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Longtermrenter

My Dad is dying - practical help and advice

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Hi fellow HPCers. Of course this site is always my first port of call for help. My Dad is on his way, 1 to 2 months left to live. Incredibly sad a d we are very close. My mum is still alive and they are married. I want some practical help and advice on a few things. Luckily I previously bought a book recommended long ago on HPC on someone else's similar thread called 'What to do when someone dies' so I'm fairly clued up on the process after death up to and including the funeral. Luckily most of questions related to 1st works problems regarding his estate.

I have a few questions (will probably have more):

1. They sorted their wills and financial/medical power of attorney last year so that's good. Do we need probate?  I'm sure we will as there is land involved and the value of estate is  a more than £5k. I think the will has them as tenants in common for the house which is worth about 450k in today's ridiculous prices. He has a large collection of motorcycles, old and new, as well as related automobiles and art. Prob around 150 to 250k all in on top of the house.

2. I'm an executor, one of 3, not sure if my mum will be executor though if just he dies. Will try to see the will soon. I'm the only one who knows anything about this collection. Some of the old vehicles have complex starting procedures so have more value as runners than non runners, I also have knowledge of the vast collection of other stuff. It's going to take ages to do. Can I pay myself expenses? Or is that something to agree with other executors? 

3. Does everything have to be sold or can it be valued and then shared equally. I'd probably want to keep some of the things if left to me.

4. He's now talking about specific things like leaving his main car to me. If these aren't specifically in the will do I need to get him to write things down?

Just to add, I want to play fair with everyone in my family but unfortunately, although foreseeing this problem for many years and trying to get him to sort it, my dad has dumped a massive problem at my door. Both my siblings are in mortgage free properties whilst I rent and it's going to be me doing 99% of the legwork after he dies. I run my own business do it's  going to affect that. My sister doesn't have a clue and my brother is just too busy being emotionally bereft whilst also generally being crap at practical help. The main problem is that the estate is so complex in physical assets worth over £500 that to pay someone else to do probate would cost a fortune and would generally generate about half the true value of the assets as they are so specialist that they would be undervalued and probably sold off at auction. I realise much of this is because I'm lucky to have parents with assets, i.e, not a massive problem but stressful all the same as I want to ensure my mum is secure after his death.

 

 

 

 

 

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Best bit of advice I can give (my brother died a few years ago) is not to panic and try to rush things. Yes, sorting out probate needs to be done reasonably quickly (I'd suggest within 6 months), and you'll want to make sure you mum is financially secure. But probate is mostly about valuation - the actual selling or sharing of the assets you can take your time over.

Also, don't underestimate how and when grief will hit you, and the form it will take. If you're running your own business as well the stress will be high, so just sort out the paperwork first, then take time to grieve. Be kind to yourself!

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Quote

 

The first thing to do is kill your brothers , sisters and sundry relatives.....

Seriously though I`ve just come into contact (we met on the street) with my brother whom I avoided for 12 years since the funeral.

Death really brings out the worst in people.....prepare to be surprised.

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Yes, you can pay yourself reasonable expenses as an executor, and regarding (4) you definitely need special bequests to yourself written down and the signature witnessed to avoid disputes afterwards. Better still, add a codicil to his Will to this effect.

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As rentingforever said.....also keep others named in the will involved about what is happening and the dividing up assets as appropriate.....keep the harmony, not worth bad feeling....wishing you well.;)

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It should be a simple affair as most of the cash/property assets (unless he has willed differently) automatically transfer to his wife.

You may not even need probate (specifically if they have joint accounts) but take legal advice on that one.

The executor's main role in this situation will be to divide up your dads' possessions, making sure they go to where he wants them to go.

One thing to keep an eye on is IHT. It won't apply this time as most asset value property, cash ect should transfer to your mother as they are husband and wife. IHT limit for this year is £320,000. Everything above that is taxed at 40%. Post event if your mother is worth more than this it would be worth taking professional advice on how to reduce that liability.

I have been in a common law relationship for 25+ years. two grown-up kids and had a chap in to do my will last week. Once we added up what I had with what we had (in joint names) Cash shares, property, business ect it was north of £420,000 which means a tax bill straight away of £40k if a bus runs me down tomorrow.

We are booked in to be married in early November......

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HPC Massive: as always you rise to the occasion, thanks for the nice wishes and advice, certainly calmed my Ravi g mind yesterday. I think there'll be probate due to land (a field) being in my dad's name etc. Family advice noted.

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Sorry to hear about your father LTRer.

If there are assets held solely in your father's name then that will certainly trigger the requirement to obtain probate.
A solicitor can obtain probate on behalf of an executor and will typically charge in the region of £800 + VAT + disbursements (currently around £100 I believe).
Alternatively you can do it yourself and save the £800 + VAT, but you will need to wise up on matters and swear an oath etc.
The time taken to obtain a grant of probate is 4-6 weeks in my experience.

Are you sure the property is held as tenants in common? That would be quite unusual for a typical couple who had been married for years. Obviously your parents circumstances may not be typical, but it's worth checking this as it will have a impact on your mum's rights.

If your parents have typical mirror wills and any property is held as joint tenants then matters will be relatively straightforward as I would expect everything to simply pass to your mum with no inheritance due (this may change on the second death of course). However, if there are specific bequests in your dad's will or property is held as tenants in common then things will inevitably become more complex.

If your mum is listed as an executor then (assuming she is willing and able) it might be easiest to let her be the executor and for you or any others listed to act as her assistants.

Executors can claim expenses, but it would be unusual for a family member to make a formal claim in the situation you describe unless it was for tax avoidance reasons. More typically, mum would recognise your out of pocket expenses (compared to your siblings) and make it up to you as she saw fit.

I hope this information is useful to you.

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That's great advice BB. I think the tenant in common thing was fine to protect half the house from future care home fees if one has died and other went into care. The only reason I mention ed expenses is I am probably going to have to devote something like maybe 3 to 400 hours disposing of assets for my mum compared to my siblings who will probably spend about 3 minutes, mainly because they are ignorant of the special value.

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So sorry to hear about your dad, LTR. 

One purely practical thing I'd advise - when registering the death ask for plenty of copies of the death certificate. You need so many originals as an executor and it's a pain having to go and get them later.  I got 12 when registering my mother a couple of years ago, ditto for an aunt previously. They do charge - I think I paid £4 each but well worth it.  Also, there's a 'tell us once' facility at the registry, which will inform all the official bodies and saves you having to do it. 

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My father died this year. My advice would be to do the probate yourself. I was quoted many thousands of pounds by a solicitor and it ended up costing me less than 50 pounds. If the assets are nothing exotic then its very straightforward. Good luck, as someone else said, take your time, not all decisions you make int he next few months will be entirely rational.

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I agree with desertorchid, do the probate yourself.

The whole process can be done without the involvement of solicitors.

Once probate is obtained, the work is mainly getting the accounts together, admin, paying any outstanding bills & collecting together details of all assets. If you are well organized and can do a spreadsheet this will be all you need. It may mean a lot of visits to organisations and letter writing, but banks etc. have special bereavement departments.

Opening an executor account after probate - at your usual bank, will be useful for all monies to go in and out of as all of the deceased's accounts will be frozen, but can be transferred there when probate is obtained. These are free of account charges, but zero interest.

There is a lot of info on the net and it may seem overwhelming, but take it step by step. It is a process of many months.

 

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Again, thanks for all the help. My dad is out of hospital now, I don't know if he'll end up in a hospice or stay at home. One thing I'm not sure if is whether probate is needed when my mum is alive. Everything goes to her on his death but there is a small plot of land involved and they also put half the house in a life trust.

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Definitely do your own probate. I did this for my mother's estate earlier this year and it was surprisingly straightforward. If your brother and sister are both named as executors then it would help if they gave their permission for you to sort it out alone. You'll need written permission (email will suffice), as you will have to swear on oath that you have received it.

With regards to the funeral, the Funeral Directors will arrange everything, more or less. We ended up paying around £4,500 for the entire proceedings (it was a cremation), which included cars, casket, flowers, church hire and we hired a room and supplied a buffet. The probate application was £216, but I have a feeling that there has been a price increase since I did this in March. I didn't charge for my time, but did claim for things like stamps, photocopying and petrol and car park fees for the swearing in of the oath.

The "tell us once" service , as recommended by Mrs Bear, is great. I got by with 3 copies of the death certificate. if your father's estate is complicated you may need more. You can obtain further copies at a later date, but they charge a little more.

Lastly, I'd spend the last few months you have saying goodbye to your Dad, rather than worrying about what's going to need to be done after he's gone. It may seem a little daunting, but there's a lot of help out there. Sorry for what you're going through.

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Another purely practical thing, in case anyone isn't aware - you usually have to make an appt. at the register office. 

When a cousin and I went to register our aunt, we weren't aware, and both of us lived quite a distance away.  They did fit us in eventually, but we had to wait rather a long time. 

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As I understand it re 'specific things' these do not need to be mentioned in the will but can be listed separately, signed and witnessed. My mother has done this with a list of charities to whom she wishes to leave money, but she wanted to be able to change them without having to rewrite the will. For something as valuable as a car however it may be worth including it as a codicil to the will.

On a non practical note now is the time to say all those things you would like to say to your father and to try to stay upbeat. I don't know if your father has any religious beliefs but you could ask if he would like to speak to a clergyman as sometimes people may have these feelings but not know anyone with whom they can discuss them.  

I spent two weeks with my father knowing he was close to death and in a way I'm glad about that as it helped us all prepare rather than having to have a sudden shock. Try to be there when he goes if you can as I think that must be a comfort to the dying. Wishing you all the best.

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