Following a death, many things will require attention and although we cannot possibly mention them all, perhaps this list will go some way to help and guide you.
- Accounts with banks, building societies, post office, premium bonds, co-operative society.
- Change of name or responsibility for electricity, gas, telephone, car, car insurance, house insurance, TV licence.
- Notification of death to employer, tax office, passport office, professional associations, local clubs and organisations, driving licence - DVLA (Swansea), family doctor, child's teacher (if a parent, brother or sister has died), DWP - for return of any appliances or cancellation of services, Hospital for cancellation of any appointments.
- The financial circumstances of the remaining family have now altered and various grants and allowances may be available from the state, e.g. help towards funeral expenses, rent/rate rebates, widow's pensions, etc. Please ask your Funeral Director for up to date literature on 'What to do after a death in England or Wales' or alternatively the DWP office will be pleased to help you.
Consult a solicitor
In most circumstances it is advisable for you to consult a solicitor both to relieve you of many worries and to take control of wills,
problems of intestacy (where a death occurs without a will), outstanding debts, grants and letters of administration. This might be unfamiliar ground for you and could prove to be particularly burdensome at this time. A solicitor could save you a great deal of unnecessary trouble and eventually save you money.
If it is known that a will was made it is important that the contents be ascertained as soon as possible after death as it may contain
certain instructions regarding the funeral arrangements. A will may be among personal papers, with the bank or solicitor for safe custody. If a firm of solicitors has been consulted by the deceased in the recent past, it is important that you get in touch with them without delay.
Insurance Cover on a vehicle owned by the deceased ceases immediately at the time of death. The next of kin, or executor, should inform the insurance company concerned who will offer immediate transfer of cover; the vehicle registration documents should be returned in due course to the licensing authority for transfer of ownership to the beneficiary. The driving licence of the deceased should be returned to the licensing authority.
Probate and letters of administration
Before the estate of a deceased person, i.e. everything they owned, can be realised and distributed among the persons entitled to share it, probate or letters of administration are usually required.
Probate - where the deceased has left a will, and the will is proved to be the lawful act of the deceased person then the District Probate Registry (of the High Court) grants probate to the executors named in the will enabling them to administer the estate.
Letters of administration - where there is no will, the person is said to be 'intestate' and here application must be made to a special
division of the High Court, usually by the next of kin. This can be dealt with either through a solicitor or directly by the local probate
office. The court, when satisfied as to the claim of the applicant, issues a document known as Letters of Administration, appointing the
claimant to administer the 'intestate' estate.