Check list for what to do when someone dies

Download for printing as a one-page sheet:

1 Straight away
Contact the doctor, who will probably attend as soon as possible. (Ideally this should be the deceased person’s own doctor. If they have seen the deceased fairly recently, they may be able to confirm the cause of death)
Within the first day or so, you will get a medical certificate showing cause of death. You will also get another document, telling you how to register the death.

2 Same day, or next morning
Contact a Funeral Director. They are available twenty-four hours a day, but you do not have to call them at once, unless you want your loved one to be taken away immediately. They will give you advice on what to do next. If you have time, and feel able to do this, ring round several funeral directors and ask for the cost of a “simple funeral” to compare prices. (Perhaps a friend or family member could do this on your behalf?)

3. Find the will.
This may be with the deceased person’s papers. If not, ask their solicitor or the bank. The reason for finding it as soon as possible is that there may be instructions for the funeral arrangements. It will also name the executors, and possibly family members who should be informed.

Within five days
Register the death. Look up Registration in the phone book, or ask the doctor, the post office or the police station for the phone number. You will need to ring first to make an appointment.

In Cheshire East, the number to phone is 0300 123 5019. Find your nearest Register Office here:  www.gov.uk/register-offices

Legally, you can go to any register office to register a death, but it will almost certainly be easier to go to the one in the district where the person died because the paperwork will be quicker. If you live a long distance away, perhaps you could ask another relative could register the death on your behalf – it does not have to be next of kin.
When you have registered the death you will get a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) which gives permission for burial or an application for cremation. Since 2019,  additional death certificates cost £11 each, with no increase in cost if you purchase them at a later date. Three or four should be sufficient, but be guided by the registrar.

When you go to register the death
You will need to take the medical certificate.
Ask the register office what else you need to take.  You will need to provide
• their full name (and any other names they once had)
• the date and place of death
• the usual address of the deceased
• their date and place of birth
• their most recent occupation and their NI number
• whether or not they were receiving a pension or other benefits
• the name, occupation and date of birth of their husband, wife or civil partner.

You should also take these documents, if handily available (they are not ESSENTIAL, though):
• their medical card or NHS number
• their birth certificate, and their marriage or civil partnership certificates

Before the cremation can take place
If you are having a cremation, you will need a second medical certificate from another doctor. The Funeral Director will deal with this.

As soon as you have a date for the funeral
Discuss with the celebrant or the minister what words and music will be in the funeral. You could do the funeral service yourself – it does not have to be religious.

As soon as possible – urgent
Tell the pension office to stop paying the state pension and any other benefits. You will have to repay any money that is sent after the person died. Phone: 0800 731 0469  then option 2.
NB If your local area uses the Tell Us Once Service, a number of other organisations can be notified automatially, such as DVLA, Council Tax, Housing Benefit.

As soon as possible
Tell Us Once is a one-stop service to notify HMRC □, DVLA □ , DWP (pensions and benefits) □ , Passport Office □ , Electoral Roll □, some public service pensions □ , Blue Badge □ , library □

Contact the Tax Office (HMRC)  if not using the Tell Us Once Service, or if you need to sort out tax affairs for the deceased □ (0300 200 3300)
GP □ dentist □   optician □ employer □     gas □   electricity □     insurance □  solicitor □   clubs □   Premium bonds □    to stop mail □ (Tel: 01732 460 000)  Facebook / social media accounts □
Use the Death Notification Service to let banks and building societies know: bank □  building society □

10 Within three months of the funeral
If you do not have enough money to pay for the funeral, AND you are on means-tested benefits, you may possibly be able to ask for help from the Funeral Expenses Payment (previously known as the Social Fund).  Visit www.gov.uk/funeral-payments  for more information and to make a claim, or phone 0800 731 0469  option 2.