Funeral arrangements are not the only things that need to be sorted (Image: Getty – gradyreese)
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When we lose someone close it can be extremely hard to think straight, let alone try to remember all of the things that need to be organised.
And while registering the death, taking care of funeral arrangements and reading the will might seem obvious, there is so much more that needs to be done that might not have crossed your mind.
If you’re lucky enough to not have lost anyone close before, or if it's the first time you’re responsible for taking care of someone’s estate, it’s important to be clued up on everything you’re required to do.
1. Redirect the mail
Post can soon build up
(Image: Getty – moodboard)
While you’re in the process of cancelling subscriptions and telling those who need to be told, redirecting the deceased's mail in special circumstances is a job to tick off the list. It will also help to avoid the post piling up at their home if the property is now empty.
Arranging this early on in the process will also give you an idea of any subscriptions that may need cancelling or companies that need to be contacted.
You can find more details about redirecting post after a death on the Royal Mail website.
2. Close bank accounts
There's more than one way to close bank accounts
Notifying banks, either by phone or by visiting the branch, is something else that should be added to your to-do list.
You may or may not be able to get access to the funds – this will depend on your relationship with the deceased and the amount of money in their accounts.
3. Tell creditors and subscriptions
Subscriptions will need to be cancelled
(Image: Getty – Tetiana Soares)
If you are able to get hold of a bank statement, this will allow you to check which creditors and subscription providers need informing and anything that needs cancelling.
Ideally, it’s best to do this as soon as you have the death certificate. While the relatives won't be liable, any outstanding debts may need to be covered by the deceased’s estate.
4. Contact utility companies
Electricity and gas bills may need to be settled
(Image: Getty – MartinPrescott)
Other companies that will need to be contacted are utility companies, including providers of electricity, gas, insurance, water and internet.
You may need to settle any outstanding debts out of the estate, or you could be due a refund depending on how their bills are paid. You will also need to locate the meters so that you are able to provide a final reading.
If you intend on living in the property, you’ll still need to make contact so that you can transfer any bills into your name.
5. Cancel the TV licence
TV licences could remain valid or need to be stopped
Although you could class this as a utility bill, what happens to a TV licence will depend on a number of factors.
If the licence is a free over 75 one, this will remain valid until it expires. If someone will continue to live in the property who is under 75 though, TV Licensing will need to be notified of this change so that an appropriate renewal can be sent.
If you do not plan on living in the property, you can get in touch via the website or by writing to Customer Services, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL.
The estate may also be due a refund.
6. Call the landlord
Rented homes will need to be cleared and handed back
If the deceased didn’t own their own home and was living in rented accommodation, the owner of the property needs to be notified.
Get in contact with the housing association, landlord or letting agent following the death of a loved one. They will be able to tell you how long you have to clear the property and if any rent will be due during that time, which may have to come out of the estate.
7. Tell authorities
HMRC is among the organisations that will need to be contacted
(Image: Getty – Peter Dazeley)
There are a number of government organisations that need to be informed following a death, such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Revenue & Customs, the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the local council and, in some cases, Veterans UK.
Thankfully, you don’t need to contact all of these organisations separately, you can do it all in one go using the Tell Us Once service on Gov.uk.
When you register the death, the registrar will either fill in the details with you or give you a unique reference number so that you can do it yourself.
8. Return passport and driving licence
Returning a passport should be done as soon as possible
(Image: Getty – RZ)
Once you’ve informed the DVLA and HM Passport Office of the death, you will also be required to send off the deceased's driving licence and passport.
This should be done as soon as possible after receiving the death certificate.
9. Take care of social media
You can memorialise a Facebook account instead of deleting it
Many of us these days have a social media account, if not multiple. It's something you might not think to make arrangements for, until you receive a painful birthday reminder from your loved one via the platform.
These accounts can hold so many precious memories, and while there is the option of having them removed, you can also choose to memorialise them. This means all of the past photos and content will remain to help friends and family remember the good times, but it stops anyone from being able to log on.
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10. Notify employer
Colleagues may also want to come to the funeral
If your loved one was still working when they died, their employer with the need to be notified.
As well as the common courtesy of letting them know their employee won’t be returning to work, they’ll also need to know where to pay any outstanding wages.
Your loved one is likely to have work colleagues who were also considered friends so they may want to be kept up to date with funeral plans too
11. Inform the Bereavement Register
Alerting the Bereavement Register will help to stop junk mail
(Image: Getty – Alerting the Bereavement Register will help to stop junk mail)
While not absolutely necessary, registering a bereavement can help to stop any unwanted marketing post from being sent out that may only serve as a painful reminder.
The Bereavement Register is a free service which removes the name and address of the deceased from mailing lists, stopping most advertising mail within as little as six weeks.
For funeral notices in your area visit funeral-notices.co.uk.