When my Dad died last year, there were a few things I struggled with aside from the obvious grief that I experienced. Today’s post is a list of everyone you need to contact when someone dies.
I was a little bit lost when my Dad died as far as getting organised and for a good week or so, aside from registering the death and getting the death certificate, I kind of put my head in the sand and didn’t do any other paperwork. A top tip for registering the death is to get extra death certificates to save yourself time and money along the way – I bought six and needed them all but you might get away with less or even have to buy more.
Another thing to bear in mind for this period right after someone passes away is that it’s not a good idea to make any financial decisions as you’re generally not going to be in the right space mentally to do this.
About ten days after he died, Jen came round for a cup of tea and ended up staying all afternoon to organise me (which was very much needed at this point) and by the time she left that day, thankfully the whole thing didn’t seem quite as daunting as it had before she left. I had an action plan and some great advice so that very evening I got started!
The first thing I did was go and buy one of those concertina files so I could keep organised and could instantly find what I needed. I also bought a little plastic document wallet so whenever I had to go to an appointment (the bank for example) I could just pop in what I needed rather than dragging everything there with me and I knew the paperwork wouldn’t get lost or damaged.
I used the ‘Tell Us Once’ government service to notify the following people all in one go, saving so much time, effort and distress:
- local services such as libraries, electoral services and council tax services
- the tax office
- the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) (they’ll need the licence back)
- the UK Passport Agency (they’ll need the passport back)
- HMRC for tax purposes
The Tell it Once service is great if your local authority offers it because they give you a reference number when you register the death and just either call up and provide or pop online and enter the details there. Unfortunately, if your local authority doesn’t offer the Tell Us Once service then you’ll need to contact each of these departments yourself which I can imagine would be quite time-consuming.
The next thing I did was to write a quick letter that I printed out multiple times and I photocopied the death certificate so if someone didn’t need an original, they’d get a copy.
My letter had my details on it as I’m the executor, my Dad’s address in the care home and his address where he’d lived previously and just stated the following:
It is with great sadness that I need to notify you that my father, (his name), passed away on the 24th March 2018.
I am the sole executor of his will so I would be very grateful if you could update your records accordingly and let me know if there is anything else you need from me going forward.
Please find enclosed a copy of the death certificate.
His affairs weren’t complicated so there was no need for anything else to be included in most of the letters.
As my Dad had moved into a care home last year, I didn’t have too many people to notify when we did it but under normal circumstances, I would imagine you’d have to contact lots more people than we did. I’ve included just about everyone I can think of on the list below…
- personal pension scheme provider if applicable
- insurance company – home ins, car ins, life insurance even travel insurance.
- bank and building society
- mortgage provider, housing association or council housing office
- social services
- utility companies – energy, water, tv, broadband, mobile phone, netflix, sky
- local GP
- holiday company if there’s an upcoming trip planned
- social media platforms
You’ll also need to get hold of their bank statement and cancel any regular payments for things like charitable donations, the gym, subscriptions etc.
By this point, I’d obviously been in touch with the funeral directors to organise the funeral and I think it was around now that I had to decide what to do with my Dad’s ashes. I was really keen on the idea of getting them turned into jewellery as a few people said I would find that comforting so I did some research on how to save money on memorial diamonds and realised that I could get a lovely piece of jewellery made but at the last minute, I changed my mind and asked for his ashes to be scattered in the local garden of remembrance.
And finally, you might find it easier for yourself to also contact the Bereavement Register and get their details removed from mailing lists and stops most advertising mail.
I wrote a checklist of every company I wrote to and ticked them off when I got the replies back and when I did hear back from them, I filed the response in my little folder which is now in the loft for safe keeping.
Letting everyone know is so hard when someone dies but I found that by treating it like any other admin task and being super organised (thanks Jen) that it was a whole lot easier.
If you are dealing with the death of a loved one then you might find these posts helpful too:
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