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Dealing with the inevitable.

THE only two certainties in life are death and taxes, wrote Mark Twain. Part of life it may be; but losing a loved one is the most traumatic personal experience we will have to endure in our own lifetimes.

Like death, grief is a natural process, yet there is no 'standard' for the emotions entailed. We all react differently, and there is no right or wrong way in which to cope with bereavement.

Having people around helps some, while others prefer to be alone. Unless the death was expected, most people experience shock, disbelief and an overwhelming feeling of questioning why the event happened, coupled with a need to comprehend the particular circumstances.

Inevitably, there is a practical side to coping with bereavement. Registering the death, arranging the funeral and dealing with the legalities involved all have to be addressed.

Cruse Bereavement Care sells a UK-wide self-help kit with guidance and checklists, all in a neat folder to keep close at hand in what are difficult times. Priced at pounds 9.99, 'What to do following a death' is available to buy online at www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk.

A deceased person's estate, in layman's terms, means their assets, such as property, money and possessions.

Probate gives people the legal right to handle the estate of a deceased person. It's sometimes called administering the estate. It is also the mechanism by which the Inland Revenue establishes whether there is any Inheritance Tax to pay.

Where there is a will, the executor applies for a grant of probate from a section of the court known as the Probate Registry. The grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets.

Where there is no will, intestacy rules apply. Once it is established who is entitled to administer the estate, an application is made to the Probate Registry, and in this case apply for a grant of letters of administration.

Grant of probate may not be required where an estate is less than pounds 5,000, or where assets are in joint names and typically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

Administering the estate can be broken down into five main parts: ? Valuing the estate ? Completing the relevant Inland Revenue forms and probate application ? Interview at local Probate Registry to swear an oath ? Obtaining the grant of probate, and ? Distributing the estate There is a commonly held view that undertaking probate work is the strict domain of the legal profession, which often charges a percentage of the estate for their fees. This is completely unfounded, and an executor can apply for probate directly, just paying the standard probate fee.

Companies such as Probate by Return', Inheritance Tax Experts, undertake this work for a fixed fee from pounds 150 plus VAT. Contact Paul Gerard on 01824 704535 to find out more, or to receive a free booklet on probate. Alternatively, visit www.taxbyreturn.co.uk.

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The loss of a loved one can affect you emotionally and physically, so give yourself time to grieve
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2011
Words:513
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