What to do if someone dies
1. Register the death
If the person has died at home or in a care home, call the doctor. If there are no suspicious circumstances, the doctor will issue you with a Medical Certificate giving the cause of death. Take this to the local Register Office, where you will be given copies of the Death Certificate, for which you should expect to pay around £5. You’ll need these in order to deal with the deceased’s bank accounts and creditors. You may prefer however, to contact a funeral director immediately after the doctor has seen the deceased. A good funeral director will collect the Medical Certificate for you and offer to take you to the Register Office if required, before going on to arrange the details of the actual funeral with you.
If the person died in hospital, a doctor will automatically provide a Medical Certificate which you will need to pick up, along with the deceased’s belongings.
2. Inform everyone
Along with family members and friends, you’ll also need to inform the deceased’s employer (if applicable), solicitor and accountant (if they had one) along with the bank or building society. This should be done as soon as possible, but you can wait for a while to inform any other creditors with whom the deceased had an outstanding agreement.
3. Look for the Will
In an ideal world, the person will have told you where to find their Will before they died. However, if you can’t find one, try contacting their solicitor, who should have a copy.
4. If there is no Will
If there seems to be no Will, then the Estate will be processed through intestacy. The deceased’s relatives or friends need to decide who will contact the Probate Office and apply for “letters of administration” which means that probate can begin.
5. Find out the Executor
Whoever has been named Executor of the Will should contact the Probate Office for a Grant of Representation and begin the probate process.
6. Start planning the funeral
If you’re using a funeral director, this person will play a key role in organising the details for you, in accordance with any wishes laid out in the Will. Make sure that they outline all costs up front as you may need to pay them before the Estate is settled.