When somebody dies there are many arrangements, decisions and notifications that have to be made. The death must be registered, the funeral organised, Government departments and Local Councils notified and the estate distributed.

When someone dies the job of handling all the personal and legal details is the responsibility of the "Executor" named in the will or, if there was no will, the immediate next of kin.

Detailed information of what to do after somebody dies can be found at the following links: 

Arranging the Funeral

The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered.

The people named in the deceased's will as their executors or, if the deceased didn't make a will, their nearest relatives are primarily responsible for arranging and paying for the funeral.

The deceased may have left specific instructions for type of funeral they wanted either in their will or using an online service.  

You can pay for a funeral director to arrange the funeral or do it yourself.

Detailed guides to arranging a funeral are available at the following links:

A guide to choosing a funeral director is available from at this link.

Coroners and Inquests

Under certain circumstances an inquest may be called for to investigate the cause of death. Details of when this might occur and what is involved can be found at GOV.UK and a Guide to Coroners and Inquests can be downloaded from the Ministry of Justice.

As soon as the death certificate has been issued the funeral can be organised, Government departments and Local Councils notified and the estate distributed.

For a guide to arranging a funeral is available go to citizensadvice.org.uk.

Local councils run a service called Tell Us Once and they will contact all the government services for you.

Local councils also offer a Bereavement service  which offers detailed specific help and advice on what to do based on your post code.

Bereavement Advice Centre is a free helpline and web-based information service provided by Simplify. They offer practical information and advice on the issues and procedures that you may face after the death of someone close.

You can contact Bereavement Advice Centre by:

      Phone: 0800 634 9494

      Email :  info@bereavementadvice.org

Template letters (MSWord downloads) for notifying a death are available at the following links:

Once the relevant authorities have been notified the business of the distributing the money, property, shares and possessions, collectively known as "the Estate", can commence.


Before this can start the legal right to access the estate, known as "Probate", must be obtained.

Detailed information on applying for Probate can is availble from GOV.UK.

A detailed guide and all the necessary forms for applying for Probate where a solicitor is not being used are available for download at GOV.UK.

A guide, "Probate and legal procedures" can be found at BereavementAdviceCentre.

SAGA also provide full details of applying for Probate at the following links:

A guide, When to use a probate solicitor or specialist, is available from AdviserBook.

Once Probate has been granted the Estate can be distributed as specified in the Will.

For a detailed guide of dealing with the finances of someone who has died follow this link.

Useful contacts for completing probate are listed at this link.

Inheritance Tax

If the value of the deceased's estate is greater than the Inheritance Tax threshold, currently £325,000, then Inheritance Tax must be paid.

Full details of Inheritance Tax can be found at GOV.UK.

Further information on Inheritance Tax is available at the following links:

You must pay Inheritance Tax by the end of the sixth month after the person died - see details at GOV.UK.

An Inheritance Tax Calculator is available from Which?.

Benefits and Pension Inheritance

If your partner has died you may receive extra pension payments from your husband, wife or civil partner’s state and/or private pension or National Insurance contributions but you may be liable for tax on these extra payments. An expalnation of what you may be entitled to and the tax you might have to pay is available at the following links:

Bereavement Benefits

There are certain benefit payments available to people on low income to help with the costs associated with a death and full details can be found at MAG BENEFITS - BEREAVEMENT.


If a person dies without leaving a will, (intestate), their Estate must be distributed as defined by the rules of intestacy.

A detailed explanation of the rules of intestacy is available from citizensadvice.org.uk.

Coping with Bereavement

Advice, information and support on coping with bereavement can be found on My Advice Gateway page - Coping with Bereavement.

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