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Telling organisations about a death

Telling organisations about the death of a relative or friend can be one of the hardest things you’ll do. If you feel unable to do this yourself, ask someone you trust to help you.

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It can help to make a list of the people and organisations you may want to tell about the death. Here are a few examples:

  • employers and colleagues
  • government departments (see below)
  • the person’s GP
  • any bank, credit card and mortgage companies – to close accounts or change the details
  • insurance companies
  • utility companies, such as gas, water, electricity, telephone
  • the landlord if there is one
  • the person’s accountant and solicitor, and any executors appointed in the Will (see below)

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Telling people or organisations that someone has died is different from being able to deal with their estate and probate. Dealing with the estate is done by the executors, who are responsible for sorting out what was owned and owed.

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Government departments

Tell Us Once service   

Tell Us Once is a service offered by most local councils. It saves you contacting each government department individually. This service isn’t available in Northern Ireland but the Bereavement Service   is a single point of contact for the Social Security Agency, which will save a bit of time.

Departments covered by Tell Us Once include:

Local councils

  • Housing benefit office and council housing
  • Council tax payments and benefits office
  • Libraries
  • Blue Badge
  • Adult social care

HM Passport Office

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Department for Work and Pensions

  • Jobcentre Plus

Ministry of Defence

  • War pensions scheme

HM Revenue & Customs

If your local registry offers the Tell Us Once service, you’ll usually be told when you register the death. Ask them if it’s not mentioned. The registary will give you a unique reference number that will allow you to access the service online if you don’t want to make another appointment, or you can tell someone over the phone.

You’ll need to register the death before using the Tell Us Once service, unless there is an inquest. If this happens, the coroner may give you an interim death certificate. However, not all local councils will allow this.

You can see which local register offices provide the Tell Us Once service using the search tool  .

You can complete the Tell Us Once process at any point within 28 days of first signing up. This time frame applies whether you’re using the service online, in person or over the phone.

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What you'll need when using the Tell Us Once service

You’ll need to have the following information to hand:

  • The National Insurance number and date of birth of the person who has died.
  • Their passport or passport number (you’ll need to know the country and town where they were born).
  • Their driving licence or driving licence number.
  • Details of their state pension and any other benefits they may have been receiving.
  • Their blue badge for disabled parking.
  • Their death certificate if you didn’t attend the interview when you registered the death.
  • The unique reference number given to you by the register.

You may also need to provide details of:

  • the next of kin
  • the surviving husband, wife or civil partner
  • the person dealing with the estate – the executor or administrator
  • your own National Insurance number if you’re the next of kin, as your own benefits entitlement may change

If you can’t find all the documents, you can still use the Tell Us Once service but not all organisations will be informed. You’ll have to make contact with them individually as and when you find the information.

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Redirecting post

You can get the Post Office to redirect the mail of someone who’s died. The service costs from £24.99 for three months if you’re redirecting to another UK address. You may be asked for proof that you have the right to redirect the mail in the form of a death certificate or a written statement. Read more about redirection here  .

You can also stop junk mail being sent to the person who has died by registering the death with the Bereavement Register  . This may not stop all junk mail, however.

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External websites

Bereavement Advice Centre   – Tell Us Once 

The Bereavement Register  

Department for Work and Pensions   - bereavement benefits and widows’ benefits   – find your local register office

Scotland   – find a local registration office

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)   – what to do about tax and benefits after a death

Money Advice Service   – what to do when someone dies checklist and letter templates

NI Direct   – death and bereavement

Post Office   – Post redirection form (PDF 103KB)

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