The death of a loved one is traumatic, but it can be made even more difficult by the many jobs which need doing immediately after someone passes away. When a person dies there is a lot of official paperwork which needs taken care of, and you need to start planning the funeral as soon as possible. Of course, you’ll also need to complete the tough task of informing family and friends of the sad news.
Immediately after a death there are certain things the next of kin must do. The bereavement can be hard to process, even if it was expected such as with a terminal illness. It is helpful to have people around to support you though your grief while you perform the necessary duties.
Here is a useful checklist to use after someone has died, but remember every circumstance is different and you may have additional jobs to do.
Tell immediate family and friends
Even though you may not have come to terms with the death yourself, it is only fair to inform others as soon as possible. You may wish to break the news to some people face to face, or sometimes it’s best to telephone those on a need to know basis. To share the burden, you may wish to give the responsibility of spreading the news to others, so you don’t have to have the difficult conversation multiple times.
Register the death
You must register a death within five days, with a medical certificate from a GP or hospital. Not only is this the law, but you won’t be able to plan the funeral without the documents from the death registration.
Start arranging the funeral
Choose a funeral director and start putting the plans into place for the type of service the late relative would have wanted. You might find their own funeral wishes in the Will or a pre-paid funeral plan if this was in place before they died. If the individual died without any wishes, it is up to the next of kin to make decisions about the funeral.
Deal with the Will
You don’t need to deal with the Will or any money or property straight away, unless you need to access the money to pay for the funeral. The person named on the Will as the executor has the job of collecting the estate and distributing it as per the wishes of the Will. They also have legal obligations to pay any debts of the deceased and selling any property in the estate.
If you need professional bereavement support, including financial aid, contact the DWP Bereavement Service.