Wills and Probate: What to do when someone dies

Within a few days after a death, there are certain steps that need to be undertaken fairly urgently.

Someone needs to:

Make sure that the home and possessions of the deceased are secure.

Register the death at the register office for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships for the district where the person died.

Start the funeral arrangements.

The family or friends of the Deceased can usually deal with most of the practical things that need doing immediately after a death. As solicitors, we normally get involved a little later, when the Executors need advice about the Estate.

A death must be registered within five days after the date of the death.

When attending the register office, we suggest that you take with you:

  • The medical certificate from the doctor

Together with the following information:

  • date of death
  • place of death
  • full name of the person who has died
  • any former names
  • occupation
  • last address
  • name, date of birth and occupation of the person's spouse or civil partner (whether living or dead); and
  • information about any state benefits the person was receiving

The registrar will give you following registration of the death an official copy of the register, called a certified copy death certificate. You can obtain further copies of the death certificates. You have to pay for them; the price varies from one local authority to another. You can claim back the cost from the estate in due course. You need several copy certificates to send out when giving notice of the death to the various financial institutions.

The registrar will give to you a certificate for burial or cremation. This should be given to the funeral director who is making the funeral arrangements

The registrar will also provide you will a form called a form BD8. This is for the Department of Work and Pensions and tells the DWP of the death so that it can deal with the pensions and benefits arrangements of the Deceased. You can complete this form yourself or ask your solicitors to complete it and send it to the DWP

It is not essential to find the will before the funeral. However, it is best to find it (or at least a copy) as soon as possible after the death

Only the executors appointed in a will are entitled to see the will before probate is granted. If you are not an executor, the solicitors of the person who has died or the person's bank, if it has the will, cannot allow you to see it or send you a copy of it, unless the executors agree. However, they can tell you who the executors are. They can also let you know what the will, or a note kept with it, says about the kind of funeral the person wanted

By taking on the responsibility for arranging the funeral, you are also taking on the responsibility of paying for it. You will eventually be able to reimburse yourself from the estate of the person who has died, if there is enough money in the estate to cover the funeral expenses

Whether or not the personal representatives of the person who has died choose to have solicitors helping them with the process, their first task is to assemble as much information as possible relating to the person's assets and debts. The personal representatives may ask for your help in assembling the information, even if you are not an personal representative yourself.

If you would like help with administering an Estate, please contact Hema Patani at Hollingsworths Solicitors on 0116 204 7260.


Hollingsworths Solicitors provide legal services for businesses and individuals throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and across the country

How can we help?

The Hollingsworth team will be happy to discuss your legal requirements in the first instance please fill in the form or call us on 0116 204 7260.

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