What to do when someone dies?

What do you need to do when someone dies?  Here at Unfinity we can take care of a lot of the administrative tasks that fall on you but there are many things that need to be done in a timely manner.  Losing a loved one can be one of the most stressful experiences that anyone will have to go through.  There are tasks that need to be done quickly such as registering the death, letting the next of kin know, looking after any pets and organising a funeral.  This guide should be able to help you navigate some of the tasks that will fall on you over the first few weeks.

First things that need to be done

1. Was the death at home?

If the death was anticipated, such as a terminal illness, you need to let NHS know as soon as possible.  Call 111 any time of day to inform them.  You need to call their GP during daytime hours to let them know but it’s OK to wait until the next day to let them know.  The doctor will issue you with a medical certificate Guide here which you will need when you register the death.

If the Death was not expected, you should call the police and ambulance services.  They will talk you through everything and don’t worry about them showing up as it is usually just a precaution.

If the death was in a hospital, the nurse will help you out and issue a medical certificate and provide some guidance for what happens next. 


Did they have any pets?  Please remember that they need looked after.

3. Their home

If the deceased lived alone, please make sure that their home is locked up, that there is no electrical equipment left on such as TVs, washing machines cookers etc.  You may need to clean out the fridge and empty any bins and food containers.  If they had milk or anything else delivered daily or weekly, you should arrange for this to be stopped.  You may want to let their neighbours know what happened.

4. Ask for help

There are many charities and organisations that can help you through this period.  Such as the Natural Death Centre ,  Age UK, & Cruse (Scotland) & Cruse  (England, Wales and NI).  There there are always local religious bodies who will help if you wish to use them. Many of these can help with both the practical and mental aspects of what to do when someone dies. 

5. Where to keep the body?

The body can be kept either at home or in a mortuary until the funeral.  Some religions have different rites with regard to this so it is up to you and the family to decide what is best. 

6. Tell people

This may be hard, but you need to let their friends and relatives know about the death.  You will also need to let their employer know as soon as you can.  This is a difficult journey for you, but you don’t need to walk it alone and having others to talk to is an important part of dealing with the grief.  It is natural to feel angry, alone or guilty during this difficult time but please take time for yourself and let others help you.  You may want to consider placing an obituary in your local newspaper.

You should also inform their bank as soon you can.  They may need a death certificate from you over the next few weeks but it is important that their bank account is frozen.  Please do not try to use their bank card or take any money from their account at this time other than for Inheritance tax, The funeral costs, Probate fees (England and Wales) / Confirmation fees (Scotland).

7. Register the death

Register the death and get death certificates.  In England, Wales & Northern Ireland you need to register the death within 5 days.  For Scotland you must register the death within 8 days.

England and Wales – https://www.gov.uk/register-offices

Northern Ireland – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/district-registrars-northern-ireland

Scotland – https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/registration/registering-a-death

You will need to get a death certificate when you register the death.  This comes with a cost but it is cheaper to do it at the time of registration than later in the process.  It is advisable to get more than one of these and preferably 3 or 4 of them.  This will allow Unfinity or yourself speak to more than one company at a time when dealing with the administrative tasks that need to be done. 

The cost per certificate are currently;

£11 in England and Wales,

£10 For Scotland

£8 in Northern Ireland

8. Get financial help for funeral costs

Are you entitled to Bereavement support?  Unfinity can help find this out and claim this for you.  Currently, you need to have been under the state pensions age when your partner died, living in the UK and your partner was still in work and paying national insurance contributions.  The amount you are entitled to will vary if you were receiving child benefits.  You can let UNFINITY do this for.  You can also fill in this form or alternatively get in touch with your local job centre.

9. Organising the funeral

This will usually happen within the first few weeks following the death.  There may be religious considerations to take into account as well as the deceased’s wishes as to what happens. There are the options of burial or cremation.  Choosing a funeral director need not be hard and there are plenty of websites out there to help such as the Good Funeral Guide and Natural Death. It may be a good idea to speak with anyone you know to get a recommendation as to who to use.  Be aware that funerals can vary hugely in price so get more than one quote and find out what you get for your money. There may not be a need to spend thousands of pounds more than is required so don’t always take the fist option that you see. 

You may be able to pay for the funeral with funds from the deceased’s estate, including cash in their bank account or they may have had a funeral plan or insurance set up to help pay for this. This is something the UNFINITY can help with. 

What to do when someone dies?

10. Administrative Tasks

Following the funeral there are many other administrative tasks that need to be done. UNFINITY can aid with a lot of these but some of the companies that need to be informed of the death are;  

TV and Streaming services, Post office redirection services, ISA and Pension providers, Credit cards, Loan companies, Car payments, Club membership fees, Mobile Phone companies, Season tickets, HMRC, Utilities, Email, Facebook and Twitter amongst others.   

UNFINITY can manage this and take control of these time consuming and stressful activities allowing you to spend precious time with your loved ones. 

11. What about any debt that the deceased had?

Debts are taken from the deceased’s estate and not passed onto any family members.  You may need to speak with a solicitor or citizens advice regarding this if there is a lot of debt.  If there is an outstanding mortgage in the deceased name, you will also want to speak with any mortgage provider as soon as possible and let them know what is happening.  They will have specialist teams set up to deal with this situation.