Unfortunately, there are a lot of practical matters that need to be sorted out straight away when someone dies.

If you are the deceased person’s next of kin, most of the responsibility may be put onto you but it’s important to get the help and support you need during this tough time. Whilst some may find it helpful that there are a lot of tasks at hand and their mind can be kept busy, others find it hard to cope. It’s helpful to have a strong support system that you can lean on for help. In this article, we’re going to explain what to do when someone dies.

What happens straight after a death?
– Death in a hospital or care home

After a death in a hospital or care home, the staff will contact the deceased’s named next of kin. The body will then be kept in the hospital mortuary until the deceased’s executor makes the arrangements for it to be taken away for the funeral. Prior to a death being registered, a doctor will be required to issue a medical certificate that states the cause of the death. The hospital doctor will provide you with the medical certificate in an envelope addressed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and a notice that explains how you can register the death. A coroner’s inquest is undertaken when the cause of death is unclear and will be carried out before issuing a death certificate.

– Death at home

After an expected death in the home, for example, due to an illness, the first step is to call the person’s GP. They’ll usually visit and issue a medical certificate stating the cause of the death. If you’re unable to call the GP because the deceased person didn’t have one or you don’t know the name of the GP, you should phone an ambulance. If a doctor is unsure about the cause of the death, they’re not allowed to issue a certificate. In this case, the death must be reported to the coroner instead and the body will be taken into a hospital mortuary, where the hospital may carry out a post mortem.

– Death abroad

If a death takes place abroad, outside of the UK, it must be registered according to the law of the country it occurred in. You should also report the death to the British Consul as it may be possible for them to register the death in the UK too. Upon the body being returned to the UK, the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of the district in which the funeral will take place must be notified so that they can issue a certificate. This is needed before a burial can take place and in the case of a cremation, the home office must give permission.

Register the death

The death needs to be registered within five days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and within eight days for Scotland. However, if there is a coroner’s inquest taking place, registration is delayed until it is concluded. In England and Wales, you can find your nearest Register Office. Whilst registering a death in England and Wales is free, you will be required to pay £11 to get a certificate. And if you’re after more than one copy, it’s best to get them at the same time as the cost rises later on. Did you know that it’s a criminal offence to not register a death? So this is a vital step.

Check for a will

Within the first week of the person’s passing, it’s a good idea to start looking for a will. You may already know where the will is stored or someone else close to them may. Searching the National Will Register will allow you to not only check for registered wills but also any non-registered wills in a specific location. Whilst this does come at a cost of £38 (plus VAT), this is typically paid out of the deceased’s estate.

Having the will can give you useful information on who the executor is, this is the person who is responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate. It will also state who’ll get any assets that have been left.

When someone dies without a will, it means they have died intestate. This means that distributing their assets is a little trickier, but there is a system that can help. When there is no will, an administrator is appointed to take on the role, this is usually a surviving spouse or civil partner, child or parent.

Arranging the funeral

In some cases, the deceased person may have already arranged and paid for their funeral in advance, meaning less of a job for you. If they have left their wishes in their will, they should always be considered when arranging the funeral as this is a time to celebrate their life.

Notify key organisations

After a death, it’s important for the affairs of the deceased to be settled. If bills go unchecked, unwelcome pressure may arise during an already tough time.

Telling every organisation with who the deceased person had a relationship or used a service, including government bodies, financial companies and utility companies.

Here are some examples of some organisations to notify:

  • The tax office – to close tax matters, any state pension and other benefits.
  • UK Identity and Passport Service – to cancel their passport.
  • Land Registry – to move ownership of inherited property.
  • Bank – to close accounts, retrieve the money, pay debts and cancel direct debits and standing orders.
  • Mortgage provider and credit card provider – to close accounts and pay debts.
  • Student Loans Company – to get student loan cancelled.
  • Utility companies – to close accounts and settle payments.
  • Landlord – to stop rent payment.
  • The person’s employer – Not only should be notified immediately, but it’s also worth checking if they had a death in service benefit.
Bequest Life and Wills

We understand that someone close to you passing away is one of the most difficult things. That’s why here at Bequest, we’re passionate about life insurance and wills so that your loved ones get the protection they need when you’re no longer here to give it to them. By taking out a life insurance policy and writing a Will with us, you can have peace of mind that your loved ones are supported financially.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email alexa@bequest.com or through our website

No nonsense life cover is just a few minutes.

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