What to do when Someone Dies
When someone passes away, there are always a number of legal issues which must be resolved. Before the Probate process can begin there are a number of arrangements and decisions to make during what is often a very difficult time. While it may seem intimidating, by informing everyone you can avoid any distress caused by them contacting you unexpectedly.
The person who does this is often the child or partner of the deceased and is often the executor as well.
Here is a checklist of things to do:
1. Gather documents concerning the deceased:
- Death certificate signed by a physician
- NHS number or card (if available)
- Birth certificate (if available)
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate (if available)
- A confirmation of payment of benefits to the deceased’s benefits, tax and/or State Pension, if applicable
- Your social security card/National Insurance number if you plan to claim or have been claiming benefits
- Proof of your relationship to the deceased (this can be a marriage/civil partnership certificate or a child’s birth certificate which names both parents)
2. Gather information concerning the deceased:
- Full name at death
- Any names used previously, such as maiden name
- Last address
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Date of marriage or civil partnership if the certificate is not available
- Full name, date of birth and of surviving spouse or civil partner
- Whether or not the deceased was in receipt of state pension or any benefits
3. Do these things in the first five days after death:
- Inform their family GP
- Find the will. If you cannot locate one, the solicitor of the deceased might have a copy.
- Register the death. This is normally needed to be done within five days unless referred to a coroner where the cause of death is sudden, unclear or suspicious. Its easiest and quickest use the register office nearest where the deceased died. Deaths can be registered by a relative, the person in charge of the body, the person who found the body or someone present at the death.
- Start arranging a funeral. This can be through burial or cremation and organised with or without the help of a director. Most people decide to use a funeral director as they can greatly lighten your load at an emotional and stressful time. Be aware that the deceased may have certain wishes about their funeral specified in the will. Additionally you cannot arrange a date for the funeral until the death has been registered. The arranger of the funeral is responsible for the payment of the funeral, so make sure you know where the money is coming from. It can be paid for by the deceased’s estate, life insurance, pension scheme or some kind of pre-paid funeral plan. Funeral directors often require payment before probate however.
- If the deceased was in receipt of benefits tell the relevant organisation.
4. After probate has been applied for, there are a number of people and organisations to inform in order to sort out the affairs of the deceased:
- The deceased’s relatives and friends
- The deceased’s school, college or university (if in education)
- The deceased’s employer (if in work)
- The deceased’s accountant
- The deceased’s Landlord or local authority (if they rented a property)
- The deceased’s utility companies
- The Royal Mail (for mail to be redirected)
- The companies that the deceased had subscriptions with
- The Child Benefit Office
- The Local Authority (council tax, parking permits, disabled parking permits)
- The National Insurance Contributions office (if the deceased was unemployed)
- The Tax office
- The DVLA (to cancel car tax and driving licence)
- The UK Identity and Passport service (to cancel passport)
- The deceased’s mortgage provider
- The deceased’s credit card companies
- The deceased’s store card companies
- The deceased’s bank and building societies
- The deceased’s life insurance and pension companies
- The deceased’s general insurance companies
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Probate is the legal process of administering the estate (property, possessions, etc.) of an individual who has recently passed away.Find out more
Writing a will is something that everyone should do at some point in their lives, even people who have no valuable earthly possessions to speak of.Find out more
If the estate of the deceased’s is worth £325,000 or more, inheritance tax will be owed, and needs to be paid before a grant of probate can be issued.Find out more