A very brief guide as to what to do when someone dies

When someone passes away
  1. Don’t panic. There are no time limits for you to deal with things, except you have five days in which to register the death at with the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  2. Contact us. We will answer any immediate questions that you might have and, if the person made a Will with us, we will confirm any specific funeral directions.
  3. Arrange to collect the Medical Death Certificate from the hospital or GP’s surgery.
  4. Make an appointment with the Registrar to register the death and collect the Death Certificates. Do make use of the “Tell us Once” facility offered by the Registrar. The Registrar will also give you the ‘green form’ and this document should be handed to the funeral directors.
  5. Contact the funeral directors to make arrangements. With regards to payment, you will be responsible for payment as far as the funeral directors are concerned but the invoice can often be paid from the deceased person’s account before Probate is granted.
  6. Contact us again and we will give you guidance as to what else needs to be done. An appointment can be made for you to see us but there is no need to think about legal matters until after the funeral.
  7. Do make an initial telephone call to the Department for Works and Pensions or the occupational pension company to stop any overpayments of pension being made.
  8. Do not worry about any other bills that might need paying. As long as there is enough money in the person’s account to pay the funeral invoice, this bill can be paid. All other bills can wait for the time being.
  9. Ultimately, gather together the financial and legal paperwork and take them to us together with a copy of the Death Certificate. When you see us, you will receive all the guidance you need and an explanation of what needs to be done including what Probate is all about.

Luke is a Solicitor at our Derby office in the Wills and Probate department with 11 years experience specialising in Wills and assisting bereaved families. Contact Luke by email Luke.smyth@smithpartnership.co.uk.