What to do when someone dies

It can be a difficult time when someone you know, love or care for dies.

Everyone experiences grief in their own way. If you think you might need extra support in coping with grief you can access local bereavement services through your GP, local hospice or through a number of bereavement services, such as the ones listed below:

The Bereavement Advice Centre provides a free web-based information and advice service to those who have questions following the death of someone.

Bereavement Advice Centre
Address: Bereavement Advice Centre Simplify Heron House Timothy's Bridge Road Stratford Upon Avon CV37 9BX
Phone: 0800 634 9494

Cruse Bereavement Care provides support, information and advice to people when someone dies. Cruse offers a range of services including website, telephone and email support, and face-to-face services including bereavement support, bereavement counselling, and facilitated and friendship groups.

Cruse Bereavement Care
Phone: 0808 808 1677 or 0749 5777 401 for the Richmond Office
Email: referrals@cruserichmonduponthames.org.uk

WAY Widowed and Young is the only national charity in the UK for men and women aged 50 or under when their partner died. It’s a peer-to-peer support group run by a network of volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves.

WAY Widowed & Young

Practical issues following someone’s death

When you feel ready to deal with formalities following a death, the checklist below may help you to remember the key things that should be addressed:

1. Dividing responsibilities

The formalities that follow someone's death can be a huge undertaking for one person and can take a long time. Ask others if they are able to help and divide tasks from this checklist amongst the group.

2. Informing people about the person’s death

Before you start to tackle the finances of the person who has passed away, or begin to make arrangements for their funeral, make a list of relatives, friends and any other individuals that need to know the news. If you are dividing responsibilities amongst a group, consider splitting up the list to make this task slightly easier.

Consider putting together a separate list of organisations that will need to be informed of the death such as: the tax office, their pension scheme provider, insurance company, the DVLA (to return their driving licence), the UK Passport Agency (to return their passport). 

3. Registering the death

You need to register the death within 5 days. It is easiest to use the register office where the death happened. If you can, take with you the person's: birth certificate, NHS medical card or number, and marriage or civil partnership certificate. Consider paying for extra copies of the death certificate as these may be needed for the will and any claims to pensions or life insurance policies.

4. Arranging the funeral

When making arrangements for a funeral, check whether the person made their wishes known. Some people may have stated their wishes in their will. Some may also have put a financial funeral plan in place. This can be useful as it may cover all or some of the cost in arranging a funeral.

If the person's wishes aren't known or aren’t clear, usually the executor of the will or the nearest relative will decide whether the person is cremated or buried. If you decide to use a funeral director, make sure you get a range of quotes and check what exactly is included in the price.

5. Dealing with the estate

When a person dies, someone sorts out their estate (money, possessions, property as well as any debts they have). This individual is called the executor if the person who died made a will. They are called the administrator if the person who died did not make a will. Usually, banks and other organisations only take instructions from the executor or administrator.


6. Financial help

There are a number of benefits that you may be eligible to claim in the event of someone's death.