What to do after someone dies – a checklist

Here is a complete list of the official organisations and authorities you need to notify in the first weeks following a death and how soon you need to contact them. There are also template letters for you to use when you’re contacting everyone.

Choose an executor 

An executor of a will carries out the tasks for the deceased as the personal representative of the deceased's estate. These tasks can be carried out by a close relative or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. The official names are 'executor' if there is a will or ''administrator' if there is no will or no executors are named in the will.

Things you need to do following a death

Obtain a medical certificate

When? Immediately (unless there is a coroner's inquest, in which case this will be delayed until the inquest is concluded). 

How and who you need to inform: The hospital (or the person's GP) will give this to you.

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: The certificate is free and should be given to you by a doctor.

Register the death and get some copies of the death certificate

When? Within five days of the death in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or eight in Scotland, but this is put on hold if there is a coroner's inquest (a coroner is known as a procurator fiscal in Scotland).

How and who you need to inform: 

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: Registering is free. Take the medical certificate with you. If possible, take the deceased's birth and marriage/civil partnership certificates, National Insurance number and NHS medical card.

You'll also need their:

  • full name (including previous names)
  • date of birth
  • town and county of birth if born in the UK
  • country of birth if born elsewhere
  • last address
  • occupation
  • full name, date of birth and occupation of the deceased's surviving spouse, if applicable.

You'll get one free death certificate. You may want to think about buying additional copies as these will be helpful when you come to deal with the deceased's estate. This is so you can deal with several organisations at the same time rather than having to wait until your one copy is returned before you can deal with the next. If you’re using ‘Tell Us Once’ (see below), you’ll only need extra certificates for the companies they cannot notify.

Arrange the funeral

When? Most people arrange funerals to take place within one or two weeks.

How and who you need to inform: Funeral director or the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local authority.

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: The funeral director (or your local authority if you're arranging the funeral yourself) will need the first certificate given to you by the registry office. For more information, see:

Stop State Pension and benefits

When? As soon as possible after receiving death certificates.

How and who you need to inform: The Department for Work and Pensions and other benefits offices.

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: For some of these benefits you'll get a form when you register the death, along with details of where to send it to.

For benefits not included on the form, search through the deceased's paperwork and contact the relevant benefits offices

Your local Jobcentre Plus/Jobs and benefits Office or Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help.

Notify HM Revenue & Customs of the death

When? As soon as possible.

How and who you need to inform: Get contact details for HM Revenue & Customs

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: HM Revenue & Customs will need the full name and address of the deceased as well as their National Insurance number

Although they may already been told about the death when it was registered, don’t assume this has happened

Notify the DVLA to return a driving licence, cancel car tax or return car registration documents/change ownership

When? As soon as possible.

How and who you need to inform: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: The DVLA will need the driving licence of the deceased.

Notify car insurer if you were a named driver on the deceased’s policy

When? As soon as possible. 

How and who you need to inform: Contact details from policy documents.

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: If the policy was in the deceased’s name and you were a named driver, the policy will most likely have lapsed from the date of death. If so, you will be uninsured until you arrange your own insurance.

Return the deceased’s passport

When? As soon as possible. 

How and who you need to inform: Your nearest Regional Passport Office or Newport Passport Office, PO Box 175, Newport NP20 1XA.

Notify the deceased’s local council

When? As soon as possible 

How and who you need to inform: If the person who has died:

  • paid Council Tax
  • had a parking permit
  • had a blue badge for disabled parking
  • received social services help, or
  • attended day care or similar then you should contact the relevant part of the local authority.

Contact all the companies that you think owed money to the deceased or were owed money by the deceased

When? As soon as possible after receiving death certificates.

How and who you need to inform: Any employer, insurers, banks, building societies, National Savings & Investments, utility companies, share registrars, investment firms and more.

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: There are lots of companies that might hold money or assets for the deceased person. Others might owe money to or be owed money by the deceased person

Find out more in:

See also the template letters below.

Notify the deceased's pension provider

When? As soon as possible after receiving death certificates.

How and who you need to inform: Check the deceased's paperwork for contact details of their personal or workplace pension schemes.

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: 

Let the deceased’s landlord know

When? As soon as possible.

How and who you need to inform: If you’re privately renting and the lease is in the deceased’s sole name, you’ll need to let the landlord know and ask for this to be transferred into your name.

Apply for a grant of probate or confirmation, which lets you distribute the person's money, belongings and property

When? As soon as possible after receiving death certificates.

How and who you need to inform: Through the Probate Courts in England and Wales, Sheriff Court in Scotland and Probate Office in Northern Ireland (often using a probate lawyer or with the help of Citizens Advice).

What information and documents you'll need, and any costs: You might have to go through the legal process of applying for probate, which is called confirmation of the estate in Scotland. Then you can distribute the person's effects and money.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and are finding it hard to take it all in, you might find it helpful to watch this video from the Gov.uk website on what to do after someone dies.

The ‘Tell Us Once’ service

Tell Us Once is a government service in England, Scotland and Wales which allows you to notify key local and central government departments of a death via a single appointment with your local registrar, over the phone or even online. See below for which services are covered.

If Tell Us Once is offered through your local authority, once you have registered the death, you will be offered the service. A member of staff will explain how it works and which departments will be notified. Tell Us Once will then notify them on your behalf and will provide you with a confirmation letter.

Department for Work and Pensions:

  • Incapacity Benefit/Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Bereavement Benefit
  • State Pension
  • Pension Credit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Overseas Health Team

 HM Revenue & Customs:

  • Tax credits
  • Child Benefit
  • Personal Taxation

Passport Service:

  • UK passport

DVLA:

  • Driving licence

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency:

  • War Pensions Scheme

Local Authority:

  • Library services
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Family Information Services
  • Adult Services
  • Blue Badge
  • Children's Services
  • Council Tax
  • Electoral Services
  • Money owned to council

Letter template for notifying a death


The state might pay you some bereavement benefits if you were married or a civil partner of the deceased. Some of these benefits are means-tested and others you can claim if you’re on a low income.