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Preparing for the worst

Sadly as we grow older, the chance of losing a loved one increases.

Bob comments: "It's difficult to plan for the future in this way, but we know that - at such a stressful time - finances are the last thing we will want to worry about, and so have decided to prepare ourselves now."

While you may in the past have left the financial arrangements to your partner, it's good to familiarise yourself now in case the worse should happen, and discuss what would need to be done. Write down and keep a record of all financial arrangements: bank account numbers, policies, sources of income and key outgoings. Choose an executor and make sure your wills are up to date. That way you will know where to start when making arrangements.

One of the first steps following a death is to ensure that any property or assets are secure. Make sure you cancel any of their personal credit and debit cards; switch or cancel your Direct Debits and Standing Orders, perhaps setting up a new sole bank account so you can run them yourself.

Examine your list of household providers and financial arrangements, and notify each of the death. It may be that you need to transfer some ongoing agreements into your sole name and transfer some Direct Debit payments to a different bank account. Money may be due from insurance policies, so don't be afraid to ask.

Though stressful, make sure that you open the deceased's post to ensure that bills and enquiries are dealt with.​

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