Practical issues following a death
When you feel prepared to deal with the formalities following the death of the person you have cared for, advice and further emotional support should be available from local information services, including your local library.
The following checklist, produced by a Carers Liaison Service, could help to ease your mind if you are concerned about remembering all the different things that need addressing.
Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death
If the person has died at home or in hospital the doctor will issue a medical certificate of the cause of death, and a formal notice that explains how you register the death. There is no charge for this.
A Funeral Director will be able to help you with arrangements and advice.
Deaths have to be registered within five working days in the area in which the death occurred. The registrar will issue you with:
- A green certificate for burial or cremation
- A copy of the certified entry (known as the Death Certificate). It is advisable to buy extra copies if you need to let organisations such as life insurance companies know of the death.
- A white certificate of registration of death, which is required for social security purposes.
These can be paid from the estate of the person who has died. If your savings are modest and you receive a means-tested benefit you may be eligible for support from the social fund. If you cannot get any other help, you may in certain circumstances be able to get help from your local council.
Administration of the estate checklist
- Is there a Will?
- If so, who is the executor?
- Notify the executor
- Notify the solicitor if appropriate
- If there is a Will, apply for grant of probate
- If there is no Will, apply for letters of administration
- If the estate is modest, it is sometimes possible for assets to be released without applying for such a grant
- Contact your local probate registry office for details
Organisations to Notify
- Return the pension/benefit book of the person who has died
- Notify JobCentre Plus/pensions service, if any benefits are paid into a bank account
- Notify the appropriate organisation(s) if the deceased person had any occupational pension(s) or a life assurance policy, with a copy of the death certificate
- Notify the bank/building society and mortgage company with a copy of the death certificate and information about probate
- Notify the landlord if the deceased lived in rented accommodation
- Housing benefit or council tax benefit if appropriate
Council tax with copy of death certificate
- Executor of the Will (to arrange probate)
- Gas, electricity, water and telephone companies
- General insurance companies, e.g. buildings and contents insurance
- DVLA, regarding driving licence
- Car insurance company – this is very important as the policy may need to be re-issued
- Inland Revenue
- Social and caring services
- Home care/Day centre
- Meals on wheels
- Credit cards/hire purchase/rentals
- Passport Office
- Membership of clubs and societies
- Cancel appointments, e.g. doctor, dentist, optician, hairdresser
- Return any drugs to the pharmacist for safe disposal
You may wish to stop unwanted commercial 'mailshots' or telephone calls for the person who has died. If so, contact the Direct Marketing Association Helpline on 0845 703 4599.
Sorting out your own finances
Your entitlement to benefits may change as a result of the bereavement. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to check this for you. One such example of a benefit you may be entitled to is the Bereavement Allowance. The Directgov site also has useful information on Bereavement Payment, a one-off lump sum you may be entitled to.