able to help you with this – to minimise confusion and distress, and to ensure that the funds will be available to have the ceremony you want and deserve.

For deeds it is a particularly good idea to register your land ownership through the Land Registry. Speak to SWW Trust Corporation about our services: we would be happy to help.

Keep good records of your professional contacts – your executors, Will writer, financial organisations – so that it is easier for those who want to do right by your estate to tend to your wishes. Make sure that if you do have valuables, or spare cash, that this is all safely stored and protected.

Appointing a professional executor such as SWW Trust Corporation can really help in difficult families, to act as an independent, professional and expert service: ensuring that your estate passes precisely as you intend.


James Greenwood

Estate Case Manager

SWW Trust Corporation

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