Who deals with property when someone dies?

The responsibility of dealing with the deceased’s property falls to the Executor (when there’s a Will) or the Administrator (when there’s no Will). This means that if anything happens to the property after the owner dies, they are responsible for resolving the issue. 

Before dealing with the property, it’s important to ascertain how the property was owned. It could be that the property was owned solely by the deceased or they co-owned it with someone else, so the deceased only had a share in the property. If the property is owned as joint tenants, it will automatically pass to the co-owner. If the property is owned as tenants in common, the deceased’s share will form part of their estate and needs to be dealt with in line with the Will/rules of intestacy. 

When dealing with the property, the following could be involved: 

• Organising specialist building insurance – when a property is left unoccupied, restrictions apply to standard insurance. A policy that covers the deceased’s property will need to be sourced 

• Notifying utility companies – utility companies should be notified as soon as possible so that delays to payment requests can be put in place and accounts can be frozen. Outstanding bills are usually paid from the estate 

• Redirection of mail – a special circumstances form can be taken to your local Post Office or sent off by post so that mail is redirected 

• Property clearance – if sold, the property will need to be cleared of all furniture and personal items. Professional companies can be instructed to clear the deceased’s possessions if necessary. If you have questions about dealing with property, please contact us.

A Guide to Inheritance Tax

Not many people’s estates are affected by inheritance tax. In fact, according to HMRC, only 5% of estates have to pay it. 

However, if your estate is large enough to incur it, it does mean your loved ones won’t inherit as much as you might have intended.

Here’s what you need to know about inheritance tax and how you can reduce your tax bill.

What is inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is placed on the estate of someone who has died. By ‘estate’, we mean all property, money and possessions they own. Like all taxes, this money goes to the Government.

The current inheritance tax-free threshold is £325,000, and the inheritance tax rate is 40%. Inheritance tax is only charged on the value of the estate above the threshold, so if your estate is valued at £350,000, only £25,000 will be eligible for taxation.

The inheritance tax is generally paid by the executor of the will, or the administrator of the estate if there isn’t a will in place. The tax must be paid by the end of the sixth month after death; otherwise, interest will be charged.

Are there any ways I can avoid paying inheritance tax?

Yes – there are several ways you can do this.

If your estate exceeds the £325,000 threshold, inheritance tax can usually be waived if you leave everything above the threshold to your spouse or civil partner. Unfortunately, unmarried couples are not eligible. 

A surviving spouse can also take advantage of any tax-free allowance their pre-deceased spouse did not use when passing on their estate.

You can also leave everything above the threshold to a registered UK charity.

If you give away your home to your children or grandchildren, as long as your estate is worth less than £2 million, your threshold increases to £500,000.

You can also reduce the size of your estate, which means less inheritance tax to pay. Some of the ways you can reduce your estate include making gifts during your lifetime, transferring money into a trust and paying into a pension. 

Bear in mind that any gifts need to be made more than seven years before you pass away; otherwise they may be eligible for inheritance tax, either at the full or a ‘tapered off’ amount.

Find out more about how inheritance tax works on the gov.uk website

Need to plan for inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax can be confusing, but we’re here to make things simple.

We’re experts in inheritance tax and end-of-life financial planning. If you want to reduce the size of your estate to decrease the amount of tax you need to pay, our specialists can help.
Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

Why is lasting power of attorney so important?

Lasting power of attorney, or LPA, are legal documents that allow you to nominate someone else to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf. 

This means the person you nominate (your ‘attorney’) can make decisions about your personal care and decide on your medical treatment (health and welfare LPA), or look after your bank accounts (property and financial affairs LPA).

When you set up a lasting power of attorney, you (the ‘donor’) may wish to include preferences and instructions. For example, you may want to add that your attorneys must not make any gifts, or that you would like to have regular haircuts, manicures and pedicures.

LPAs aren’t just documents to create when people have been diagnosed with a disease that may affect their mental or physical capacity; the LPAs are also something to consider whilst you are fit and well, so you have the peace of mind that you will be protected in the future. 

Lasting power of attorney gives you peace of mind

We all want to make the right decisions, but there may come a time when we cannot advocate for ourselves anymore. 

An LPA means you can nominate a trusted partner, loved one or friend to make sure you get the best care and that your financial affairs are in order. The only prerequisite is that they are over the age of 18, and you have the mental capacity to designate lasting power of attorney.

If you set up lasting power of attorney for financial decisions, the person you nominate should keep accounts and show that your money is kept separate from theirs. The attorney must help you to reach your own decisions, if you can, and must always act honestly and in your best interests. 

You can nominate more than one attorney to act for you. You would then need to decide how you would wish for them to act; they can be appointed either ‘jointly’ (all attorneys must make decisions together) or ‘jointly and severally’ (attorneys can make decisions together or on their own) You can also specify that some decisions are to be made jointly, and some jointly and severally.

Lasting power of attorney helps your loved ones

If you need someone to make decisions for you but don’t have lasting power of attorney in place and no longer have mental capacity, your loved ones will need to apply for deputyship. This needs to be done through the Court of Protection.

The courts can take a long time to make a decision, potentially causing stress at a time when your family may already be anxious, frustrated and sad.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that deputyship can only be used to make financial decisions, not ones about health and welfare. In this case, your council’s adult social care department would need to be involved. 

While you can create Lasting Power of Attorney online, it’s often best to get a professional involved. As an LPA is such an important document, this ensures all your needs are covered, and nothing is left out.

Richardson’s Wills is a specialist in Lasting Power of Attorney. We’ll take care of all the paperwork and ensure all your personal wishes are respected.
Contact us today to book your free consultation.

How Lasting Power of Attorney would have helped

I recently watched the documentary made by Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, following her husband’s battle with Covid-19. Unfortunately, 53-year-old Derek Draper, husband to Kate Garraway, contracted COVID-19 in March 2020. As Derek still battles the effects of the virus, Kate recently spoke out about her financial struggles as Derek has fallen ill without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place. 

A lot of people in their 40s and 50s have not put an LPA in place. It is this situation, which is putting Kate through a lot of stress, as Derek’s name is on most of their assets. Without an LPA, no one can deal with Derek’s affairs during his incapacity, not even his wife.

“One of the practical problems – which a lot of people would’ve experienced if they’ve got the absence of someone in their life – like many things the car is entirely in Derek’s name, the insurance is in Derek’s name, a lot of our bank accounts.”

– Kate Garraway, wife of Derek Draper.

With an LPA in place, Kate would have been able to focus on caring for their two young children as well as dealing with the emotional difficulties of her husband being ill. Handling household finances and insurers would have been one less thing to worry about.

This is clearly not a situation anyone wants to be in; however, their story truly highlights the importance of an LPA to reduce the weight on your loved one’s shoulders.

For more information about these important documents please contact Richardson’s Wills on 01275 851056, email nicola@richardsonswills.co.uk or visit www.richardsonswills.co.uk

The Distressing Story of a Woman Wanting to Care for Her Mother During Lockdown

Ylenia Angeli, 73, was arrested after trying to remove her mother, 97, from east Yorkshire care home. Ylenia wanted to take her mother home with her rather than leave her in a care home during another period of uncertainty.

She told the care home that she was going to remove her mother and left. The home called the police, and Ylenia was arrested.

This situation arose because Ylenia only had Lasting Power of Attorney for property and finance. Ylenia didn’t realize that she had absolutely no authority over her mother’s care once she had lost mental capacity. If she had known she would have completed the health and welfare document as well.

The link to this distressing story is.


(as reported in the Guardian on the 5th November 2020)

The health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is there to protect our best interests, at a time in our life when we are most vulnerable. Sadly, it has been overlooked in the past and its value not fully understood.

People who completed the old Enduring Power of Attorney often do not realise that it only covers property and financial affairs and has no bearing on decisions relating to your health and welfare.

Please don’t let this happen to you. We all need to have these documents in place.

Contact Nicola or Liz on 01275 851056 to arrange a consultation or email