The first steps needed after a death will be to register the death, start to make funeral plans and consider urgent personal or family arrangements that may need dealing with.
Registering a death
You will need to register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You will be given a certificate for a burial or an application for a cremation. You will need this to give to your funeral directors.
When you obtain a death certificate, it is advisable to purchase additional copies of the certificate. This is because many institution’s require an original copy of the certificate when finalising certain matters.
You will need to arrange the funeral fairly quickly. Check first to see if the person made any specified funeral wishes. This will help ensure that you are carrying out any final wishes they may have had.
Notifying Government departments of a death
This is usually done automatically via the Registrar when registering a death in England, Wales and Scotland but not in Northern Ireland.
This is helpful as certain organisations are then automatically notified of the death, such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Local Authority for Council Tax purposes.
Locating important documents
Identify where important personal documents are kept and keep these secure.
These may include:
- Marriage / Civil partnership certificates
- Birth or Adoption certificates
- Death certificates
- Passports – Return these to the Passport Office
- Driving Licence (See Vehicles section) – return the Driving Licence to the DVLA
- Military service documents
Children and dependents
These may be difficult issues to consider but it is best to have these open conversations and make a clear plan – to avoid any confusion in the future.
Consider the following:
- What arrangements are in place for children and/or dependents
- Where is their important paperwork kept – for example, birth certificates, health and schooling information
- What would their new living arrangements be and with who
- How would they be provided for – financially, emotionally and practically
- How would you want them to be raised
Next of Kin and emergency contact information
Who is your next of kin? Do they know they may be contacted in an emergency? Would they know what to do in the event of a death?
It is useful to have these important discussions with people on a regular basis to make sure they are aware they are your next of kin – and what to do in an emergency.
Other contact details
You will have lots of personal services in your life. Doctors, Dentists, Opticians – the list can be very long.
Keep this useful information up to date and easily accessible in your home. This can really help people resolve your affairs in the future if they have these details readily available.