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What to do when someone dies?

Losing someone you love can shake your world to its foundation, sending you into a spin of confusion and grief. If it’s the first time you’ve experienced this type of loss, then you may not know what you need to do when someone dies.

We understand that you will be going through an extremely difficult time, so we have put together a practical guide of the things you need to do when you lose someone.

Place of death

Registering the death

The next step is registering the death, which must be done with five days for England, Wales or Northern Ireland and eight days for Scotland. Registration can be delayed if an inquest needs to be carried out though, so don’t panic if this is the case.

How you register the death depends on which country within the UK the deceased live in. If they resided in:

  • England and Wales - use the Register Office
  • Northern Ireland - use the District Registration Office
  • Scotland - speak to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages

You will not be charged to register the death, but you will need to pay £4 in England and Wales, and £8 in Northern Ireland for the certificate.

In the weeks following the death

There are some things that can be dealt with at a later date, once you have had time to process what has happened and begin the grieving process.

Once you have registered the death, you can start getting in touch with organisations to let them know what has happened.

You will need to inform:

  • HMRC
  • DVLA - as you will need to return the deceased’s driving licence
  • UK Passport Agency - the passport will need to be returned
  • Pension provider
  • Insurance companies - life, motor, home etc
  • Bank or building society
  • Employer
  • Landlord, mortgage provider, housing association or council housing officer
  • Medical service providers - GP, dentist, optician etc
  • Any organisation the deceased made regular payments to - charities, magazine subscriptions and phone company etc

You can also contact the Bereavement Register to make sure no more post is sent to the person that has died - something that can prevent future grief.

Bereavement support

Losing a loved one is devastating and is something that you shouldn’t have to deal with alone. Once you have dealt with anything that needs to be sorted immediately, you should focus on yourself and processing your grief.

You can contact organisations like Bereavement UK and the Counselling Directory, or speak to your GP, for emotional support. The funeral director you work with in organising the funeral will be able to offer guidance on this matter as well.

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