A bereavement guide to offer some practical steps

Dealing with Finances after Bereavement – Part 2 

The crucial importance of writing a Will

Half of us don’t. Maybe we just don’t get around to it, don’t like thinking about death, or don’t think we own enough. Solicitors generally draw up more complex wills for larger estates, but there are also Will writing companies who offer a cheaper service (sometimes even free) for simpler wills and there are online -do-it-yourself options. There should be great caution though as a small mistake can make a Will invalid, so it is best to get qualified specialist advice. 

The purposes of a Will are: 

Writing a Will importantly provides you with peace of mind. Ensures your wishes are carried out and simplifies the process for your loved ones during an already difficult time. It is an important part of responsible financial and estate planning for anyone with assets and dependents.

A guide to dealing with finances after bereavement.

What happens if you die without a Will? 

Dying intestate is something to avoid. If you do, your estate will be subject to intestacy rules and your assets will be shared out according to legal default, rather than your expressed wishes. 

In summary, in England and Wales if you die intestate the husband/wife/civil partner keeps all assets (including property) up to a value of £270,000. The remainder is shared as follows: 

  • The Husband/wife/civil partner gets an ‘absolute interest’ (full rights) over half the remainder. 
  • The other half is then divided equally between the surviving children (if an adult son/daughter has predeceased, then their children will inherit in their place). 
  • If you are married or in a civil partnership but have no children, your surviving spouse will receive everything in the estate. 
  • If you are unmarried and have children, they will inherit the entire estate on their 18th birthday in equal shares (with grandchildren inheriting the share of a deceased parent). 
  • If you are unmarried with no children, your estate will be allocated in the following order: parents, full siblings, half-siblings, grandparents, uncles/aunts (then their children) half-uncles/aunts and their children. 
  • If you are unmarried and have no living relatives, all your money and assets will go to the crown. 

Inheritance is a potentially contentious area and, whilst it may be an uncomfortable task, writing a Will reduces uncertainty, protects your family’s future and supports those who depend upon you financially. It gives you the ability to have your wishes respected in terms of any legacies and gifts. And potentially can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax paid by your estate.

A guide to dealing with your finances after the loss of a loved one.


For most of us grief is intensely personal and private. Reaching out to advisors at this time might seem a step too far, while you may be struggling to cope with the changes in your life. But it can help, to have someone to professional to help deal with the practicalities and who will give you impartial, practical advice.

No one can fail to be moved by the predicament of Kate Garraway who, as a journalist has lived out her problematic life, since the Covid pandemic, in public.  Following the death of her husband, Derek, a few months ago, after his painful and prolonged battle against long Covid, Kate is facing huge tax bills, following years of astronomic medical costs for Derek’s care. In the grip of grief she is having to seek help from specialists to manage discussions with HMRC, manage debts and has had to raid her pension to cope. Maybe Kate and Derek had organised their finances efficiently, but they certainly did not see what was coming and the devastation that would occur prematurely. It is a lesson to be learned. Death, bereavement, Wills et al. may not seem relevant to us when we are young, in work and  good health, but it is better to have an awareness of these issues and plan in these sunny circumstances rather than leaving it in the grip of crisis. 

Life changes are when a financial review of your circumstances is key in order to effectively manage your assets and your future. At Women’s Wealth you will be sure to receive a sympathetic ear and rigorous and professional advice whether times are difficult or indeed at any point in your life when you may wish to better organise your finances to secure your future. So please reach out to one of our Money Mentors who will be very happy to help.

Click here to read – Dealing with Finances after a Bereavement – Part 1

Download our helpful booklet – Do You Need a Will?

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