The steps to take when someone dies
Get a medical certificate which confirms the cause of death. If your loved one died at home, you can call their GP. If your loved one died in a hospital or a care home, they should take care of this.
Inform next of kin (if that’s not you) and other members of the family.
Contact others who may need to know immediately, such as close friends, carers, their employer or landlord.
Keep a notebook handy to jot down any important details from the GP or hospital – if you’re in shock you may not remember things clearly later.
If you are making arrangements for someone who lived alone, make sure the property is locked up and secure, and cancel any deliveries (such as milk and newspapers). Arrange for any pets to be fed and looked after.
Once you have the medical certificate you can register the death.
Ensure you have four or five copies of the death certificate.
Start making funeral arrangements – did your loved one leave any instructions about their wishes?
Check for a will. This should name the person responsible for dealing with your loved one’s finances. If there’s no will, the intestacy rules will determine how the estate should be managed.
Start cancelling contracts or transferring them to your own name if, say, your partner has died. Examples of these include banks, telephone provider and gas and electricity providers.
Don’t be afraid to talk to close friends and family about your grief. You might want to consider bereavement counselling to help you through this difficult time. You may also need to tell your employer if you will need time off work.
Find out whether you need to carry out probate. Probate is the official process of dealing with someone’s finances, property and assets after their death.
Read about the first steps that need to be taken after someone has died, whether at home, in hospital or in a care home.
After the medical certificate has been issued, the next stage is to register the death. Here, we explain the next steps.
This government-run service allows you to report the death of a loved one to most departments in one go, so you don’t ...
Get your probate checklist
Our free checklist breaks down the probate process into essential tasks and will help keep you on track.
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