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When a person dies

When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to make, all of which can be difficult in a time of grief. To help, have put together a checklist to guide you through the process.


What to do when someone dies


When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to make regarding their home, belongings and other matters, all of which can be difficult in a time of grief. To help, we've put together this checklist to guide you through the process.


Getting started


Before you start, it would be useful to have the following information to hand about the person who has died.


National Insurance number

NHS number

Date and place of birth

Date of marriage or civil partnership (if appropriate)

Tax reference number


What to do in the first five days


There are a few steps that need to be taken shortly after the death. In many cases the hospital or GP involved will help you with these early steps:


Notify the family GP

Register the death at a register office

Find the will - the deceased person’s solicitor may have a copy if you can't find one


Begin funeral arrangements - you will need to check the will for any special requests if relevant, complete form BD8 given to you when you register the death and send to the local Jobcentre Plus or Social Security if the person who has died was receiving any benefits or tax credits, advise the offices that were making the payments - if you can't find relevant correspondence, use the links below to the tax credit helpline and Jobcentre plus


If there is a will


Contact the executor if this isn’t you (usually nominated in the will to sort out the deceased's affairs) to enable them to start the process of obtaining probate 


If there is no will


Decide who will apply to sort out the deceased's affairs

Contact the Probate Registry to apply for 'letters of administration'


Who else to contact


As well as informing people who are close to the person, in many cases you'll need to close down accounts, or cancel or change insurance details, subscriptions, agreements, payments or direct debits.


Here’s a list to help you keep track; just cross through the ones that don’t apply:


Relatives and friends



Solicitor / accountant

Government organisations

The relevant tax office


If the deceased lived alone


Inform the Landlords

Organise the property clearance


National Insurance contributions office if they were self-employed (to cancel payments)

Child Benefit office (at latest within eight weeks)

Tax Credit office

local authority if they paid council tax, had a parking permit, were issued with a blue badge for disabled parking, or received social services help, attended day care or similar


UK Identity and Passport Service, to return and cancel a passport

DVLA, to return any driving licence, cancel car tax or return

car registration documents/change ownership


Financial organisations


Gneral insurance companies - contents, car, travel, medical etc

Any other company with which the deceased may have had rental, hire purchase or loan agreements


If the deceased was the first named on an insurance policy, make contact as early as possible to check that you are still insured


Pension providers/life insurance companies

Banks and building societies

Mortgage provider

Hire purchase or loan companies

Credit card providers/store cards

Utilities and household contacts

Landlord or local authority if they rented a property

Any private organisation/agency providing home help

Utility companies if accounts were in the deceased's name

Royal Mail, if mail needs re-directing

TV / internet companies with which the deceased had subscriptions


Other useful contacts


Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service to remove the deceased's name from mailing lists and databases

Clubs, trade unions, associations with seasonal membership for cancellation and refunds

Church / regular place of worship

Social groups to which the deceased belonged


Creditors - anyone to whom the deceased owed money

Debtors - anyone who owed the deceased money


Benefits and financial help


You may be able to claim certain benefits and one-off payments if you lived with or were dependent on the deceased. Time limits apply, so contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus office as soon as possible to find out. 

Contact Jobcentre Plus

Make a claim for Bereavement Allowance

Make a claim for Widowed Parent’s Allowance

Make a claim for a Bereavement Payment

Make a claim for a Funeral Payment

Check your current benefits and tax credits


Making a new will


Surviving relatives and friends of the deceased may need to make a new will. It's important to ask a solicitor about this.


Bereavement – counselling and support


Everyone deals with bereavement in their own way. If you or someone you know needs counselling or support, ask your family doctor or contact an organisation such as Cruse Bereavement Care. Their aim is to promote the well-being of bereaved people and provides counselling and support. The organisation also offers information, advice, education and training services.


Your local authority may provide support and advice about the arrangements that need to be made after a bereavement, such as registering the death and obtaining a death certificate. If you follow the link to the bereavement service you can enter details of where you live and you will be directed to your local authority website where you can find out more.


For further information click here


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