Who should you inform when someone dies?
When a person dies, it is important to inform certain organisations as soon as possible so that they can make the necessary arrangements needed. The sooner you let them know the less likely it is you will encounter complications or in some cases extra fees.
Organisations you should inform as soon as possible are:
- Employer – To allow their employer to make any necessary arrangements and arrange final payments etc.
- Pension provider – Informing them means they can stop any further payments to the deceased, this simplifies the process of assessing any over or under payments.
- Banks and building societies – Once informed any accounts held in the deceased sole name will be frozen, which will prevent any payments being taken out or going in. This is important to protect against theft and fraud.
- Insurance companies – Especially when there is a property. Properties are more vulnerable to vandalism and theft when left empty, it is important to make sure that the insurance policy still covers the property now that it is empty.
- Utility companies – so that they are aware that the property will still need their services but is now empty and make alternative payment arrangements.
- Mortgage provider, landlord or council housing office – so that they are aware of a change to any payments that were due from the deceased and arrangement an alternative arrangement.
- GP or carer (anyone providing medical care) – So they can organise any services that they were providing to the deceased to be stopped.
- social services
- any company or organisation the deceased person made regular payments to – This could be a phone company, internet provider, magazine subscriptions etc, so they can cease any direct debits or standing orders they were taking from the deceased bank accounts and arrange for a final bill of any outstanding payments.
- the Bereavement Register – this will remove their details from mailing lists and stop most advertising mail
As well as contacting these organisations you will need to arrange the return of the deceased’s driver’s licence to the DVLA and their passport to HM Passport Office.
Some of these things can be done by a solicitor if you are using one for the probate, for example pensions, insurance, bank and building societies, utility companies. However, you should not delay in contacting these institutions, a telephone call to inform them of the death in some cases will be enough, the arrangement of payment for services provided can be handled by your chosen solicitor.
Tell us once service
The Tell Us Once Service enables you to report a death to most government organisations in one go. If the Service is available in your area you will be informed when you register the death, you will also be provided with the phone number and a reference number to use the service online or by phone.
Organisations covered by the tell us once service are,
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – to deal with personal tax (you need to contact HMRC separately for business taxes, like VAT)
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – to cancel benefits, for example Income Support
- Passport Office – to cancel a British passport
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – to cancel a driving licence and to remove the person as the keeper for up to 5 vehicles
- the local council – to cancel Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, a Blue Badge, inform council housing services and remove the person from the electoral register
- public sector or armed forces pension schemes – to stop pension payments
If the tell us once service is not available in your area or you choose not to use it you will have to contact the relevant institutions yourself to inform them of the death.
What information you will need in order to use the Tell Us Once Service
You will need the following information of the deceased:
- Their unique reference number provided when you registered the death
- Their name and date of birth
- Their National Insurance number
- Their passport number
- Their driving licence number and vehicle registration number
Additional information you will need to provide if available:
- The permission from the next of kin, surviving spouse or civil partner, the executor or administrator or anyone who was claiming joint benefits or entitlements with the person who died to provide their details to the service
- The contact details of their next of kin or their name and address
- The contact details of a surviving spouse or civil partner if there is one or their name and address
- The contact details of the person dealing with their estate, this is also known as the Executor in the will or when there is no will the administrator, or their name and address.
- The details of any benefits or entitlements they were getting, for example a state pension
- The details of any local services they were getting
- The details of any public sector or armed forces pension they were getting or paying into