What you should do when someone dies?

The first thing you need to do after someone dies is get a medical certificate detailing the cause of death. If the person died in a hospital, this should have been given to you by a member of staff. If they died at home, you’ll need to call their GP to get a medical certificate.

The next step is to register the death (see How & when should I register a death?) and get a death certificate. This usually needs to be done within five working days and only takes around 30 minutes, but it can be delayed if there’s an inquest into the death.

By using the government’s Tell Us Once service, you can notify multiple government departments of your loved one’s death, including the Passport Office, HMRC and the DVLA. Please feel free to talk to us for more information, as we may be able to help you find the right service.

Before you can deal with the person’s estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries, you may need to apply for probate. If you think you might need probate, need help applying or want to speak to a specialist about your situation, we recommend that you contact your solicitor.

What do you do when your loved one is abroad?

It can be a challenging and emotional time when someone passes away, but it may seem even more distressing if they die abroad.

If you’re travelling or holidaying abroad with your loved one and they pass away, the first steps you need to take are:

  • Contact the nearest British embassy (or High Commission/Consulate)
  • If you’re on an organised tour, let the organisers know what’s happened
  • If you’re staying in a resort, let a representative know

Most holiday resorts and organisations have welfare representatives who can help you during this emotional time.

We hope that this printable list will prepare you for the questions you will be asked when you speak to us. This list is intended as a guide only, and you can contact us at any stage for further advice and assistance.

Download Guide

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