By Mark Tilden
Well, aren’t we living in interesting times? I hope that all who read this are keeping safe and well and obeying the rules about “social distancing” – no prizes for guessing what is going to be the word / phrase of 2020!
I have not written for this magazine for a while so, as I know that you have all been anxious and worried about me, I am happy to confirm that I am well and still here in Cyprus!
In most of my previous articles, I normally write about the importance of making a Cyprus Will if you have any assets here – a car, house, Bank accounts, investments etc.
What you may not all know, however, is that the rules across Europe changed back in 2015 as regards making Wills and Inheritance under a Will, so if you haven’t made a Will, then you really should, or if you have a Will but it predates August 2015, you should see whether it needs to be updated to take account of the new Inheritance Rules.
However, the primary purpose of this article is to provide a brief guidance and reassurance on what to do when someone dies. Although a few matters require urgent attention (these are listed separately), many can be reviewed after the funeral. Some of these matters relate only to a death in the UK, some a death here and some both.
- Locate the Will (if there is one) and
- check if it contains burial/cremation wishes
- notify the Executors of the death, if you are not the (sole) executor. Do all named executors wish to act? If any wish to renounce, it is essential that they do not get involved in any aspect of the estate administration. Ask a solicitor for guidance
- Register the death at the local register office (UK) and obtain at least 5 certified copies of the death certificate. Normally here this is done by the Undertakers
- Arranging the funeral in line with any wishes expressed
- Use the Tell Us Once Service to notify all relevant government departments (UK service)
- Advise any pension providers to prevent overpayments including the DSS
- Advise any life offices to see if and how payments under any life policies can be made.
- Advise the deceased’s bank
- Advise any other institution if direct debits might be being paid from the deceased’s account
- If there is an unoccupied house, advise the insurer and check security is satisfactory and consider turning off the electricity or come the winter if the house is still empty, turning on the central heating or draining down any water tanks to prevent burst pipes
- If the deceased owned valuable personal effects, make sure these are accounted for and secure.
- Start gathering together all paperwork in connection with the deceased’s assets
- If not already done so, make contact with your solicitor. He or she can offer practical advice and support at this stage as well as setting out what steps need to be taken to administer the deceased’s Estate.
- If you are undertaking the estate administration yourself, you should open a separate executor’s bank account
- Return passport and driving licence for cancellation. However, in Cyprus the passport as at the date of death and also the passport that was in force when the deceased made his or her Will will be required by the Court.
- If there is an unoccupied house:
- consider whether the supply of utilities such as gas/electricity, water and telephone are likely to be required. Notify all utility providers of the death
- request a refund of the unused TV Licence (UK)
- if appropriate, arrange for the re-direction of post to the Executors or their solicitor
- Notify the Office of the Public Guardian of the death if the deceased made an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney in England and Wales
- Consider advising any clubs, organisations or societies of which the deceased was a member.
As always, I am here to help and advise as needs be and please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. My contact details remain the same – email:firstname.lastname@example.org and 96549826. In the meantime, keep safe and well.