What to do when someone dies

22 November, 2018

That awful moment has happened.  A loved one has died and you need to register the death and make the funeral arrangements.  People imagine that they will know what to do, but even someone who has experienced this situation before can be overwhelmed by the thought of dealing with such matters when also grieving.  Thankfully, help is available.



Registering the death

A Gov.uk website that tells you how to register a death https://www.gov.uk/register-a-death.  A short series of questions guides you through the process.

If a Coroner is involved, because the deceased had not been treated by a doctor during their last illness or because the death was sudden, violent or unnatural, the Coroner will liaise with the Registrar directly and provide the paperwork required to register the death. 

Arranging the funeral

A funeral director may already be signed up.  Remember to check the Will (if any) for any funeral directions.  If a pre-paid funeral plan is in place this may dictate the funeral director to be used.  The funeral director can deal with the Coroner direct, if needed. 

When choosing a funeral director, bear in mind that funeral directors are not a regulated industry.  Look for a company that is a member of SAIF (The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors) or NASD (National Association of Funeral Directors).  Don’t be afraid to ask about facilities and viewing.  Natural and humanist ceremonies can be dealt with by most funeral directors and any reputable funeral director will invite you to meet them to discuss the deceased’s wishes, choose music and readings etc.  Newspaper notices, flowers and order of service can also be dealt with by the funeral director.

Paying for the funeral

If sufficient funds are available, the invoice for the funeral can be settled from the deceased’s bank account before dealing with the formal administration of the estate.  The original account should be passed to the bank which will make direct payment to the funeral director.

Following the funeral

If you are an executor, you will need to deal with the administration of the estate.  Our experienced Estates Team can advise on many different aspects, including inheritance tax, income tax, foreign assets and the application for a Grant of Probate.  We would be happy to meet with you and discuss any queries that you may have.  Bring along any documents and information about any assets and liabilities that the deceased may have held on the date they died e.g. information about life policies, bank accounts, investments, shares, property etc. 

Our Estates Team are here to help and to shoulder any worries you may have when dealing with a deceased’s affairs, before or after the funeral.  Your dedicated Probate Manager can liaise with both the Coroner and funeral director if needed.  Meet the team through our previous blog titled ‘The Estates Team – here for you come rain or shine’ (published 2 August 2018). 

If you have any queries or would like assistance with registering a death and dealing with an estate please contact Tara Payne on 01892 506285 or tara.payne@crippspg.co.uk