What To Do When Someone Dies

Get Help From Chris Rudd Solicitors
March 30, 2020

It’s difficult when a loved one passes away. Not knowing what exactly you need to do or what your responsibilities are doesn’t help. So, we’ve written an overview of the steps that will need to be taken, and if you need help with any of this please call us on 01925 351 350.

First Steps

There are a few things you should do as soon as possible after someone dies. Firstly, and immediately, you should call the family doctor and the nearest relative.

If the death was expected, the doctor will give you a medical certificate to state the cause of death, and a formal notice to state they have signed that certificate and told you how to get the death registered. If they died in hospital, then the hospital will issue the medical certificate and formal notice.

If someone dies unexpectedly, or they hadn’t been seen by the doctor who signed the medical certificate in the 14 days leading up to their death, then their death should be reported to a coroner. The coroner, who is a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating unexpected deaths, may request a post-mortem or inquest.

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Registering A Death

Unless referred to the coroner, you will need to register the death with the register of births, marriages and deaths for the district where the death occurred. You will need to do this within 5 days of the death.

You can go to any register office to do this, and if needed they will forward the documents to the office for the correct area or district. You can find your local office here: https://www.gov.uk/register-offices

The registrar will need:

  • Medical certificate with cause of death, signed by a doctor
  • Full name of the deceased, including former names such as a maiden name
  • Date and place of their death
  • Date and place of their birth
  • Usual address of the deceased
  • Their most recent occupation
  • Whether they were receiving a pension, or other benefits
  • Name, occupation, and date of birth of a spouse or civil partner

There are other documents that you could take which may help the process go a little more smoothly:

  • ID such as a passport or driving licence
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Proof of addressOnce the death has been registered, the registrar will give you:
  • Certificate for burial or cremation (known as the Green Form in England & Wales)
  • Certificate of registration of death
  • A death certificate (there will be a charge for this)

We can help you with the administration of registering a death, so if you would like some assistance please call us on 01925 351 350.

If Someone Dies Abroad

If someone dies abroad, their death should be registered according to the local regulations of the country they died in. But, you should also register their death with the British Consul in that country.

Who Do You Need to Tell About the Death?

As soon as possible, you will need to notify the tax office of their death. There are other government departments you should contact, but if your local authority offers the Tell Us Once service (most do) than this can be done in one go. And, your local authority may arrange an appointment for this when you register the death.

The government departments you can contact in one go include:

  • Local services such as libraries and council tax services
  • M Passport Office
  • The DVLA
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • HMRC for tax purposes

If your local authority doesn’t offer the Tell Us Once service, you will need to contact these departments yourself, including returning a drivers licence to the DVLA and a passport to the HM Passport Office.

Learn More about Lasting Power of Attorney

Powers of Attorney and Responsibilities for Executors

If the deceased person set up a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney, and you were named as the attorney, you should send those original documents and a death certificate to the Office of the Public Guardian. You may also need to contact their:

  • Pension scheme provider
  • Mortgage provider, housing association, or council housing office
  • Insurance companies
  • Bank and building society
  • Employer or trade union
  • Utility companies
  • Social services
  • GP and other medical care providers

If a Will was left with an executor named, they should take on these duties instead as a Power of Attorney is only valid during their lifetime – it becomes void on death. Instead, the power to act on behalf of the deceased lies with their estate, which is represented by the executors.

If you are the executor of someone’s estate (money, property, and possessions) after their death, your responsibilities will also include:

  • Collecting all assets and money due to the deceased’s estate
  • Paying outstanding taxes and debts out of the estate
  • Making sure their property is safe and secure as soon as possible after death
  • Registering the death and getting copies of the Will
  • Notifying government services
  • Arranging the funeral
  • Informing family, friends, and work colleagues
  • Valuing the estate
  • Applying for probate
  • Dealing with the deceased’s property, post, and finances
  • Distributing the estate

Our solicitors can help you with some or all of these duties as an executor. If you need help or advice, please call us on 01925 351 350. We’re here to help take the pressure off you during this difficult time and to offer advice and answer any questions we can.

Get Help from Chris Rudd Solicitors

We can help alleviate your stress at such a difficult time by handling most of this process for you, including:

  • Offering friendly, general advice
  • All of the admin required, by post if you cannot attend the registrar in person
  • Revoking the Power of Attorney
  • If a Will was left, we can do everything above such as collecting assets, which is a part of probate
  • If no Will was left, we can get letters of administration and then commence probate

Also, we can restrict our services to specific parts of the probate process, rather than doing everything, if that is what you’d prefer.

To find out more about what we can do for you, please call us on 01925 351 350.

Where to Find Out More

If you need help understanding your responsibilities and what needs to be done, please give us a call on 01925 351 350. We can help you get through this difficult time by taking out some of the confusion.

Or, if you’d like to read more about what you need to do, Age UK is a good resource with guides on what you need to do when someone dies and more.

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