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Please feel free to copy this and print it out.
Delete those items that do not apply in your particular circumstances.
The following information has been acquired from various freely available publications and from personal experience, and has been compiled into a logical sequence to help you to remember what there is to do when a person dies.
Please note:- Different procedures may apply in countries other than England and Wales.

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This file was last updated/edited on 28th September 2011.


  1. First steps to be taken.
    1. If the death occurred at home, advise family doctor. The doctor will either:-
      1. Issue Cause of Death Certificate (This will be in a sealed envelope, addressed to the Registrar of Births Marriages & Deaths) or
      2. Inform Coroner if necessary.
    2. If death occurs in hospital, hospice or nursing home.
      1. Collect belongings and valuables.
      2. Obtain Cause of Death certificate from hospital or hospice administration.
      3. Hospital will advise Coroner if necessary.
    3. If the coroner is involved, he will:-
      1. Arrange Post Mortem, if required.
      2. Issue Cause of Death certificate.
      3. Order Inquest, if necessary.
      4. Also, issue a Formal Notice.
  2. When Cause of Death Certificate is issued.
    1. Take Cause of Death Certificate to Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths, personally within 5 days along with the following (if available):-
      1. Medical card.
      2. Pension or Benefit order book.
      3. Birth & Marriage certificates.
      4. The following information will also be required:-
        1. About the deceased:-
          1. Date and place of death. (If death occurred in hospice, nursing home or hospital - length of stay there.)
          2. Date and place of birth.
          3. Last (usual) address.
          4. First names and surname.
          5. Last occupation (even if retired).
          6. Was the deceased getting a pension or benefit from public funds?
          7. If deceased was a married woman the following is also required:-
            1. Maiden name
            2. Husbands full name, address and occupation (even if deceased or retired)
        2. The date of birth of the surviving partner.
        3. Whether burial or cremation is planned.
        4. Full name and address of informant.
    2. Registrar will issue the following forms:-
      1. Certificate of Registration of Death.
      2. Form BD8 (for Department of Social Security use. This is sent in with any pension or benefit order books to local DSS Office).
      3. Certificate or Burial or Cremation. (Green form) (This is given to the Undertaker)
    3. Also obtain certified copies of Entry of Death as required in sections below. Some organisations will accept photocopies of the Death Certificate. (These can be obtained cheaply from local newsagents.)
  3. Probate (Grant of representation).
    1. Probate is needed to transfer or sell property held by deceased. Sale or transfer can't be completed until grant has been issued.
    2. Grant is given to the person coming first in the following list:-
      1. Person(s) named as executors in a valid will.
      2. Person named in valid will as main beneficiary.
      3. Next of Kin if no valid will exists in following order.
        1. Husband or Wife.
        2. Sons or Daughters
        3. Grandsons or granddaughters.
        4. Parents.
        5. Brothers or Sisters
        6. Nephews or nieces.
        7. More Distant Relatives.
    3. Forms are available from the Probate Registry. These are returned to the Registry. The following should also be sent
      1. An account of the estate.
      2. The original will.
      3. The Death Certificate.
    4. The cost of the Grant depends on the value of estate of deceased.
  4. Make funeral arrangements with undertaker:-
    1. Inform whether burial or cremation.
    2. Enquire about Chapel of Rest or home view.
    3. Decide whether flowers or not at funeral.
    4. If claiming payment from Social Fund (DSS), tell undertaker.
    5. Undertaker will normally inform local clergy who will then make contact direct to you to discuss arrangements for service, etc.
    6. Arrange the following:-
      1. Number of cars required for funeral.
      2. Newspaper announcements.
      3. Reception after funeral if required.
  5. After funeral arrangements have been made.
    1. Advise relatives and friends of funeral and viewing arrangements.
      1. Inform whether meal will be provided for visitors after funeral.
      2. Try to ascertain number who will be attending and needing refreshments before or after funeral. If reception arranged by undertaker, (s)he will need to know how many to cater for.
  6. Advise Government Departments.
    1. Department for Works and Pensions (if in receipt of pension, allowance or benefit).
      1. Hand in form BD8
      2. Return any Payment Order Book(s) or cards.
      3. Return any uncashed Giro(s) or cheque(s).
      4. Make any new claims required.
      5. If not enough funds are available to cover funeral costs apply for grant for Funeral Allowance from Social Fund. The following information will be required:-
        1. Letter from insurance company stating amount of Death benefit to be paid out.
        2. Proof of savings of deceased.
        3. Proof of savings of next of kin (or person claiming grant).
        4. Name and phone number of Undertaker.
        5. Date of funeral or cremation.
        6. Cost of funeral or cremation (if known).
    2. HM Revenue and Customs.
      1. Claim any refund to the estate that is due.
    3. Child Support Agency. (If paying for child)
    4. VAT Office. (If registered for VAT)
    5. Service Personnel and Veterans Agency. (If in receipt of War Pension)
      1. Return Order Book(s) or cards.
      2. Make new claim if required.
        1. Widows can apply for funeral costs if death was due to disablement for which pension was being paid.
    6. Local Area Health Authority.
      1. Arrange to return the following:-
        1. wheelchairs.
        2. hearing aids.
        3. artificial limbs.
        4. any other equipment on loan from NHS.
    7. Local Government.
      1. Rating Department.
      2. Benefit Department (if in receipt of Counci tax or Housing benefit).
        1. Make new claim if required.
        2. Apply for refund if applicable.
      3. Rent Department.
        1. Check tenancy agreement for conditions.
        2. If necessary, change name on rent agreement.
        3. Apply for refund if applicable
      4. Social/Care Services.
        1. Meals on wheels.
        2. Home help.
        3. Daycare centre.
        4. Return any equipment on loan.
      5. Return Library books and tickets to local library.
    8. Identity and Passport Service
      1. Return Passport for cancellation.
      2. Get joint passports amended
    9. Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency.
      1. Return Driving licence.
      2. Send registration documents for vehicle for amendment.
  7. Other organisations (some will need a copy or original Death Certificate).
    1. Insurance Companies as appropriate:-
      1. Life Insurance:-
        1. Endowment Policy Co.
        2. Whole Life Policy Co.
        3. Mortgage Insurance Co.
        4. Credit Card Insurance Co.
      2. House Insurance as appropriate:-
        1. Building.
          1. Cancel or arrange transfer
        2. Contents.
          1. Cancel or arrange transfer.
      3. Vehicle Insurance.
        1. Transfer policy or cancel.
        2. Arrange temporary cover to dispose of vehicle.
    2. Financial Organisations.
      1. National Savings (form from Post Office)
        1. arrange transfer or refund of the following:-
          1. Premium Bonds
          2. Capital Bonds
          3. Girobank/Post Office Account(s)
          4. National Savings Certificates
      2. Banks and Building Societies:-
        1. Current Accounts as appropriate:-
          1. Check and Cancel
            1. Direct Debits
            2. Standing Orders.
        2. Savings Accounts.
        3. Share Accounts.
        4. Investment Accounts.
        5. Joint Accounts.
          1. Amend names or close as appropriate.
        6. Safe Deposits.
      3. Mortgage Accounts.
        1. Check for Life Insurance details of Mortgage.
      4. Hire Purchase Companies.
        1. Check for Life Insurance details of Agreement.
      5. Credit Card companies:-
        1. Return or destroy credit cards.
        2. Confirm in writing.
        3. Check to see if Insurance covers payments in case of death of Cardholder.
    3. Personal Pensions as appropriate:-
      1. Previous Companies pension schemes.
        1. Make claim and cancel payments.
      2. Private pension schemes.
        1. Make claim and cancel payments.
    4. Solicitor.
      1. Check to see if will has been made.
      2. Check to see if anything else deposited. (Deeds for house etc.)
    5. Family Doctor.
      1. Inform Doctor.
      2. Cancel home nursing.
      3. Cancel repeat prescriptions.
      4. Cancel appointments.
    6. Optician:-
      1. Inform Optician.
      2. Cancel the following:-
        1. Special prescriptions.
        2. Contact lens supply.
        3. Appointments.
    7. Dentist:-
      1. Inform Dentist.
      2. Cancel appointments.
    8. Minister of religion.
      1. Arrange for hymns and prayers at funeral service.
      2. Inform person doing service of background of deceased.
    9. Employment.
      1. Inform employer.
        1. Arrange for payment of :-
          1. Outstanding wages due.
          2. Outstanding Holidays due.
      2. Inform Trade Union.
        1. Claim any death benefit due.
      3. Inform Employment Pension Fund.
        1. Claim any death benefit due.
        2. Cancel payments if made direct from bank (not through wages).
    10. Transport Organisations.
      1. Cancel pre-booked holidays and apply for refund (if possible).
        1. Check for travel Insurance and request refund.
      2. Apply for refund on unused part of railway or bus season ticket.
      3. Return any unused tickets or passes for refund, amendment or cancellation.
    11. Arrange disposal of unwanted property.
      1. Local hospice or charity shop.
        1. Personal possessions:-
          1. Clothing
          2. Jewellery
          3. Other
        2. Household furniture (if not required).
      2. Rented equipment:- Contact rental organisation to arrange takeover or return.
        1. TV, Video Recorder
        2. Satellite system
        3. Cable system
        4. Washing machine
        5. Tumble dryer
        6. Dishwasher
        7. Freezer, Refrigerator
        8. Computer, etc
    12. Utility Companies.
      1. Gas Company.
      2. Water Company.
      3. Electricity Company.
    13. Phone Companies as appropriate.
      1. BT.
      2. Mobile.
      3. Cable Company
      4. Other.
    14. Subscriptions as appropriate:-
      1. Books.
      2. Magazines.
      3. Newspapers.
      4. Records/ CD's.
      5. TV (Sky).
      6. Other Digital.
      7. Internet Service Provider(s) (ISP)
      8. TV Licence details to be amended
    15. Alarm System Supplier.
    16. Mail Order companies.
      1. Claim any commission owing.
      2. Check to see if payments due are covered by insurance.
      3. Cancel any orders recently made but not yet received.
    17. Cancel or amend deliveries:-
      1. Milk
      2. Newspapers
      3. Groceries
      4. Fuel (Oil, Propane, Coke, etc.)
      5. Any other regular deliveries.
    18. Shops, Clubs and associations.
      1. Cancel any shop loyalty cards and transfer points/credits if possible.
      2. return any club/association membership cards.
      3. claim any refunds due.
    19. Permits:- Return permit & request refund.
      1. Fishing
      2. Gun
      3. Parking
      4. Other
    20. Other organisations.
      1. Notify direct mail companies as mail arrives.
      2. Advise and cancel the following services:-
        1. Hairdresser.
        2. Chiropodist.
        3. Beautician.
        4. Hypnotist.
        5. Gym or Fitness Centre.
        6. Other Personal services.
    21. Your own Last Will and Testament:-
      1. If the person who died is a beneficiary of your will, it will need to be amended.
      2. If the person who died is an executor of your will, it will need to be rewritten.
  8. If the deceased is a child.
    1. Tell the following:-
      1. Local Education Authority.
      2. Social Security
        1. Return any Child Benefit book(s) or cards.
      3. School (or University).
      4. Parents of child's friends.
      5. Childminder or Nursery.
    2. Arrange for disposal of unwanted toys.
      1. Hospice.
      2. Playgroup.
      3. School.
      4. Charities.
      5. Children's ward at Hospital.
  9. If premises are empty.
    1. Once probate has been granted, house can be sold.
    2. Check and discontinue rental of garage if separate from house
    3. Advise the following for disconnection/transfer of services.
      1. Gas Co.
      2. Water Co.
      3. Electricity Co.
      4. Phone Co(s) as appropriate.
        1. BT.
        2. Cable Company
        3. Other.
      5. Alarm System Supplier.
    4. Advise Postal service for re-direction of mail.
    5. Advise Estate Agents, if selling property.
    6. Cancel the following
      1. Milk deliveries
      2. Newspapers
      3. Any other regular deliveries
    7. Advise the following that property is empty.
      1. Local Rating office (apply for benefit).
      2. Property Insurance Company.
      3. Police.
    8. Arrange for neighbour or friend to check property regularly until sold.
    9. Arrange for disposal or removal and storage of furniture, etc.
    10. Make arrangements for care or disposal of pets.
      1. RSPCA, NCDL, PDSA or Vet.
      2. Neighbour or friend.
  10. Following funeral send out letters of thanks.
    1. Doctors, Nursing and care staff.
    2. Friends who sent sympathy cards.
    3. Other appropriate persons.
  11. Organisations offering help and advice with main phone numbers.
    1. Government Help:-
      1. Department for Works and Pensions. (See Phone Book for local offices)
        1. Attendance Allowance 08457 123 456
        2. Benefit Enquiries (disabilities) 0800 882200
        3. Child Benefit 08457 133 133
        4. Pensions Service 0845 606 0265
        5. Tax Credits helpline 0845 300 3900
      2. Probate Registry (See Phone Book)
      3. Service Personnel and Veterans Agency 0800 169 2277
      4. HM Revenue and Customs Tax back Help line. 0800 660 800
      5. DVLA - Driving Licence. 0870 240 0009
      6. DVLA - Vehicle Licence. 0870 240 0010
      7. Identity and Passport Service helpline 0300 222 0000
    2. General Counselling, etc.:-
      1. Age Concern, for elderly. 020 8765 7200
      2. Citizens Advice Bureau. (See Phone Book)
      3. Cruse bereavement care. 0845 167 1677
      4. Help the Aged Seniorline 0808 800 6565
      5. Nat. Assoc. of widows. 0121 643 8348
      6. Nat. Assoc. bereavement 020 7247 1080
      7. Samaritans. 08457 909090
      8. SCARD (Support and Care After Road Death and Injury) 0845 123 5542
      9. Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide 0870 241 3337 (9am-9pm)
    3. Service and Ex Service personnel.
      1. Royal British Legion. 0207 973 0633
      2. S.S.A.F,A. 0207 403 8783
      3. War Widows Association. 01203 503 298
    4. Special Health complaints:-
      1. Cancer related deaths:-
        1. B. A. C. U. P. 0808 800 1234
        2. Cancerlink. 0808 808 0000
      2. AIDS and HIV related deaths:-
        1. Terence Higgins Trust. 0845 122 1200
        2. FACTS Health Centre. 020 8348 9195
        3. London Lighthouse. 020 7792 1200
        4. Lesbian and Gay Bereaved. 020 7403 5969
      3. Transplant related deaths:-
        1. British Organ Donor 01223 893636
        1. Epilepsy Bereaved 01235 772852
    5. Children and pre-birth Deaths:-
      1. Child Death Helpline. 0800 282 986 Every eve 7-10pm, Mon-Fri 10.00am-1pm, Wed 1-4 pm
      2. Compassionate Friends. 0845 123 2304
      3. Cot Death Help line. 0207 233 8001
      4. Miscarriage Association. 01924 200799
      5. Stillbirth/Neonatal Death 0207 436 5881
      6. Winston's Wish 0845 203 0405 (Mon-Fri 9-5pm) Support for bereaved children and their parents or carers
      7. Childhood Bereavement Network 0115 911 8070
      8. Child Bereavement Trust 0845 357 1000
  12. List your Telephone Numbers Here
    1. Medical.
      1. Family Doctor ________________
      2. Hospital ________________
      3. Nursing Home ________________
      4. Dentist ________________
      5. Optician ________________
    2. Legal.
      1. Coroner ________________
      2. Registrar BMD ________________
      3. Probate ________________
      4. Solicitor ________________
      5. Executor of will 1 ________________
      6. Executor of will 2 ________________
      7. Undertaker ________________
    3. Utilities
      1. Gas Co. ________________
      2. Electric ________________
      3. Water ________________
      4. Phone 1 ________________
      5. Phone 2 ________________
      6. Phone 3 ________________
    4. Financial
      1. Bank ________________
      2. Credit Card Co ________________
      3. Building Soc ________________
      4. Mortgage ________________
      5. Shares ________________
      6. Pension Company ________________
      7. Social Security ________________
      8. Inland Revenue ________________
      9. Insurance.
        1. Home ________________
        2. Personal ________________
        3. Life ________________
        4. Car ________________
      10. Post Office ________________
    5. Children
      1. Childminder ________________
      2. School ________________
      3. University ________________
      4. Nursery ________________
    6. Local Council ________________
    7. Local Church ________________
    8. Transport
      1. Bus Company ________________
      2. Taxi Company ________________
      3. Travel Agent ________________
      4. Rail Company ________________
      5. Car Hire Company ________________
    9. Others
      1. Friend ________________
      2. Friend ________________
      3. Friend ________________
      4. Friend ________________
      5. Friend ________________
      6. Friend ________________
      7. Friend ________________
      8. Friend ________________
      9. Friend ________________
      10. Misc ________________
      11. Misc ________________
      12. Misc ________________
      13. Misc ________________
      14. Misc ________________
      15. Misc ________________
      16. Misc ________________
      17. Misc ________________
      18. Misc ________________
      19. Misc ________________
      20. Misc ________________
      21. Misc ________________
  13. Duties of an executor
    1. Register the death - obtain copies of the death certificate.
    2. Get receipts for everything - they will be needed to prove costs
    3. Arrange funeral - cost to be taken from the deceased's estate.
    4. Apply for a Grant of Probate (where there is a will) or Letters of Administration (where there is no will).
    5. Arrange for a personal representative's bank account to be opened. This can be used for the receipt of money due to the estate and any loan arranged to pay an Inheritance Tax bill and/or probate fees due.
    6. Inform all relevant persons and organisations - banks, building societies, life assurances societies, employers, local authorities, Inland Revenue, Benefits Agency, etc.
    7. Arrange for valuation of the house, its contents, personal effects, investments, etc. Draw up a schedule of assets.
    8. Draw up a full schedule of debts - mortgage, income and capital gains taxes, credit cards, loans, overdrafts, etc.
    9. Complete the forms required by the Inland Revenue Capital Taxes Office for the purpose of establishing Inheritance Tax due.
    10. Complete the probate forms and send or take them to the Probate Office, along with the original Will, death certificate and the Inland Revenue Account (where Necessary).
  14. Subsequent duties of an executor.
    1. Provided that the case is fairly straightforward, an appointment will be made for the personal representatives to 'swear the papers' within about 5-6 weeks of receipt at the Probate Office.
    2. When Inheritance Tax is due the personal representatives' account of the estate is passed to the Inland Revenue prior to this appointment. Neither a Grant of Probate nor Letters of Administration can be issued until the tax is paid.
    3. Copies of the Grant or Letters should be sent to all who owe money to the estate. The Executors/Administrators now have a legal authority to pursue any debts owing to the estate.
    4. Once the Grant(or Letters) is received, the estate may be distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will, or the rules of Intestacy when no Will exists.
    5. The personal representatives must prepare and sign accounts showing who has received what in the distribution - they must be able to show that they acted in accordance with the terms of the deceased's Will or the laws of Intestacy in the event of dissent from the deceased's family.
    6. All papers, including the Grant (or Letters) and the accounts must then be stored safely - theoretically for 12 years.

A death certificate in the UK is completed by a medical doctor and has two parts:-
part 1 being the cause of death which is split into a (1a), being the exact cause, b (1b) the disease that lead to a, and c (1c) the disease that lead to b,
part 2 is contributing, but not directly causing death.

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This page (deathact.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013