Case study: dealing with a loved one's estate

Discover how Venna coped with the practicalities after her mother passed away.

Venna was 57 when her mother died unexpectedly. At first, she felt overwhelmed by the practicalities, but she found her mother’s commitment to planning for the unexpected helped relieve the pressure. 

Losing a loved one

Venna’s mother was active and independent, so it came as a shock when she passed away in her sleep. As the only child, Venna had to take control of all the arrangements — and she was both touched and hugely relieved to discover her mother had done everything she could to make this difficult time a little easier.

The benefits of planning

Venna knew her mother had made a will, and she expected to be named executor — but she was worried about what the role would involve. In fact, her mother had appointed a trustee company to act as executor and manage her estate. She also discovered that her mother had taken out a funeral bond to cover the cost of her funeral. 

Managing the estate

This was the first time Venna was coping with someone close to her passing away. A representative of the trustee company talked her through the process of managing her mother’s estate, and what the trustees’ role was. She learned that:

  • The word “estate” generally covers everything with any value that a person owns at the time of their death. 

  • The trustees would gather information about Venna’s mother’s assets and debts and apply for probate. This legal process confirms the trustee company is holding a valid will.

  • Once the trustees receive a Grant of Probate, the company would begin distributing Venna’s mother’s estate, in line with the wishes in her will.

  • It takes time for the beneficiaries of the will to receive their bequests, with a year being a typical period.


Woman smiling

A way of caring

Knowing her mother had sought to reduce the amount of work and stress she would face was a great comfort to Venna at such a sad time. “Taking care of all the details of the funeral, as well as the will, was such a loving thing for her to do,” she says.

Tips for dealing with the practicalities after the death of a relative

Venna was lucky that her mother had left a will, appointed an executor and planned her own funeral. Whatever the circumstances, the tips listed below can help you deal with the administrative aspects of bereavement.

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