Financial considerations following a bereavement
Assessing your own finances after the death of a loved one.
Looking to the future
When someone close to you dies it can often make you think about your own financial affairs or change your financial situation, meaning that your plans for the future may need rethinking.
When you're ready, you may wish to consider the following issues:
Making a will
Dealing with the affairs of a loved one who has died emphasises how important it is that there is a valid will. If you haven't already made your own will, now may be the time to do so. Or you may need to update an existing will, particularly if you have lost a partner or close relative. For more guidance, you should contact your solicitor or a special will writing service.
Reducing the effect of Inheritance Tax
Inheritance Tax means the tax authorities can take a big slice of your estate when you die, unless you have planned carefully, but there are ways to reduce the amount your beneficiaries will have to pay. To find out more about Inheritance Tax, visit gov.uk/inheritance-tax
Will your pension be enough?
If you've lost your partner, you may wish to review your personal pension arrangements to check whether your retirement plans are still viable, whether you need to increase your contributions or make any other changes.
Protecting what's important
It's a good idea to check your insurance policies to make sure they are right for your new circumstances. If you had life cover jointly with your deceased spouse or civil partner, talk to your provider about adjusting the cover, or shop around for a new policy.
If the death has left you as the main breadwinner, you may also decide to take out extra insurance such as critical illness cover or income protection cover. These products help provide financial peace of mind if you are unable to work due to illness or injury.
You may be entitled to bereavement benefits
If the loss of a partner means you have lost your main household income, you may be entitled to financial support or benefits. In England and Wales, bereavement benefits are paid by the Department for Work and Pensions to widows and widowers or to a surviving civil partner.
Bereavement benefits that you may be entitled to include:
- Bereavement Payment – if your husband, wife or civil partner paid National Insurance
- Widowed Parent's Allowance – if you have dependent children
- Bereavement Allowance – if you're aged between 45 and state pension age
Find out more at gov.uk
Coping with debt
If paying off the debts of a deceased relative has left you with money worries, there are people who can help you with support and advice, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau – search for your local branch at citizensadvice.org.uk
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