What to do when someone dies

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When someone dies there are many things to do, often at a time of great personal distress when we feel least able to manage. Our guide talks you through the practical things that need to be done, such as registering the death, arranging the funeral and dealing with the estate.

what do you do when someone dies

Registering a death

You must register a death with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for the district where the death occurred. You need to do this within five days of the death unless it has been referred to the coroner.

Arranging a funeral

Don’t make funeral arrangements until you’re sure the death doesn’t have to be reported to the coroner, as this can affect when the funeral can take place.

The deceased person may have left instructions in their will or a letter about their wishes. They may also have paid into a funeral plan or life insurance policy, or a pension scheme that provides a lump sum towards funeral costs.

If you have to pay for the funeral, you may be able to get a grant to help towards the costs from the Social Fund.

There are strict rules about who can get help and how much. Download the guide opens link in new window When someone dies (PDF 297KB) and factsheet opens link in new window Planning for a funeral (PDF 252KB) for more information.

Who to tell about the death

When someone dies you need to tell the tax office as soon as possible. See the guide 'A guide to understanding tax when someone dies' on the HMRC website to find out what to do.

A driver’s license should be returned to the DVLA and a passport to the UK Passport Agency.

If the person who died had a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and you were the attorney, send the original LPA or EPA and a death certificate to the Office of the Public Guardian.

You may need to contact other organisations too, like the deceased person’s bank, insurance company, pension scheme provider, mortgage provider, utility company and GP.

What else?

Have a look at the GOV.UK checklist  to see what else you may need to do after a death in England and Wales.  

opens link in new window Download the guide When someone dies (PDF 297 KB)

opens link in new window Download the guide Bereavement (PDF 1.8 MB)

opens link in new window Download the factsheet Planning for a funeral (PDF 252 KB)

We are grateful for the generous support of Dr Naim Dangoor CBE
and The Exilarch's Foundation

Your Age UK

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Age UK Advice:
0800 169 6565

Useful websites

  • The GOV UK website offers a wide range of information and advice on government services. You can also view or download the booklet ‘What to do after someone dies'.

  • The HM Revenue & Customs website offers information and advice on different taxes, including a downloadable guide ‘A Guide to Understanding Tax When Someone Dies’.

  • Office of the Public Guardian publishes a range of guidance for people wanting to make an LPA, attorneys, certificate providers and witnesses. It also publishes the Code of Practice to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which can be downloaded from their website.

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