Organising your loved one’s affairs
When someone dies and leaves possessions or property, administering their affairs and estate will be required. This covers legal, tax and administrative matters and can be both complex and time-consuming. You may wish to complete the administration of the estate yourself or appoint a legal professional to carry out the work on your behalf.
Check if there is a will
The will details who the appointed executors are to carry out the instructions on the will and the tasks involved with estate administration. The executors may need to apply for a grant of representation to give them the legal right to deal with the estate. This right is known as ‘probate’.
It is important to access the will before finalising the funeral arrangements as the person who has died may have left instructions about their funeral wishes.
When is probate required?
Probate is required in England and Wales when:
- Property (houses, buildings or land) are owned by the person who has died.
- A Grant of Representation is required by a bank or other financial institution holding assets of the person who has died. This is normally if the amount in the account is over the specific threshold set by that institution.
Organisations you need to notify
Once the death is registered with the local Registrar, you will need to inform a number of organisations to cancel agreements, return items and update records. If you are using a professional for probate or the Tell us Once service they will contact many of these on your behalf.
Banks and other financial organisations
Contact the person’s bank or mortgage, pension or insurance providers to close or change the details of their accounts, loans and standing orders.
Benefits and tax
Benefits will need to be stopped and the surviving spouse/civil partner may be entitled to future benefits or rent/tax rebates. You will also need to work out whether the right amount of tax has been paid.
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – Income Tax, National Insurance, Tax credits, Child Benefit
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – Income support, disability allowance, carers allowance, state pension. You can call the DWP Bereavement Service on 0345 606 0265 for further advice on benefits and entitlements
- Local council – housing benefit, council tax benefit, blue badge return, council housing services, electoral register, home help services
- Child’s school, or childcare provider
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA ) – car tax, driving licence, car ownership details
- Health professionals – Doctor, Dentist, Optician, Therapists, private medical cover, hospital clinics
- Home help agency
- Memberships – Library, gym, clubs, travel cards
- Passport Office – cancel a passport
- Subscriptions – charities, magazines, newspapers, home deliveries
- TV Licence
- Mobile phone provider
- Travel – pre-booked holidays
- Utilities – gas, electric, water, telephone, Internet service provider
Returning medicines and equipment
When someone dies, it is important that any medicines are disposed of safely. You should take them to your nearest pharmacist where a free of charge unwanted medicine service is available. If a death is referred to a coroner, all medicines must be kept until the coroner gives permission for their disposal.
Health equipment loaned by the NHS or local council should be returned to the provider e.g. walking frames, crutches, hearing aids and wheelchairs.