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Planning Retirement Online

Bereavement in later life


Having to face a bereavement is a daunting task, with arrangements and decisions that have to be made at a very distressing time. Where do you start? People are often not prepared for bereavement and won't know what needs to be done.

The Gov.UK site provides all the information you will need to register a death and make the necessary arrangements, guiding you through the process as smoothly as possible. You will find a simple checklist, which provides a guide to the whole process, from the information needed about the person who died, to organisations who can help or need to be informed.

After a death, you are not on your own. Some of the arrangements can be done by a close relative or friend, whilst others need to be done by the executor or administrator of the estate, who will carry out the terms of a will, so you need not take on the burden alone.

As well as helpful information and advice available on Gov.UK, you can also find counselling and support services, or organisations like Cruse Bereavement Care. Gov.UK also higlights certain benefits you might be entitled to, or one off payments after the death of someone close.

The Money Advice Service also has a lot of information on what to do when someone dies, the benefits that can be claimed and what to do about their pension or debts and many more helpful articles.

Gov.UK can also help you get in contact with your local authority who may also provide support and advice about the arrangements that need to be made after a bereavement.

Click on the links below to find relevant information for where you live:

If you live in England or Wales

If you live in Scotland

If you live in Northern Ireland


An outline of the process of what to do when someone dies is below:

What to do when someone dies

Registering a death

In England and Wales, you normally need to register a death within five days, and this is best done at the registry office in the area in which the person died, and may require an appointment.

Most deaths are registered by a relative -  unless none are available - who needs to supply certain information: the medical certificate showing the cause of death, and if available, birth certificate, marriage/civil partnership certificates, and NHS medical card. The registrar will also need to know some personal information such as name, occupation and benefits information.

You will then receive a Certificate for Burial or Cremation and a Certificate of Registration of Death, issued for social security purposes and needed by the executor or administrator when sorting out the person's affairs. The registrar will also give you a booklet with helpful advice.

For further information: Gov.UK

The first five days

As well as gathering the information about the deceased, and registering the death, there are some other actions that need to be taken in the first five days, such as notifying the family doctor, finding the will, and advising any relevant benefits offices.

If there is a will, contact the executor - if this isn't you - to enable them to start the process of obtaining probate, and if there is no will, a decision needs to be made about who will apply to sort out the deceased's affairs, and contact the Probate Registry to apply for 'letters of administration'.

Who to contact

As well as informing friends, relatives and in some cases, employers or schools, there will also be accounts to close and subscriptions, payments or direct debits to cancel. Relevant government organisations will also need to be informed, such as the Tax Office, local authority and DVLA, utilities and household contacts, and clubs and associations the person belonged to.  

For more information visit the HM Courts Service (HMCS) probate service


Relationship Coaching

Are you experiencing a major life transition such as bereavement or know someone who is? Could relationship coaching be of assistance? Find out more.



funeralcare-eulogy.jpg (6217 bytes)For information about funerals visit our Funeralcare section

Also visit our section on 'Green and ecologically friendly burials'


If you'd like to know more about one of the books below then click on the book cover image to go straight to Amazon


Companion to Grief     





Hintongate.jpg (12059 bytes)A recent survey found that 80% of people questioned wanted funerals that celebrate life rather than mark death.

Read our article about woodland burials featuring Hinton Park Woodland Burials .

Also visit Crossways Woodland Burials and Herongate Woodfor more information.

Plus read about eco-coffins.

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