Probate Advice Line
What to do when someone dies
When somebody we love dies, it can knock even the most emotionally sturdy of us completely sideways. At a time of grief and distress, it can be difficult working out what to do and in what order - especially if it's the first time you've had to deal with a death.
Here are some practical first steps that explain what to do when someone dies:
Register the death
Registering the death should be one of your first steps when someone dies, as this must take place within five working days of the death. A relative, someone who was present at the death, or the person arranging the funeral may register the death and it should be registered at a register office in the area of where the person died.
In order to register the death, you will need the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death from the hospital or doctor and full information about the deceased.
On registration of the death, you will receive a death certificate, which proves that the death has been registered. You will also receive a ‘green form’ that should be given to the funeral director to enable the funeral to take place.
Locate the Will
The next thing on the list of what to do when someone dies is to find out if they left a valid Will – there may be specific funeral requests contained in this document.
Arrange the funeral
The deceased may have left a written record, told family and friends about their funeral wishes or they may have a pre-paid funeral plan in place. It may be that you are able to access funds from the deceased’s bank account to pay for the funeral directly. However, in cases where probate is required, this may not be possible and expenses will need to be reimbursed to you from the estate at a later date.
Find important paperwork
Important paperwork such as Birth/Marriage/Death certificates, pension details, insurance policies and bank and building society accounts will be helpful later on, particularly if you need to apply for probate, so keep them all in a safe place.
Click here to download our step-by-step guide on what to do when someone dies.
If you would like to talk to someone for practical advice on what to do next, please call our Probate Advice Line on freephone 0800 014 7334.