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.
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 from 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 : email@example.com
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:
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.
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 is available at the following links:
You must pay Inheritance Tax by the end of the sixth month after the person died.
An Inheritance Tax Calculator is available from Which?.
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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