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What to do when someone dies - checklist

To help you further, we've put together a checklist of the things you may need to do after someone has died.

GOV.UK also has additional information to help you through this difficult time.

What to do in the first 5 days

  • Notify the family doctor
  • Find the will - the deceased person's solicitor may have a copy if you can't find one
  • Funeral arrangements - you will need to check the will for any special requests

If there is a will

  • Contact the executor if this isn't you (usually nominated in the will to sort out the deceased's estate) - to enable them to start the process of obtaining probate in England and Wales or to apply for confirmation from the sheriff court in Scotland There is a simplified procedure for estate below £36,000 in Scotland

If there is no will

  • Decide who will apply to sort out the deceased’s estate in England and Wales. In Scotland there is a strict order of preference of who can apply to the sheriff court for appointment as executor dative
  • Contact the Probate Registry to apply for “letters of administration” in England and Wales and to apply to the sheriff court in Scotland for confirmation. The sheriff will require the executor dative to obtain a bond of caution (insurance) except in certain circumstances where the surviving spouse / civil partner is appointed as executor dative

Who else to contact

As well as informing people who were close to the person, you may also need to close down accounts, cancel or change insurance details, subscriptions, agreements, payments or direct debits.

Here's a list to help you keep track; just cross through the ones that don't apply:

  • Relatives and friends
  • Employer
  • School
  • Solicitor/accountant

Financial Organisations

  • General insurance companies - contents, car, travel, medical etc
  • Rental, hire purchase or loan agreements
  • If the deceased was first named on an insurance policy, make contact as early as possible to check that the insurance will continue
  • Pension providers/Life insurance companies
  • Banks and building societies
  • Mortgage provider
  • Credit card providers/store cards

Utilities and household contacts

  • Landlord or local authority for a rented a property
  • Any private organisation/agency providing home help
  • Utility companies if accounts were in the deceased's name
  • Royal Mail, if post needs re-directing
  • TV/internet subscriptions

Other Considerations

  • Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service - these will remove the deceased's name from mailing lists and databases
  • Cancel memberships of clubs, trade unions, associations with seasonal membership
  • Inform church/regular place of worship
  • Social groups to which the deceased belonged
  • Dentist and other medical providers
  • Creditors - anyone to whom the deceased owed money
  • Debtors - anyone who owed the deceased money
  • Blue Badge – contact the council for instructions on what to do with the badge

Benefits and financial help

You may be able to claim certain benefits and one-off payments if you lived with or were dependent on the deceased. Time limits apply, so contact the DWP Bereavement Service as soon as possible to find out.

  • You can complete an eligibility check to determine potential entitlement to DWP benefits, in particular Bereavement Benefits and / or Social Fund Payments available to yourself (or the husband, wife, spouse or partner of the deceased) as a result of your recent bereavement.

    You can do this either online at www.gov.uk, search under ‘Death and benefits’, or by telephoning the DWP Bereavement Service on 0800 151 2012 (Textphone 0800 731 0464) or to speak to someone in Welsh on 0800 731 0453 (Textphone 0800 731 0456)

    Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone) 18001 then 0800 151 2012
    Video Relay Service for British Sign Language (BSL) users
  • Check your current benefits and tax credits

Making a new will

  • Surviving relatives and friends of the deceased may need to make a new will. It's important to ask a solicitor about this.

Bereavement – counselling and support

  • If you or someone you know needs counselling or support, ask your family doctor or contact an organisation such as Cruse Bereavement Care. Their aim is to promote the well-being of bereaved people and provide counselling and support. Cruse also offers information, advice, education and training services