The person dealing with the financial affairs of someone after they have passed away is usually known as the executor or administrator depending on whether there was a will or not.
When a person passes away, everything they own is known collectively as their estate. It could consist of:
- Property including their home
- Money. Cash in banks or a building society for example. There may also be proceeds of a life insurance policy to cover things like funeral costs.
- Stocks and shares including ISAs and other investments
- Personal possessions and heirlooms
If the person has any debts, these will need to be paid off from the estate. If the person had a will, the estate will be passed on in accordance with its wishes. If the person passed away without leaving a will, it will be distributed according to a set of legal rules called the rules of intestacy.
If there is no will, the administrator will need to apply for letters of administration before they can deal with the estate. There is no fee for an estate valued at under £5,000, otherwise the fee is £215.
You can ask for help from a solicitor but be careful as it could become expensive. If it appears that there are not enough resources to cover outstanding debts, you should seek advice as insolvent estates are complicated to administer.