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What To Do When Someone Dies

15th October 2018

What To Do When Someone Dies

The death of a family member or close friend is a distressing time. The last thing you want when you’re grieving and coming to terms with the situation is to be bothered with admin and paperwork. However, there are a few practicalities that need to be dealt with. Here’s a quick guide.

First, you need to register the death within 5 days. You’ll need a medical certificate for this, so ask the GP or hospital doctor for it. Call the local registry office to make an appointment and take in the medical certificate. You will be issued with the death certificate, and it often helps to ask for official copies, in case they are needed in future.

Next, you’ll need to arrange the funeral. Get in touch with a funeral director and/or crematorium. When you register the death, you’ll get a ‘certificate for burial or cremation’ which you should give to the funeral director or crematorium. This must happen before the funeral can take place.

Then you have to notify government departments about the death. The reason for this is that tax, pensions and benefits will be affected. You can use the ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which notifies all relevant departments. You should also notify other organisations, such as banks, utility companies, landlords, etc.. They will need to be notified individually.

The registry office may be able to help with notifying government departments – they may offer this when you register the death.

Finally, the deceased’s estate will need to be dealt with, meaning their will, money and property. If the they left a will, then it will say who the executors are, and they will need to administer the estate. If not, a close relative or friend may need to apply for a ‘grant of representation’ to give them the authority to deal with the estate.


For more information about administering an estate, known as probate, click here.