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Friday, 17 November 2017

Dealing with Probate

I appreciate there are a lot of articles about probate rolling around the world wide web, but I truly hope I have mastered breaking down the process to ensure that it is more understandable for those embarking on probate or those it may fall upon.
Dealing with probate

Probate is possibly one of the biggest responsibilities that could be asked of you.  It’s a little more complicated then ensuring that someone’s pet is taken care off.  And to top it all off it is a mind field so hopefully you’ll find this interesting and useful.  And where possible I have included the relevant links so that you can use this article as a resource.

Once you have been appointed as Executor for your friend or loved one it is your responsibility to distribute their assets after their death.  And it will never be an easy process – as you will also be coping with your own grief and suddenly you’ll be faced with mountains of paper work and you’ll need to be able to hold sensible conversations with businesses such as Banks, utilities and Local Authorities.

It has been our experience that banks have made this task even more onerous, with one bank asking to speak to the person to confirm their death! Yes, you read that correctly – one bank we dealt with actually asked to speak to the deceased to confirm that they had deceased – sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up!

When dealing with Probate it is likely you’ll need a Grant of Probate before you can distribute the estate – but this is not always necessary or the case.  It depends on whether the deceased’s assets are jointly owned and if they will automatically transfer to the surviving owner.

How the process should work
The task of probate can be laborious, and the process can vary depending on which organisations you deal with.  We know from personal experience that Santander (formerly Abbey National) can be quite difficult to deal with, and don’t get me started on the Post Office Money!

However, the key stages are:
1.    Assess how much the estate is worth. This may mean working through the deceased’s papers and approaching companies for account details including credits and debits – you will need proof of identity and that you are the nominated person responsible for dealing with the estate.

2.    Apply for probate. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you will need to complete a PA1 form, or in Scotland it is a C1 form. There is a fee of £215 in the UK and Wales, £200 in Scotland and £250 in Northern Ireland.  Unless the estate is worth less than £5,000.  At the same time you will need to complete an inheritance tax form – if the estate is below the £325,000 threshold it would be IHT205, or if tax is payable the form is IHT400

3.    If someone dies without a will you’ll only be able to apply for a grant of representation if you are next of kin – usually a spouse or child.

4.    Settle inheritance tax (IHT). Before probate can be granted this needs to be paid (the links are above), however, the deceased’s accounts may be frozen.  In some cases, organisations will release funds early to cover IHT and funeral bills.  You’ll need IHT423 and send it directly to the bank of the deceased, the bank will then send funds directly to HMRC.

5.    You’ll need an executors account. This is honestly one of the most convenient ways to gather the deceased’s assets all in one place.  This account will also enable you to manage payments to any beneficiaries.  If you use your own personal account this can slow down the process and make it difficult to keep track of everything.

6.    Notifying beneficiaries. Now this part I learnt about from Heir Hunters on TV as it is actually very important and acts as a back up for your own protection against liabilities.  You’ll need to contact those who are named in the will and notify them, but you should also consider placing an advert in the UK’s official register – The Gazette.  If you don’t, you could be liable for claims from unidentified creditors in the future.

7.    Distributing the assets. As executor it will be your duty to distribute the assets in accordance to the will.  It is recommended that you ask beneficiaries to sign a receipt for any payments you make.  You should also provide accounts for the estate to the people who receive the remaining assets.  Keep records of everything you do for a minimum of 12 years.

As an executor you will deal with a lot of different organisations and each organisation will have its own way of dealing with probate. 

Banks will usually release funds before you have a grant of probate, if its to cover IHT or funeral bills. Generally, these payments will be made directly to HMRC or the funeral director.

As for making the process easier I can only comment from my own experiences of probate.  I would say it is advisable to, where possible, make accounts joint accounts.  And order more copies of the death certificate than you think you’ll need, these are more expensive to order afterwards.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

What is Severe Cognitive Impairment?

About 10 to 15 percent of adults age 65 and older are believed to have mild cognitive impairment — a condition commonly characterized by memory problems, well beyond those associated with normal aging.

Cognition encompasses lots of different skills, including perception (taking in information from our sensory organs), memory, learning, judgment, abstract reasoning (thinking about things that aren't directly in front of us), problem solving, using language, and planning.

Cognitive impairment scaleHowever, what is Severe Cognitive Impairment and how does it differ from Mild Cognitive Impairment?

I heard this question the other day and like most people who’ve never heard of MCI I’d never heard of SCI.

For those with MCI it is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.

In more severe cases, cognitive impairment is not simply forgetting people's names, and the symptoms progress to the point that it becomes difficult to live alone or take care of oneself.

People with severe cognitive impairment have a very hard time remembering things, making decisions, concentrating, or learning. Patients with severe impairment might have difficulty feeding themselves or swallowing, which can be life-threatening.

Cognitive impairment does not have a single cause, but rather could be the result of a number of different conditions.

Care Services Requires Focus

EEF LogoThe Edith Ellen Foundation believes that despite the implementation of various pieces of care legislation, regulations and training programmes intended to improve care systems, the care culture has not improved, and it will not improve because at present, care systems do not have an understanding of how to do it.

Care services require a focus on the fundamental cause of inconsistent basic care skills in social care processes, and how to prevent the abuse and neglect which appears in some care homes within a “caring industry”. There is an urgent need to coach management and staff away from the repetitive behavioural process that impedes a more caring delivery and kinder environment for those receiving and delivering care services.

Understanding how to deliver excellent and consistent individual care may be widely debated and discussed but only happens in those rare cases where “someone” understands how to negotiate their way around the health and social care systems and to bypass the internal and external barriers that impact on management and staff behaviour which prevent the deliver an excellent holistic care experience every time.

The Foundation understands all too well that there are real barriers that stop people trusting in the safety of some care homes, and why it might result in abysmal care processes and an unnecessary early and painful death of people receiving care.

We worry that:
·         in part, current legislation and regulation leads to people’s rights and lives being forgotten and lost and eats away at the protection, kindness respect, compassion and care benefits for the people and their family on the front line of care, in the first place.
·         the caring industry as a whole relies too heavily on tick box systems and extensive paperwork which is believed to support the care of patients but, in fact, it rarely equates to a true day in the life of a care home.
·         it relies but is not aided by the whole concept of paper trails and distance learning aids as mechanisms for safe quality assurance for caring.

Without moving away from old ways of working it will never reflect the underlying true behaviour and untrained approaches from care workers which leads to dysfunctional and disconnected ways of working and lack of quality assurance of care, which can be found in care homes in the UK.

The Edith Ellen Foundation believes it is the Good News Story leading the way for our Edith Ellen care workers to be trained and recognised as the leaders for professional excellence in the care Industry.

It believes it holds the essential key strategy and policies that will bring fresh ideas to care and will see sustainable and consistent outcomes supporting the wellbeing and self-worth of all those delivering and receiving care and will create a necessary guarantee for the safety of people and their families.

As such, its aim is to assist in improving the trust and provision of robust, dedicated and practical holistic Kindness in Care, and to guide management and staff education toward proven behaviour and staff skills that sees and understand the overall benefits of caring in the manner which, so many good carers wish to give, but are hampered without the support of effective and attentive processes and management and staff teams learning how to deliver excellent care together.

This Foundation looks to provide a significant increase in the understanding of the people’s own requirements and the overall standard and recognition of the place outstanding quality nursing and care in all care homes, locally and nationally plays in the reputation, sustainability and profitability of the care industry across the UK.

The Edith Ellen Foundation believes a sound commitment to kindness should be the lifeblood of anyone involved in the provision of care. If that principle were to be enshrined within the culture of all nursing and social care pathways, then abuse and neglect could be prevented.

As a Foundation we can’t do that without your help please support us as we start to open up the next phase of our Kindness in Care Training programme for 2018-2020.

LBA LogoContact us for more details of our Training Prospectus, befriending through the Lady Bader Ambassadors and for information on how getting involved in Volunteering for us will make such a difference to changing the culture of care. We would also greatly appreciate if you share our social media sites with others.

To hear more please contact us on: office@edithellenfoundation.org
or call us on 07809 905009

join us on our social network links:
(Website which is currently being updated)

Or join the debate with
#Awareness #MoreCaringApproach #DementiaCare #SocialIsolation

Promoting Kindness
By identifying, celebrating and sharing good practice
Kindness is
Compassion without judgement,
No fear just one heart to another
Thank you.
Kate (Co-Founder)