What to do after someone dies
Immediately after a death – practical matters
The days immediately after a bereavement can bring feelings of numbness, or of intense emotion. But there are also practical things that need to be done. When someone dies there are three practical things that need to be done in the first few days:
- Get a medical certificate – you will get this from a doctor (GP or at a hospital) and you need one to register the death.
- Register the death within five days of the death – you will then get the documents you need for the funeral.
- Arrange the funeral – you can use a funeral director or do it yourself.
If you need support during these early days it’s important to ask for help. Talk to family or friends who might be able to offer practical assistance, as well as emotional support.
Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. www.gov.uk/after-a-death/organisations-you-need-to-contact-and-tell-us-once
If the death occurred abroad….
If someone dies overseas, the death must be registered in the country where the person has died. The British Consulate in that country will be able to advise on how to do this. To find out more about the support they can offer, call 02070081500.
If there is a post-mortem or an inquest…..
If the death was unexplained or unexpected, there may need to be a post-mortem or an inquest. For NHS information about post-mortems and inquests visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/inquest.
You will note be able to register the death until after the inquest. A free handbook to the inquest process is published by the charity INQUEST. You can order a hardcopy or read the handbook online by visiting www.inquest.org.uk
INQUEST also offer advice by telephone or you can message them via the website or alternatively write them direct.
Tel: 020 7263 1111
Address: 3rd Floor, 89-93 Fonthill Road, London, N4 3JH
The Money Advice Service – www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
Moneysaver Expert: What to do after someone dies – www.moneysavingexpert.com
Bereavement Advice Centre – www.bereavementadvice.org
Advice on benefits, finances and legal issues……
Citizen Advice Bureau
For information on benefits following a bereavement
For those over pension age: Pension Service Bereavement Benefits Advisors 0845 606 0265 (Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm)
For those under pension age: Bereavement Service run by the department of Work & Pensions 0845 608 8601 or your local Jobcentre plus.
The DWP leaflet on Bereavement Benefits (including bereavement allowance and child tax credits) is at www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dwp1005.pdf
For information on wills, probate, inheritance and tax
HMRC have an online tool to help with tax, tax benefits and probate after a death. www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/bereavement
HMRC also have a “Bereavement Helpline” for PAYE/SE Matters relating to Bereavement: 0845 300 0627. (Mon-Fri 8am- 8pm)(Saturday 8am – 4pm). To access the HMRC bereavement guide go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/bereavement
Wills, Probate & Inheritance: www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance
For legal advice
Civil Legal Advice 0845 345 4 345 or www.gov.uk/legal-aid/how-to-claim
Citizens’ Advice www.citizensadvice.org.uk
For housing advice
Shelter (advice about any kind of housing issue): 0808 800 4444 (8am – 8pm Mon- Fri, 8am – 5pm Sat – Sun). Calls are free from BT Landlines and the main mobile providers.
For advice on debt
Step Change: www.stepchange.org or call 0800 138 1111