What to do when someone dies
You will need to notify any other companies that owed money to the deceased or were owed money by them. This may include insurance company, bank or building society, landlord or mortgage provider, utility companies, credit card companies, pension provider(s) etc.
What to do when someone dies
When someone dies there are several steps that need to be taken. The purpose of this guide is to set out each step and explain how to deal with each one.
The immediate priorities are:
- Obtain a medical certificate
- Register the death
- Arrange the funeral
Obtain a medical certificate
Unless there is a coroner’s inquest the medical certificate should be issued immediately. If the person dies in hospital this will be provided by the hospital. If the person died at home, you should call the person’s GP.
Register the death
If the deceased lived in England or Wales, this should be done within 5 days of the death. You should contact the Register Officer – https://www.gov.uk/register-offices
Arrange the funeral
Having registered the death you are able to arrange the funeral. This is normally done through a funeral director, although it is possible to arrange the funeral yourself.
Once you have completed these steps you will need to inform relevant organisations about the death. This includes:
- Government departments
- Insurers and creditors
As soon as possible after receiving the death certificate you should notify the Passport Office, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), local council and, if applicable, the public sector or armed forces pension scheme.
The best way to do this is through the “Tell Us Once” service – https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/organisations-you-need-to-contact-and-tell-us-once This service is offered by most local authorities and enables you to notify all the relevant government departments at the same time.
You should also return the person’s passport to the HM Passport Office – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-to-do-with-a-passport-when-the-passport-holder-has-died and their driving license to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – https://www.gov.uk/tell-dvla-about-bereavement
Insurers and creditors
You will need to notify any other companies that owed money to the deceased or were owed money by them. This may include insurance companies, banks or building societies, landlord or mortgage provider, utility companies, credit card companies, pension providers etc.
You will need to contact each company separately, either by phone, visiting a local branch or through their website.
You also need to deal with the deceased’s estate. Normally the first stage in this process is applying for probate. However, you may not need probate if the person who died:
- Had jointly owned land, property, shares or money – these will automatically pass to the surviving owners
- Only had savings or premium bonds
If this is not the case the estate should be distributed as instructed in that will. The named executor(s) should apply for a “Grant of Probate” – https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate
Where there is not a will it means the person died “intestate”. In these circumstances, the law determines how the estate is distributed – this is known as the “rules of intestacy”. If you are 18 or over and are the most “entitled” inheritor of the deceased’s estate (usually their closest living relative) then you can apply for a “Letter of Administration” – https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate
More detail on probate and distributing the estate are provided in the other guides on the website.
If your financial position is impacted by the death of your husband, wife or civil partner you may be eligible for financial help such as the “Bereavement Support Payment” – https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment, or if you are bringing up a child whose parents have died you may be entitled to receive a “Guardian’s Allowance” – https://www.gov.uk/guardians-allowance