You are in emotional turmoil following a bereavement and don’t know where to turn. You need to focus enough to make sense of it all, but your heart is breaking. Is this you? We can help.
With simple lists and clear guidance we show you where to start and how to find the help you need. What to do when someone dies, how to sort out the paperwork, and how to arrange funeral that is a fitting tribute.
Register the death
First you must register the death and obtain a Death Certificate which gives you the legal proof you need. Death will be shaking you by the heart every waking moment, but this is not enough to persuade your bank, the government, or even the funeral celebrant that a life has gone. You need to show them evidence in the form of a Death Certificate, so be prepared.
Plan the funeral
Now you will be able to organise a funeral and make practical arrangements to let everyone know what has happened. You may wish to involve a professional such as an undertaker, but can equally arrange the service yourself or ask friends and relatives to help. There are no strict requirements for how you deal with your loved one’s body or get together to mourn and support, so you should be guided by your own feelings and what your loved one would have wanted.
Next, you must take some practical steps to ensure that the financial, legal and personal affairs of your loved one are taken care of. You will need to send official notification to many bodies, some of whom are frankly hopeless at dealing with bereaved relatives, but many of whom will be sympathetic and understand the emotional turmoil you are feeling. If a friend or relative offers to help you with this step, grab them with both hands, it will help you face the challenge and share the emotional stress.
Money and assets
Death wreaks havoc with finances. Just when you need ready cash and a friendly face, your bank, mortgage company and more will want to know who has the legal right to deal with the estate, i.e the possessions of the person who has passed away. The process is known as Probate and will give the Executor of a Will, or Administrator of the estate (if there is no will) the legal right to pay any sums owing and pass on the possessions as intended by the writer of the will, or in accordance with the law.