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What To Do When Someone Dies

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Our professional and helpful team can help you with what to do when someone dies

Losing someone close to you can be a traumatic and distressing experience. While you will obviously experience grief, there are also some practical steps that need to be taken to ensure that their final wishes are followed.

Tell family and friends

Picking up the phone to tell people that a loved one has passed away can be a daunting and upsetting experience. It’s important to remember that if you don’t feel up to it, you don’t have to be the bearer of the news. Other family members or close friends can also help you get through this difficult experience.

Register the death

You will be given an envelope by your GP or the hospital where the person died which contains the medical certificate showing the cause of death. This will need to be given to the Registrar so they can register the death.

You will need to make an appointment with the Registrar and will need to supply them with certain information. This includes:

  • The full name of the deceased and also any other names they were known by
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last known address
  • Occupation
  • The full name and occupation of their spouse or civil partner

If you have access to their birth certificate, marriage certificate, and NHS card, these can be useful during this process.

If the person died unexpectedly, the registration of death may need to be postponed until a Coroner’s Inquest has taken place. If this is the case, an Interim Death Certificate will be issued by the Coroner. This will allow you to arrange a funeral and administer the deceased’s Estate.

Arranging a funeral

The Registrar will give you a Green Form, which is a Certificate for Burial or Cremation. You will need to hand this to your funeral director. For many people, this could be the first funeral that they’ve arranged. Speak to friends if you are unsure which funeral home to choose. Also, be aware that the funeral directors are trained to gently guide you through the process. They are there to help you and provide a deserving send off.

Some people include their wishes for their funeral in their Will, and may have paid into a funeral plan, so check to see if these are in place. If there isn’t a funeral plan in place, the funeral will be paid out of the deceased’s Estate. Their bank/building society will release money from the deceased’s account on receipt of an invoice from the funeral director.

Obtaining the Will

The only people who can obtain a Will are the executors who are listed in it. If the Will is held at a solicitors, the solicitor will need to see a copy of the death certificate. Executors will need to prove their identity, usually with a photo driving licence or passport, together with a proof of address.

Administering the Estate

The first thing that needs to be done is all the assets and liabilities of the deceased need to be gathered together and the companies notified. At the same time pension providers and the Department of Work and Pensions should be notified, so they can stop making payments.

How you administer an estate will vary depending on the size and complexity of it. In some cases, a Grant of Probate may be required. There may also be Inheritance Tax implications. You will also need to finalise the Income Tax position of the person who has died.

Jarmans have a team of specialists who are always happy to assist and advise on the administration of estates. In many cases, this reduces the stress and responsibility of doing it yourself. Find out more about our Probate Services here.

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We offer legal advice on Wills and Trusts. If you would like to contact us or book a consultation with a member of our team please fill in the 'Make an Enquiry' form or call us on: 01795 472291 or email

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