One of the most painful times of your life is when you lose your beloved one. The sorrow turns into stress when it comes to dealing with your deceased person’s property. During that time, you not only have to deal with your pain but you also need to sort the complicated practicalities. This can include visiting government offices, hiring lawyers, investing time at insurance companies, etc.
You cannot deal with it by yourself. This is the time where you can knock the door of professionals as you cannot pack up your deceased person’s property by yourself. They will guide you in dealing with the overall procedure. Even, if you are not sure with it, we have come up with 6 guidelines that will help you in this stressful phase:
Obtain the death certificate
The first and important thing is to obtain the death certificate as it is an official document that confirms the death of your beloved one. As per the rules, it is essential to register the death within 21 days. If it is delayed by more than 21 days, then you need to pay the extra money and will also be accountable for more paperwork.
The process of obtaining the death certificate will change as per the nature of death. If the death has occurred due to illness or old age, then it might take less time. But, if it is due to an accident or murder, then it may take more time. In such cases, you will also need to get a copy for FIR to claim for the death certificate.
Get the court’s confirmation
To get ahead with the dealing process, you need to get the confirmation from the court. If the deceased person has left the Will and you have been appointed as an executor, then you need to apply to the court for its approval. And this is called getting the probate for the Will.
During the application of the probate of the Will, you will need to submit certain documents along with the court fees. To get this process done, you will need a lawyer who will be a guiding star for you at this time.
If a deceased person has left no Will, then the close ones can apply to the court for getting letters of administration. The close ones might be the spouse or child. In this case, the court will formally make an administrator just like an executor to deal with the deceased person’s property.
Identify the deceased person’s assets
After getting the court’s confirmation; you, as an executor or an administrator, have to list down the assets of the deceased person. You also need to include the owned overseas property. If the list is not available to you, then you will need to go through the papers of the Will. You can even talk to relatives or other people who may know about the possible assets.
You will also need to write a letter to the banks and other organisations where accounts were held as a part of the identification process.
Gather the deceased person’s assets
After preparing the list of assets, you need to show the granted probate or letters of administration to the banks, insurance companies or anyone holding assets. This will also include the organisations where the overseas property of a deceased person is present. Without the court’s approved proof, various organisations will not release the assets to you.
You will also need to provide letters of administration to the Land Titles Officer so that the land owned by the deceased person will be transferred to your name. If there are any overseas assets, then you need to go through some special procedures.
Pay taxes and debts, if any
If you are an executor or an administrator, you also need to pay off the debts or taxes of the deceased person, if anything is due. For this, you need to identify what are all the debts and to whom should you pay. After getting the knowledge of the same, pay the amount of the debts owed by the deceased person.
Likewise, you also need to file the tax returns on behalf of the deceased person. And then pay any tax owed by them up to the date of death.
Deal with any claims against the estate
You may face many challenges while dealing with the deceased person’s property. One of it would be to deal with any claims made against the estate. Anyone can disagree with the Will, declaring it as invalid.
For instance, any of your relatives can claim under the Family Protection Act when no property has been given to them according to the Will. In such cases, an executor or an administrator has to resolve the issues before distributing the property.
Distribute the property
Once you are done with the above steps, you can start with the final distribution process. You will need to distribute the property to the entitled person as mentioned in the Will. If they didn’t leave a Will, then you need to follow the legal rules. According to the intestacy rules, the property will be divided in this order: spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts or uncles, and cousins.
As said earlier, a lawyer would be the best person to seek assistance during the whole procedure. Therefore, whenever you got stuck in this step, take the professional’s advice.
Also, one important thing to keep in mind is that the property distribution will take at least 6 months after getting the court’s approval. But it will depend upon many factors like the type of assets, legal issues, the terms of Will, etc. In the case of overseas property, it may take a longer time to deal with. Because the procedure regarding the administration in other countries may be complex.
We know this is not an easy time for you both emotionally as well as physically. But being prepared for and being patient during this procedure can stop you from feeling devastated. We are sure that the above-listed guidelines must have given you confidence in dealing with the deceased person’s property.