What to do when someone dies

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If someone close to you has died

The death of a relative, loved one or close friend can be an incredibly emotional experience. And for most of us, the legal and administrative duties that follow can be scary and confusing. It’s likely that the person who dies will have left a will that explains their wishes, which can make the process easier, but there’s still a lot of work to be done – from organising a funeral to cancelling utilities.

Follow the right process

Dealing with death is, sadly, part of life. Hospitals, lawyers, and undertakers are used to guiding people through the process. And most large organisations – such as banks, mobile phone providers and insurance companies – will have departments that deal with bereaved people too. The first thing is to register the death with the local authority. This needs to happen within five days to avoid any problems. Then it’s a good idea to start planning the funeral and dealing with the estate.

How we can help

Our legal experts have years of experience in helping people in the immediate days and weeks of a bereavement. They can help you take stock in this most difficult of situations. They’ll guide you, step by step, through the different processes you need to follow – from planning the funeral to dealing with the deceased’s property. They can also help you with unexpected problems, such as tracing a lost will.

We’ll

  • listen to your situation
  • speak to you with kindness and compassion
  • explain the different processes you’ll need to follow
  • guide you through them step by step

All advice contained within this section relates to England and Wales only.

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Meet your experts
Ben Rosser Sq Ben Rossor Ben joined Which? in 2015, prior to this having worked in private practice. He now enjoys using his knowledge to aid members with their issues and queries on wills, probate and estate management.
ID Photo Sarah Henley Sarah specialises in supporting our members on Wills, the probate process, Powers of Attorney and estate administration. See profile
Paul Hanford Sq Paul Handford With over 20 years of varied legal experience, Paul now specialises in private client work, which includes drawing up wills and deeds of trust. See profile
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