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What To Do When Someone Dies


The death of a loved one is a very difficult time. In addition to managing your grief, there are certain steps that must be taken and many arrangements to be made that can easily make the situation feel overwhelming.  

In this blog, our specialist estate administration lawyers consider what you should do after someone’s death and explain how a solicitor can help.

1. Register the death.

The first thing to do after someone dies is register the death. This must be done by a close relative of the deceased, with the local authority where the person died, within five days of their passing.

Once you have registered the death, you will be provided with a death certificate, which you will need to show to various authorities and institutions as part of the estate administration process.

2. Inform the government about the death.

The government runs a service called Tell Us Once, which lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. 

You can use Tell Us Once if the person who died was living in England, Scotland, or Wales, including if they died while they were temporarily abroad, for example, on a holiday or business trip.

When using the service, you must provide the reference number you got from the registrar when you registered the death and some other personal details of the deceased.

Tell Us Once will notify organisations such as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Passport Office, and the deceased person’s local council to deal with tax issues, credits, and benefits, and remove the person from the electoral register.

In addition, you will also have to inform institutions such as banks, mortgage providers and utility providers about the death. 

3. Find the deceased’s Will.

A Will is an essential legal document containing information about what should happen to someone’s money, property and possessions after death. 

It is advisable to store your Will with the solicitor who helped you make it. Attempting to draft your own Will or failing to store it securely can create additional stress and problems for your loved ones.

At Russell & Russell, we provide local wills and probate services across the North West and throughout England and Wales.

Our team has over 50 years of collective experience in delivering high-quality work in all matters relating to Wills and estate administration. 

To speak to one of our Wills and Probate solicitors, please call 0800 103 2600 or request a callback.

4. Arrange the funeral.

Once the death has been registered, you can arrange the funeral yourself or through a funeral director. 

The deceased might have told you about what they want to happen or have left instructions about their wishes in their Will.

5. Administer the estate.

The executor named in the Will has the legal authority to administer the deceased’s estate.

If you are an executor, you may need to apply for a grant of probate to distribute assets.

Probate involves dealing with any money, property, and possessions the deceased had at the time of their death. It also involves settling any outstanding debts, collecting any monies owed, and dividing the estate among the people to inherit it.

Probate can be complicated and requires significant time, paperwork, and expertise. A solicitor can help. Click here to find out more.

More guidance about what to do when someone dies is available on Money Helper

Estate Administration Solicitors Near Me

Russell & Russell Solicitors has extensive experience in Will writing, probate and asset management. We pride ourselves on being sensitive and approachable during difficult times in people’s lives.

We’re accredited by the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme, which sets the benchmark for best practice and transparency in providing Wills and estate planning services. 

Our Wills and Probate solicitors are qualified members of the Association of Lifetime Lawyers, an independent organisation of legal advisers who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers. The department is also a dementia-friendly business.

We provide local estate administration legal services from nine offices across the North West, three in Bolton and one in Atherton, Bury, Chester, Farnworth, Horwich and Middleton. 

Our head of department is Louise Rance, a very experienced solicitor and director of Russell & Russell LLP. Louise is based in our Farnworth office.

If you would like to speak to our estate administration team, please call 0800 103 2600 or request a callback.

Please note that this article is meant as general guidance and not intended as legal or professional advice. Updates to the law may have changed since this article was published.


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