What You Need To Do Straight After A Death

July 28, 2020

When a loved one dies there are lots of things that add to the stress and worry let alone dealing with grief. Here are a few pointers for what you need to do straight after a death.

Extra worries will include letting family and friends know, whether they wanted to be an organ donor, if they wished for burial or cremation and then organising the funeral. Other concerns will be who you have to notify legally and a sense of what else you may have forgotten. All of this can be overwhelming, even if the death was expected.

Get a Medical Certificate.

As soon as you can you need to get a medical certificate. This will have the name of the deceased, their age, the date they died, where they died and the cause of death. You will need this before you can register the death and start arranging the funeral.

If the person has died at home or a care home, contact the person’s GP because they can issue a medical certificate. If your loved one died in hospital, the hospital will give it to you. If it is clear why the person died a medical certificate is normally issued straight away.

If the doctors are unsure of the cause of death, or they have not seen the patient within 14 days of the death, it must be reported to the coroner. The coroner will then decide if there needs to be a post mortem or inquest. If there is going to be a coroner’s inquest the death certificate will be issued after the inquest has been held.

Register the Death

It is a legal requirement to register the death of a person and you are legally obliged to register the death within 5 working days, or 8 working days if you live in Scotland. If the coroner has decided to open an inquest you cannot register the death until after the inquest is complete.

You must register the death at the registry office. Although you can go to any registry office it is always better to register the death in the county they have died.

Although the only document you need to register the death is the medical certificate, it may be helpful to take with you additional information like their birth certificate, proof of address, National Insurance Number or driving licence because this will make registering the death easier.

Once the death has been registered you can then start to arrange the funeral. Did the deceased have a funeral plan? If not, the funeral cost will come out of their estate.

Check for a will- if you cannot find a will then intestacy rules will determine how their estate is divided.

Here are some of the people and organisations you need to notify as soon as you can.

Bank/Building Society

Let the bank/building society know- they will ask to see a copy of the death certificate. If you have a joint account this will be needed to remove the deceased’s name.

If it is the deceased’s sole account then do not close the account straight away because the funds in the account may be needed to pay any outstanding debts or bills that may occur.

Loan or Credit Card Companies

These should be notified that the person responsible for the debt has passed away and they will also need to see a copy of the death certificate.

Any outstanding amounts should be paid out of the deceased’s estate. If the estate doesn’t have the funds to cover the debts, you will need to find out what responsibility the next of kin might have to repay any outstanding amounts.

Mortgage provider or Landlord

If you are purchasing or renting a property together and it is in both names you will have to let them know so that it can be transferred into your name.

If you have a joint mortgage and your partner dies and there is no life insurance or funds to cover the outstanding amount, the surviving partner must continue to make the mortgage payments themselves.


If the deceased was still employed check to find out if there were any death benefits that they may be entitled to, such as retirement funds or life insurance.


If the deceased had any insurance policies the company will need to see the death certificate and will probably ask for the policy numbers

Pension Fund:

If the deceased was already receiving a pension check to see if the spouse or civil partner is eligible to continue receiving any benefits from it.


If you lived at the same address as the deceased you need to let the utilities companies such as electric, gas, and telephone know so that they can change the name on the bills. They may ask to see the death certificate or proof of residence before they will do this.

If the deceased lived alone, do not have the utilities turned off straight away as you may still need to access the property. Only once the property has been sold or rented can the utilities be cancelled.


If the deceased had any gym or other monthly membership subscriptions, inform them to cancel the account because otherwise, they will continue to take the money until told to stop.

Government Departments

They are responsible for things like, HM Revenue and Customs, Department of Work and Pensions, passports, driving licences and council tax.

You can use the Tell Us Once service to notify all the government departments at the same time. This service is offered by most local authorities so use the ‘tell us once’ service on the GOV.UK website.

The loss of someone you love is never easy but the cherished memories you have will last forever.

Losing someone close to you can initially, whilst making funeral arrangements and waiting for the Will to be read, cause some financial issues. In these cases, a short term loan could be helpful and using Pixie Loans, who is a broker, can help you with this.