What do I do when somebody dies?

What do I do when somebody dies?

funeral plan

Applying for Probate can be both daunting and a time consuming process.

In Detail

What do I do when someone dies?

The loss of a friend or loved one can be a very stressful time, with many people needing to be notified in the first few days. In addition to the immediate tasks you need to attend to, such as arranging the Funeral, there is a lot of paperwork to be dealt with and official documents which need to be completed over the next few weeks.

Let us help

One of the duties you may have to  undertake is applying for Probate. This can often be a complex and extremely time consuming  process and needs attending to at a time when you may not feel able to perform this task.

Our legal partners are experts in dealing with all aspects of Probate. Our Directors and Principals are STEP qualified.

Our specialist Probate Team have a sympathetic and patient approach when dealing with bereaved relatives and will happily arrange an initial meeting, free of charge, in the comfort of your own home.

As part of our Probate Service, our team can also offer you independent advice on the Will itself and may, under certain circumstances, recommend that a Deed of Variation be set up in order to vary the Will. This process would effectively ensure that the Beneficiaries of the Will receive as much of their inheritance as possible, protecting it from attack by Care, further Inheritance Tax, Divorce, Creditors and Bankruptcy.

In Detail

Who do I notify first?

In the first five days it is important that you do
the following:

  • Notify the Deceased’s family Doctor.
  • Contact a Funeral Director to commence Funeral arrangements (you will need to check any Will for special requests or Pre­paid Funeral arrangements which may have already been made).
  • Register the death at The Registry Office.
  • Advise any departments who may have been making payments to the Deceased, such as Tax Credits, Benefits, Pensions etc.
  • You will also need to contact relatives and people close to the Deceased.

As soon as possible you should:

  • Contact the Executors of any Will to enable them to start the process of obtaining Probate.
  • Decide who will apply to sort out the Deceased’s affairs and apply for Letters of Administration, If there is no Will.

Who can deal with the Deceased person's estate?

Usually a close relative like a spouse, child or
parent will have the legal right to sort out the
estate of the person who has died. In order to
be able to administer someone’s estate, you
normally need to apply to the Probate Registry
for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’.

If the person who has died leaves a Will

In this case one or more ‘Executors’ may be
named in the Will to deal with the person’s
affairs after their death. The Executor applies
for a ‘Grant of Probate’ from a section of the
Court known as the Probate Registry. The Grant
is a legal document which confirms that the
Executor has the authority to deal with the
Deceased person’s assets (property, money and
possessions). They can use it to show they have
the right to access funds, sort out finances, and
collect and share out the Deceased person’s
assets as set out in the Will.

What if the person who has died hasn't left a Will (Intestacy)

If there is no Will, a close relative of the
Deceased can apply to the Probate Registry to
deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a
‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. If the Grant
is given, they are known as ‘Administrators’ of
the estate. Like the Grant of Probate, the Grant
of Letters of Administration is a legal document
which confirms the Administrator’s authority to
deal with the Deceased person’s assets. When
someone dies without leaving a Will, dealing
with their estate can be complicated. It can also
take a long time – months, or even years in
some very complex cases.

When a Grant is needed

A Grant is almost always needed when the
person who dies leaves one or more of the

  • £5,000.
  • Stocks or Shares.
  • Certain Insurance Policies.
  • Property or land held in their own name or as ‘Tenants in Common’.

In most cases above, the bank or relevant
institution will need to see the Grant before
transferring control of the assets. However if the
estate is small, some organisations may release
the money to you at their discretion. To establish
whether the assets can be obtained without a
Grant, the Executor or Administrator would need
to write to each institution informing them of
the death and enclosing a photocopy of the
Death Certificate (and Will if there is one). The
personal representative won’t be granted
Probate until some or all of any Inheritance Tax
that is due on the estate has been paid.

Applies to England and Wales. If the person who
died lived in Scotland you must apply for a
‘Grant of Confirmation’.