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When a loved one or close friend dies there is usually a lot to deal with – their paperwork, finances, legal issues, property, as well as coping with your own emotional reaction to their death.

GOV.UK provide helpful step by step advice

Age UK : What to do when someone dies


What do I need to do straight away?

If they died at home and their death was expected, in most cases the surgery can issue a 'Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death'. Please call the surgery during opening hours ( NHS 111 outside these hours) as soon as possible to let us know. The death will need to be confirmed before you can call a funeral director. 

When you call the surgery our Care Navigators will need to ask you some questions, especially if you are planning a cremation.

  • Date and time of death
  • Who was present
  • Name and address of your chosen funeral director

If someone has died unexpectedly, call NHS 111 as their death will need to be reported to the coroner. The coroner may request a post-mortem. This may delay registering the death and any funeral plans.

If they died in hospital, the hospital will support you through the next steps. The hospital usually let us know.


How do I register a death?

You need to register their death within 5 days. You can do this online or by contacting the local register office.

Registering a death online

Find a register office

The Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death is now emailed to the registrar directly.


Who do I need to tell about the death?

When someone dies, you must get in touch with certain organisations to let them know as soon as possible.

The Tell Us Once service helps you with this by contacting government departments .

The services contacted include:

  • local services such as libraries, electoral services and council tax services
  • the tax office
  • the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • the UK Passport Agency
  • HMRC for tax purposes. 

Register with Tell Us Once

You will need to return the driver's licence to the DVLA and the passport to HM Passport Office.

You should consider who else you may need to contact.  Some organisations that you should contact are listed below:

  • their pension scheme provider
  • insurance companies
  • bank and building societys
  • their employer
  • their mortgage provider, housing association or council housing office
  • social services
  • utility companies
  • GP, dentist, optician and anyone else providing medical care
  • any charities, organisations or magazine subscriptions the deceased person made regular payments to
  • The Bereavement Register which removes their details from mailing lists and stops most advertising mail.


What do I do if the person who died had a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney?

You should send any Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney they had back to the Office of the Public Guardian, along with a death certificate, if you were their attorney.


How do I arrange a funeral?

The person who died may have left funeral instructions in their will or a letter about their wishes.

If there aren’t any clear wishes, the executor or nearest relative will usually decide if the body will be cremated or buried and what type of funeral will take place.


Finding a funeral director

Check that the people you talk to are registered with at least one of the following organisations. Make sure you get more than one quote.

These organisations have codes of practice - they must give you a price list when asked.

Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association can also help with non-religious funerals.


Arranging a funeral yourself

You don’t have to use a funeral director if you don’t want to. These funerals can be less expensive, more environmentally friendly as well as more personal and intimate. 

Contact your local council if you want to arrange a funeral in your local cemetery or crematorium.

Find your local council contact details


Funeral costs

Funerals can be very expensive. You should consider what you can afford when you arrange a funeral

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees
  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quotes.

You may be able to get a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund if you’re on a low income and meet the strict criteria. Funeral Payments from the Department for Work and Pensions can help towards burial or cremation costs and up to £1,000 for other expenses, such as funeral director’s fees. You usually need to pay the amount back from the estate of the person who's died.

GOV.UK funeral expenses claim form. If you prefer you can call the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 to make a claim. You must make a claim within 3 months of the funeral.

Age UK Factsheet : Social Fund


Coping with Bereavement

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love has died. You may experience unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. Sometimes it may feel overwhelming. Your grief can also affect your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think clearly. These are normal reactions to loss.

Self-help and information booklets

Online resources

What to say to someone who has lost some one

It can be hard to find the right words when someone you know is grieving.