What to do When a Loved One Passes
Losing a loved one is extremely difficult. As well as handling intense personal grief, there are also numerous tasks that need to be completed when someone dies. From funeral arrangements to estate management of the deceased, there’s a lot of admin to see to, and it can feel overwhelming. So where should you start? Here’s a useful guide to help you out.
Register the Death
It’s never easy to register a death. After all, it makes things seem so painfully real. But in England and Wales, it’s really important to register a death within five days of a loved one passing. Any death that happens in Scotland must be registered within eight days. The hospital, hospice or GP can offer more information about how to do this or you can head to the government website for step-by-step instructions. You’ll be asked a few simple questions such as where the person died and whether or not the death was expected.
Typically, a relative should register the death at a registry office. If a relative cannot register the death, you can do it if you:
- Were there at the time of death
- Are the person who found the body
- Are the person in charge of the body
- Are in charge of making funeral arrangements
Organise a Funeral
Once the death has been registered, you can then start arranging a funeral. If you’re organising everything yourself, contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council for help, information and potential dates. As funerals can be expensive, you might also be entitled to a Funeral Expenses Payment if you get certain benefits. This will cover some of the costs for the following:
- Burial fees for a particular plot
- Cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
- Travel to arrange or go to the funeral
- The cost of moving the body within the UK, if it’s being moved more than 50 miles
- Death certificates or other documents
Handle the Deceased’s Estate
When someone dies, there are very strict rules as to who can handle the deceased’s estate. Unless your loved one had a very small estate, or owned everything jointly with someone else, you’ll need a Grant of Probate. If the deceased left a Will naming an executor, a Grant of Probate should be issued without delay. If there’s no Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration will be issued. This is an official court document that proves you have the authority to deal with someone’s estate. Once issued, you’ll be able to act as the administrator of the estate, allowing you to close bank accounts, sell property and distribute assets to beneficiaries. A Kent accountant for probate services can help you with all aspects of this process.
Knowing where to begin when a loved one passes away is never easy. But with Kent tax advisors, estate management experts, and registry offices available to help, it’s worth reaching out should you need any kind of support.