Who to tell about a death

When someone dies it can be very difficult to know what you are supposed to do. To help you, the following information is designed to guide you through the process.

Information you'll need to hand

Before you start, it is very useful to have the following information to hand about the person who has died. This will make the task of completing any forms or documents much easier.

  • National Insurance number
  • NHS number
  • date and place of birth
  • date of marriage or civil partnership (if suitable)
  • Child Benefit number
  • tax reference number
  • organ donor card (if registered)

You may be asked for details regarding yourself or the person responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate, if that is not you.

Who to contact

  • the family doctor
  • register the death at the relevant Registrar's Office, except where the death has been referred to the Coroner
  • find the will - the deceased person's solicitor may have a copy if you can't find one
  • begin funeral arrangements - you will need to check the will for any special requests
  • report the death to the Bereavement Service for Northern Ireland - the service will record the date of death, informing any benefit office that paid benefit to the deceased and will check eligibility for any financial support that may be available to the bereaved
  • if the person who has died was a Blue badge holder, the badge must be returned to the Blue Badge Unit
  • If the person who has died had a Motability car, the car must be returned within 2 weeks to the car dealership. A permitted driver can drop the car off at the dealership or you can contact the dealership to arrange for the vehicle to be collected at a convenient time. In the interim, named drivers can continue to make use of the car for journeys in connection with the affairs of the customer
  • if the deceased was the first named on an insurance policy, make contact as early as possible to check that you are still insured
  • if there is a will, contact the executor if this isn't you. This person is usually nominated in the will to sort out the deceased's affairs. They can then start the process of applying for probate 
  • if there is no will, decide who will apply to sort out the deceased's affairs. Contact the Probate Registry to apply for 'letters of administration'. Find out more out more about what to do if there is no will
  • Surviving relative and friends of the deceased may need to make a new will. You don’t need to do this urgently, but it’s important to ask a solicitor about this as soon as you can

Who else to tell

As well as informing people who are close to the person, in many cases you'll need to close down accounts, or cancel or change insurance details, subscriptions, agreements, payments or direct debits.

Here's a list to help you keep track. You can print it off and cross through the ones that don't apply:

  • relatives and friends
  • employer
  • school
  • solicitor
  • accountant

Government organisations

Financial organisations

  • general insurance companies for home, car, travel or medical
  • pension providers
  • life insurance companies
  • banks and building societies
  • mortgage provider
  • hire purchase or loan companies
  • credit card providers and any store cards

Utilities and household contacts

  • landlord or local authority if they rented a property
  • any private organisation/agency providing home help
  • utility companies if accounts were in the deceased's name
  • Royal Mail if mail needs re-directing
  • TV/internet companies with which the deceased had subscriptions

Other people or organisations to tell

  • Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service to remove the deceased's name from mailing lists and databases
  • clubs, trade unions, associations with seasonal membership for cancellation and refunds
  • church or regular place of worship
  • social groups the deceased belonged
  • dentist
  • anyone the deceased owed money to
  • anyone who owed the deceased money

Advice, support and comfort for the bereaved

After the death of a loved one, general advice and support is available from doctors, solicitors and social services. There are many organisations that can also offer help according to your particular circumstances.

You can get practical help from a number of people and organisations, for example:

  • funeral director
  • family doctor
  • solicitor
  • welfare officers and personnel departments at your workplace
  • priest or minister of religion
  • local social services

A health visitor or district nurse who attended the deceased may also be able to help. If death was in a hospital, ask the sister or hospital chaplain.

You may feel that you want to talk with someone sympathetic who is outside your immediate family or with people who have been through a similar experience. Below is a list of the organisations that provide help and support to the bereaved.



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