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A Brief Guide Regarding a Death in the Family

A Brief Guide Regarding a Death in the Family

The focus of this article will be in areas that affect finances with brief mention of other areas of possible concern.

When a family member dies the first thing to do is inform their GP if they are at home or the doctor if it takes place in a hospital. A death certificate will be issued quickly unless the death was unexpected.

From an emotional point of view it is important to appreciate that having friends or other family members assist with the details will enable you to mourn your loss more completely.

If a post-mortem is not needed then the body can be kept at home or at the undertaker’s mortuary until the funeral. Your local community nurse should be able to assist with the preparation of the body should you decide to keep the body at home.

Secure the property of the deceased and cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries. Check their bank statements for any regular payments and cancel those that are appropriate such as car insurance, SKY payments, etc. Check for any pets.

Let your employer know as soon as possible who should give you a reasonable time off for you to organise and attend the funeral if the death was of a dependant. Inform their employer and family doctor if he or she isn’t already aware.

Register the death within 5 days at the register office for the area in which the death occurred. Phone first to make an appointment and to request what documents and information will be required and who is able to do this.

Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions will need proof that the deceased is deceased so it is important to have several copies of the death certificate. These will generally be about £5 – £10 for each additional copy when registering the death but will almost double in cost if you request additional copies at a later date.

It may be that you are entitled to financial assistance from the Government bereavement fund. Check the Death and Benefits section at Gov.uk website for your entitlement.

It is possible that the deceased had a funeral plan in place. Check the bank statements and other financial documents and notify the provider.

Under most circumstances the funeral should take place within 2 weeks so it is important to check their will to determine if the deceased had any stated preferences.

A funeral director is the route that most take and for the inexperienced their advice can be valuable. However, it is important that you get as many quotes as possible before deciding who to use and they will tempt you with additional extras that can easily push the cost up to £5,000 if you are not careful. Let them know that you are shopping around and it is possible to reduce the cost to a more manageable £1,000 or even less. Have a family member or friend with impressive negotiation skills undertake this task (forgive the pun).