FAQ Articles

What to do when someone dies

When someone dies there are 3 things you must do in the first few days:

Get a medical certificate – you’ll get this from a doctor (GP or at a hospital) and you need one to register the death.

Register the death within 5 days of the death – you’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral.

Arrange the funeral – you can use a funeral director or do it yourself.


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Step 1

Register the death with the registrar of births deaths and marriages for the area where the person has died.

Step 2

Tell the person’s bank and building societies. The accounts are then frozen, except that the funeral bill can be paid from the person’s account.

Step 3

Tell the home and contents insurance company (or they may refuse to pay any claim after the date of death).

Step 4

Organise the funeral.

Step 5

Don’t rush – the next things don’t need to be done immediately after the death.

Step 6

Find the Will – life is easier if there is one.

Step 7

If you decide to use a solicitor, contact the one who is holding the Will. However, you don’t need to use that firm. Always get a second quote, and only instruct someone you feel comfortable with. You will have quite a bit to do with them over the next few months.

Step 8

You will almost certainly need to get probate or letters of Administration (if there is no Will). This is the court document that allows all the assets to be transferred to the executors/administrators (the people who have the job of managing the person’s estate), who eventually transfer them to the beneficiaries.

Step 9

The solicitor can do everything for you including going through all the paperwork in the house, but will inevitably charge more for this level of service. You can save money by doing some of this work yourself. Make sure you ask your solicitor about different options.

Step 10

The legal process takes time. A good solicitor will explain the process to you in detail, and deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.

1. Register the death with the registrar of births deaths and marriages for the area where the person has died.
2. Tell the person’s bank and building societies. The accounts are then frozen, except that the funeral bill can be paid from the person’s account.
3. Tell the home and contents insurance company (or they may refuse to pay any claim after the date of death).
4. Organise the funeral.
5. Don’t rush – the next things don’t need to be done immediately after the death.
6. Find the Will – life is easier if there is one.
7. If you decide to use a solicitor, contact the one who is holding the Will. However, you don’t need to use that firm. Always get a second quote, and only instruct someone you feel comfortable with. You will have quite a bit to do with them over the next few months.
8. You will almost certainly need to get probate or letters of Administration (if there is no Will). This is the court document that allows all the assets to be transferred to the executors/administrators (the people who have the job of managing the person’s estate), who eventually transfer them to the beneficiaries.
9. The solicitor can do everything for you including going through all the paperwork in the house, but will inevitably charge more for this level of service. You can save money by doing some of this work yourself. Make sure you ask your solicitor about different options.
10. The legal process takes time. A good solicitor will explain the process to you in detail, and deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Purely Probate are happy to give quotes and will not charge for an initial consultation. We can act for you even if you are not close to us in Somerset.