What to do after someone dies

If you are a close relative of a person who has died, there are some things that you must do shortly afterwards: 

  • Get a medical certificate from a GP or hospital doctor.  You’ll need this to register the death
  • Register the death within 5 days at the register office.  You can then use the Tell us Once service to report the death to most government organisations in one go. The registrar will advise you how to use Tell us Once.  If the death has been reported to a coroner, you can’t register the death until you have the coroner’s permission.
  • Arrange the funeral, either through a funeral director or by making your own arrangements 

You don’t need to deal with the will, money and property straight away, you can find out more about dealing with a will on the Gov UK website. 

Dealing with tax and benefits 

If you’ve used the Tell us Once scheme after registering a death, you don’t have to contact any government departments about tax, benefits and entitlements. 

If you have not used Tell us Once, you will need to contact: 

  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • National Insurance Contributions Office
  • Child Benefit Office (if applicable)
  • Tax Credit Office (if applicable)
  • Department for Work and Pensions 

Arranging a funeral 

Please read our information about arranging a funeral.  You can either appoint a funeral director to make the arrangements on your behalf, or you can arrange the funeral yourself. 

Death abroad 

If the death was abroad, you must register it with the local authorities in the country where the person died.  In many countries you can also register a death with the UK authorities.  You can’t use the Tell us Once service for deaths abroad.  If the person died from unnatural causes you will also need to notify a coroner in England.  Ask for advice from the British consulate, high embassy or high commission in the country where the person died. 

To bring the body of the person who has died home, you must get: 

  • a certified English translation of the death certificate
  • permission to remove the body from the coroner in the country where the person died 

When you have returned the body home, you’ll need to take the death certificate to the register office.  The registrar will give you a certificate so that the funeral can go ahead.