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What to do When
Someone Dies | 2023

What to do When
Someone Dies | 2023

What to do When
Someone Dies | 2023

FIRST THINGS
FIRST

AT A GLANCE

MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

REGISTER THE DEATH

GET A
MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

WHEN

Immediately

WHERE

The Hospital or Care Home where the person died. If the person died elsewhere, you will need to obtain a medical certificate from their GP.

The Medical Certificate will given to you in a sealed envelope, addressed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

If the death is referred to a coroner, a medical certificate won’t be issued until the coroner has completed their investigations.

REGISTER THE
DEATH

WHEN

WITHIN 5 DAYS

WHERE

The Register Office. You can find your nearest Register Office here.

WHO

These rules only apply if someone died in a hospital or care home in England or Wales, and the death was expected. If this situation doesn’t apply, please get in touch with our solicitors and they’ll be able to help you to navigate the next steps.

The death should be registered by a relative of the deceased. If a relative cannot register the death, someone else can register it if:

  • They were there at the time of the death
  • They are in charge of making the funeral arrangements
  • They are an administrator at the hospital that the deceased died at, if applicable

HOW

The Register Office will explain what needs to happen when you make contact with them. To help you to prepare, they may ask you for the deceased’s:

  • Birth Certificate, Passport, and Driving License (if they had one)
  • Council Tax bill
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Proof of Address (such as a utility bill)

If you don’t have any of these, let the Register Office know when you call them and they’ll be able to give you information about what you need to do next.

You will also need to tell the Register Office:

  • Their full name at the time of death, as well as any previously used names such as their maiden name
  • Their last known address
  • Their occupation, including if they were retired
  • Their date and place of birth
  • If applicable, their spouse’s full name, date of birth, and occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  • If they were receiving a state pension or any benefits

DOCUMENTS

Once registered, you’ll receive a set of documents that you’ll need for the next stages.

  • Certificate for burial or cremation, also known as The Green Form. This form grants you permission for a burial or to apply for a cremation
  • You’ll also be able to buy death certificates. You will need these to sort out the next stages of Probate.

At the time of writing, Death Certificates cost £11 per certificate, but this price increases if you need to order more at a later date, so we recommend buying multiple copies of the certificate now to have ready.

You can buy Death Certificates at the Register Office at the time of registering the death, or you can order them online here.

THE
FUNERAL

AT A GLANCE

ARRANGE THE FUNERAL

FUNERAL COSTS

ARRANGE THE
FUNERAL

If you are arranging a funeral, it can only take place after the death has been registered. You can arrange the funeral yourself, or you can use a Funeral Director to help.

 

Arranging The Funeral Yourself

You will need to contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Departments of your local council to arrange the funeral yourself.

 

Using a Funeral Director

If you choose to use a Funeral Director to help plan the funeral, make sure that you use a Funeral Director who’s a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors, or The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) as they have a strict code of practice.

 

Local Council Considerations

Some local councils will run their own funeral services such as in the instance of a non-religious burial. You can find out how this applies to your local council here.

 

FUNERAL
COSTS

At the time of writing, the average cost of a funeral is £3,837, however this can vary significantly depending on the deceased’s wishes and the funeral plans. There are a few different types of funeral or celebration of life and they come with different associated costs. For a rough guide:

 

DIRECT CREMATION | £1,554 on average

A direct cremation includes the crematorium transporting the deceased, a simple coffin, and returning the ashes.

 

FUNERAL DIRECTOR CREMATION | £3,290 on average

Includes the crematorium arranging transportation for the deceased, a simple coffin, hearse, simple service, cremation fees, and cremation certificate. It doesn’t include an elaborate ceremony and specific requests or wishes may incur additional fees.

 

FUNERAL DIRECTOR BURIAL | £4,383 on average

Transportation and care of the deceased, a basic coffin, hearse, simple service, cremation fees, and minister fees. It doesn’t include an elaborate ceremony and specific requests or wishes may incur additional fees.

Money Helper offers a comprehensive and thorough guide to funeral fees and how to keep costs down for a funeral.

VALUE THE
ESTATE

AT A GLANCE

ASSETS & DEBTS

VALUATION

IDENTIFY ASSETS
AND DEBTS

In order to find out if there’s any IHT (Inheritance Tax) that needs to be paid, you’ll need to work out the value of the estate. The estate needs to be valued before you can apply for Probate (if you need to).

ASSETS

Assets are anything that the deceased owned. This could include:

  • A property, even if it has a mortgage on it
  • A car, even if they own it via a finance agreement
  • Bank accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Pensions
  • Investments

 

DEBTS

Debts cover any money that the deceased owed. This could include:

  • Credit cards
  • Outstanding mortgage amount
  • Loans
  • Outstanding car finance balance

 

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION

  • You will need to know the value of any gifts that the deceased made in the 7 years before their death including cash or items
  • The value of any trusts, if the deceased had a beneficial interest

VALUATION

At this point, you only need to make an estimation of the value of the estate to establish whether or not IHT will need to be paid. You can work out roughly the value of the estate by subtracting the total of debts, from the total of assets. The Gov.uk Inheritance Tax checker is a really helpful tool to work out whether or not IHT may be due on the estate.

The current threshold for no tax being due on an estate as set out by HMRC is £325,000. The estate could be eligible for a further £175,000 tax free allowance if the deceased owned a property and is leaving it to their children or grandchildren. This is to the Nil Rate Tax Band. 

Valuing an estate can take several months, but it can take longer if the deceased had a more complex estate, such as owning a business or property abroad.

Valuing the estate and paying IHT on time can feel overwhelming, so if you need a helping hand, our solicitors are here to help. You can get in touch here.

APPLY FOR
PROBATE

AT A GLANCE

WHAT IS PROBATE

IS PROBATE NEEDED?

WHO CAN APPLY?

APPLYING FOR PROBATE

WHAT IS
PROBATE

A Grant of Probate is a document that gives someone the legal right to deal with the deceased’s estate (belongings) after they die. If probate is needed, you should not put a property on the market, or sell any of the deceased’s belonging until probate has been granted.

IS PROBATE
NEEDED?

You may not need probate if :

  • The deceased did not own any property, and only had cash savings
  • The deceased only owned shares or money with another person such as joint accounts – these will automatically pass to the surviving owners unless the owners have agreed otherwise
  • The deceased owned property on a Joint Tenancy basis – the property will automatically pass to the surviving owner

 

You may need probate if:

  • The deceased owned significant assets in their sole name such as investments
  • A company or institution has asked for a Grant of Probate in order to be able to get access to the deceased’s bank accounts in order to carry out their Will
  • The deceased has over £15,000 in cash in a sole bank account – not a joint account (this will vary from bank to bank)
  • The deceased owned a property in their sole name

 

If the estate of the deceased is small (no property and savings of less than £5,000) it is not likely that probate will be needed. Legally, some assets and small amounts of money can be dealt with without probate. It’s important to note that some companies and financial bodies set their own regulations for probate so it’s worth getting in touch with them first to check whether probate is needed.

If you’re unsure, always check with a solicitor first. You can book a free 30 minute consultation with one of our expert solicitors to work out whether you might need probate here.

 

WHO CAN APPLY
FOR PROBATE?

Only specific people can apply for Probate.

If there is a valid Will in place, only the executors named in the Will can apply.

If there is no valid Will in place, the closest living relative can apply.

APPLYING FOR
PROBATE

Depending on the complexity of the estate, the process of valuing the estate and applying for probate can take 1-7 months. It’s up to you whether you would like a helping hand in submitting your application for Probate.

 

YOUR PROBATE
YOUR WAY

Dealing with death is a deeply personal experience, so we believe you should have a say in how you deal with it. Whether you just need a helping hand applying for probate, or if you need someone to help you deal with it all every step of the way, we can help you in whatever way you choose.

envelope icon

GRANT OF
PROBATE

Perfect for straightforward probate and those who just need a helping hand in obtaining the grant of probate.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Meet with your lawyer to discuss your needs
  • We submit your Grant Application to the Probate Registry
  • Receive sealed copies of the Grant and legal advice & support along the way

FROM

£1500

+VAT and disbursements

open safe icon

FULL ESTATE
ADMINISTRATION

Ideal for those who need additional help and support through obtaining the grant of probate.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Everything in our "Grant of Probate" package plus two hours of legal advice relating to
  • Deeds of Variation or;
  • Deeds of Appointment or;
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT)

FROM

£2000

+VAT and disbursements

teacup icon

TAILORED
PROBATE

Perfect for more complex estates that require a bit more heavy lifting and legal support.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Everything in our "Full Estate Administration" package plus…
  • Getting a valuation of the estate
  • Completing all tax forms for you
  • Finding any missing beneficiaries of the Will

FROM

£3000

+VAT and disbursements

GRANT OF PROBATE

GRANT OF PROBATE

Perfect for straightforward probate and those who just need a helping hand in obtaining the grant of probate.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Meet with your lawyer to discuss your needs
  • We submit your Grant Application to the Probate Registry
  • Receive sealed copies of the Grant and legal advice & support along the way

FROM

£1500

+VAT and disbursements

FULL ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

FULL ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Ideal for those who need additional help and support through obtaining the grant of probate.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Everything in our "Grant of Probate" package plus two hours of legal advice relating to
  • Deeds of Variation or;
  • Deeds of Appointment or;
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT)

FROM

£2000

+VAT and disbursements

TAILORED PROBATE

TAILORED PROBATE

Perfect for more complex estates that require a bit more heavy lifting and legal support.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Everything in our "Full Estate Administration" package plus…
  • Getting a valuation of the estate
  • Completing all tax forms for you
  • Finding any missing beneficiaries of the Will

FROM

£3000

+VAT and disbursements

warning triangle icon

WARNING

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in unregulated Will writing companies coming into the industry. “Unregulated” means that they are not regulated by an authority such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Because of this, unregulated Will writers are not held to the same strict regulations that solicitors are, so you may end up with a more complex or convoluted Will than you need as they are a more expensive product to sell to clients. You may receive advice about your Will from someone with ‘legal expertise’ – this is not a protected term and is not the same as receiving advice from a qualified lawyer or legal professional.

envelope icon

GRANT OF
PROBATE

Perfect for straightforward probate and those who just need a helping hand in obtaining the grant of probate.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Meet with your lawyer to discuss your needs
  • We submit your Grant Application to the Probate Registry
  • Receive sealed copies of the Grant and legal advice & support along the way

FROM

£1500

+VAT and disbursements

open safe icon

FULL ESTATE
ADMINISTRATION

Ideal for those who need additional help and support through obtaining the grant of probate.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Everything in our "Grant of Probate" package plus two hours of legal advice relating to
  • Deeds of Variation or;
  • Deeds of Appointment or;
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT)

FROM

£2000

+VAT and disbursements

teacup icon

TAILORED
PROBATE

Perfect for more complex estates that require a bit more heavy lifting and legal support.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Everything in our "Full Estate Administration" package plus…
  • Getting a valuation of the estate
  • Completing all tax forms for you
  • Finding any missing beneficiaries of the Will

FROM

£3000

+VAT and disbursements

warning triangle icon

WARNING

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in unregulated Will writing companies coming into the industry. “Unregulated” means that they are not regulated by an authority such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Because of this, unregulated Will writers are not held to the same strict regulations that solicitors are, so you may end up with a more complex or convoluted Will than you need as they are a more expensive product to sell to clients. You may receive advice about your Will from someone with ‘legal expertise’ – this is not a protected term and is not the same as receiving advice from a qualified lawyer or legal professional.

SORT THE
ESTATE

AT A GLANCE

SORT THE ESTATE

SORT THE
ESTATE

During the process of administering the estate, you may need to:

  • Pay any outstanding debts left by the person who died such as paying off credit cards or car loans
  • Sell any assets such as properties or shares as outlined in the Will
  • Pay any due tax on any income that the estate generates
  • Report the value of the estate and tax liability to HMRC

Depending on the complexity of the estate, the process of sorting the estate can be overwhelming, but it can also cause arguments within a family and friends. We recommend using a solicitor to help you to navigate probate and, if necessary, executing the Will.

LOOK AFTER
YOURSELF

AT A GLANCE

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

MENTAL HEALTH
SUPPORT

The legal side of dealing with death, is just on aspect of it. Whilst we’re here to help and support you in getting through the legal side, it’s important that you make sure you’re looking after yourself. If you can, it’s important to lean on anyone who is able to support you including family, friends, and loved ones.

If you’re not sure who you can turn to, or where to start looking, here are some charities that are available to help.

THE GOOD GRIEF TRUST

The Good Grief Trust is a charity run by the bereaved and is here to help all of those suffering grief in the UK. They can help you to find reassurance, advice, and support.

MARIE CURIE

Marie Curie’s Bereavement Service is for people who might want to have ongoing support from the same bereavement volunteer over the phone. The service offers up to 6 sessions of 45 minutes. You’ll be matched with a specially trained volunteer.

CHILD BEREAVEMENT UK

Child Bereavement UK helps children, young people, parents, and families, when a child is grieving or when a child died.

GET IN
TOUCH

AT A GLANCE

Get in Touch

Get In
Touch