A Comprehensive Guide: What to Do When Someone Dies

Experiencing the death of a loved one is a profound and challenging ordeal. On top of this emotional strain, there’s an array of administrative tasks to address. Our PDF (available for download below) aims to shed light on the steps involved and help you navigate this demanding period.

Funeral service

1. Initial Actions Post-Passing

Securing the Property

  • The immediate aftermath requires focus on the deceased’s residence. This goes beyond the obvious act of locking doors and windows.
  • Halting regular deliveries such as newspapers and milk ensures that the home doesn’t appear vacant, potentially attracting unwanted attention.
  • In colder climates, precautions against burst pipes are essential to avoid property damage. An empty, unheated home can lead to frozen pipes, which could burst and result in significant water damage.
  • If the deceased owned pets, their well-being is paramount. Ideally, family or friends can step in, but in their absence, animal rescue charities can be a resource.

Registering the Death

  • A legal necessity, this step has a five-day window for completion. It necessitates several particulars about the deceased.
  • The documentation includes, but is not limited to, a medical certificate, details about the place and date of death, and personal details about the deceased and their spouse.

Funeral Arrangements

  • The deceased’s will can be instructive, revealing pre-stated wishes regarding the funeral or organ donation preferences.
  • Besides ensuring the ceremony aligns with the deceased’s wishes, the practicality of payment also comes into play. Often, banks will release funds upon presentation of a funeral bill, alleviating immediate financial pressures.

2. The Coroner’s Role

In specific instances, such as sudden or unanticipated deaths, the case is reported to the coroner. This can set in motion a series of events:

  • A post-mortem might be conducted to discern the cause of death.
  • If the death’s nature remains uncertain, an inquest is summoned. This could span several months, and during this interval, a coroner will issue interim documents facilitating the estate’s administration.

In such cases, our experienced legal team also includes coroner inquest solicitors.

3. Comprehensive Estate Administration

Data Compilation

A demanding yet critical task, gathering the necessary documents is foundational for the forthcoming steps. This includes insurance policies, bank statements, property deeds, tax references, and more.

Notification Process

  • A diverse range of entities needs to be informed of the passing. This spectrum covers financial institutions, government entities, employers, utility providers, and even subscriptions or memberships the deceased may have had.
  • Particularly for utilities, it’s advisable to obtain meter readings promptly. Direct debits linked to these utilities get nullified once the bank is informed of the death.

Estate Settlement

This intricate process encompasses…

  • Deciphering the will.
  • Asset and debt valuation.
  • Addressing tax commitments.
  • Handling property valuations and potential sales.
  • Financial asset management, such as shares and life insurance.
  • Ensuring beneficiaries receive their entitlements in compliance with the law.

4. The Vital Role of Solicitors

  • The complexity of addressing a deceased’s estate shouldn’t be underestimated. Errors or oversights can lead to significant legal ramifications, especially for executors.
  • Solicitors offer not just expertise but also the assurance of accuracy. This assistance is invaluable in tasks ranging from understanding intestacy rules (when there’s no will) to intricate tax-related matters.

Check out our guide on the 5 reasons why you MUST make a will.

Seek Expert Advice

Losing a loved one brings sorrow and confusion, but understanding the necessary steps can alleviate some of the administrative burdens. Our Wills, Probate, and Asset Protection department have years of experience in helping people deal with the administration that comes with the death of a loved one.

Contact us today via phone 01252 471 200 or fill out our simple contact form below.

By Published On: August 24th, 2023Categories: Resources

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