A systematic approach to notifying organisations and companies after a death is always advisable. We recommend that you start by drawing up a priority list of organisations to notify after a death (see guidelines below) and then work through the list in a logical sequence.
But, first, specific documents need to be located, before the relevant organisations and companies can be notified.
Some of the important documents required in order to notify organisations and companies after a death include:
- official copies of the death certificate
- the will
- birth certificate
- marriage or civil partnership certificate
- bank, building society, savings account details
- insurance policies
- share certificates
- pension certificate/s
- NHS medical card
- deed poll certificate for any change of name/s, divorce papers (if applicable)
- death certificate of previous spouse (again if applicable)
Organisations that require priority notification after a death
When notifying organisations and companies about someone’s death, priority should be given to informing financial institutions and government bodies. The deceased’s accounts must be frozen in order to prevent potential fraud; outstanding bills have to be settled and any monies due need to be claimed.
These organisations include:
- building societies
- credit card companies
- insurance companies
- private pension companies
- HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
- Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)
- Social Care Services
- National Insurance Office
- local council offices
- debt agencies
- the payroll section of the deceased’s employer.
Other notification tasks when someone dies
- Passport office
- The deceased’s passport will have to be returned to the Regional Passport Office for cancellation, as quickly as possible, in order to avoid the risk of ‘identity theft’; (if you are unable to find the passport, the Identity and Passport Service, IPS, will simply cancel the deceased’s passport details on its database).
- Royal Mail redirection service
- Any mail for the person who has died should be redirected to the address of the person dealing with the deceased’s affairs.
- Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
- Notification in writing has to be given to the DVLA in Swansea and the deceased’s driving licence/ vehicle registration documents returned to the appropriate departments.
- Memberships & season tickets Current club or association membership cards and any unexpired season tickets will need to be cancelled.
- Internet Service Provider/Email
- Closing a deceased person’s account with an ISP can sometimes be difficult, particularly if you do not have their user ID and password. The best approach is to send an email and a letter to the ISP’s customer services department explaining the situation; also cancel any direct debit payments to the ISP.
- Social networking sites
- Online profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or blog user profiles will need to be removed; evidence of the person’s death will generally be required.
- Library books ought to be returned and library tickets cancelled.
Directgov: website: www.direct.gov.uk; for a list of public services’ departments, useful contact details, find a local office, etc.
HM Revenue & Customs: www.hmrc.gov.uk/bereavement/index.htm; for advice on dealing with HMRC issues such as tax payable, cancelling tax credits and benefit payments, etc.
The Bereavement Register: website: www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk; service designed to ‘reduce the amount of direct mail to those who have died’.
The Deceased Preference Service (D.P.S): free service aimed at stopping unwanted mail being sent to the deceased’s address, as well as combating ‘identity theft’ and fraudulent use of the deceased’s personal details; for more information, see website: www.deceasedpreferenceservice.co.uk.
CIFAS, UK Fraud Prevention Service: website: www.cifas.org.uk: a not-for profit, fraud prevention association and data sharing service used by leading UK financial services organisations, telecommunications and public authorities, etc.