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Making life easier after a death

News Release

Having to face a bereavement is a daunting task, with arrangements and decisions that have to be made at a very distressing time. Where do you start? People are often not prepared for bereavement and won't know what needs to be done.

That's why Directgov has set up a simple, interactive service which provides all the information you need to register a death and make the necessary arrangements, guiding you through the process as smoothly as possible.

Directgov is the official public services website which provides easy access to the public services you use and the information you need, delivered by the UK government all in one place.

As part of the interactive service on the Directgov website, you will find a simple checklist which provides a guide to the whole process, from the information needed about the person who died, to organisations that can help you.

After a death, you are not on your own. Some of the arrangements can be done by a close relative or friend, whilst others need to be done by the executor or administrator of the estate, who will carry out the terms of a will, so you need not take on the burden alone.

As well as helpful information and advice available on Directgov, you can also find counselling and support services, or organisations like Cruse Bereavement Care. Directgov will also higlight certain benefits you might be entitled to, or one off payments after the death of someone close. Directgov can also help you get in contact with your local authority who may also provide support and advice about the arrangements that need to be made after a bereavement.


For more information on Directgov contact:

Nick.Mann@coi.gsi.gov.uk 020 7261 8395

Oliver.Jackson@coi.gsi.gov.uk 020 7261 8326

Notes to editors

1. The bereavement section of the Directgov site can be found here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Death/index.htm

The information above is for people who live in England and Wales. To find out about registering a death for residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland, please use the links below.



Northern Ireland


An outline of the process of what to do when someone dies is below, which is suitable for feature-type material.

What to do when someone dies

Registering a death

In England and Wales, you normally need to register a death within five days, and this is best done at the registry office in the area in which the person died, and may require an appointment. Most deaths are registered by a relative - unless none are available - who needs to supply certain information: the medical certificate showing the cause of death, and if available, birth certificate, marriage/civil partnership certificates, and NHS medical card. The registrar will also need to know some personal information such as name, occupation and benefits information.

You will then receive a Certificate for Burial or Cremation and a Certificate of Registration of Death, issued for social security purposes and needed by the executor or administrator when sorting out the person's affairs. The registrar will also give you a booklet with helpful advice.

For further information: http://www.direct.gov.uk/bereavement_radio.dsb?pro=BDT

The first five days

As well as gathering the information about the deceased, and registering the death, there are some other actions that need to be taken in the first five days, such as notifying the family doctor, finding the will, and advising any relevant benefits offices.

If there is a will, contact the executor - if this isn't you - to enable them to start the process of obtaining probate, and if there is no will, a decision needs to be made about who will apply to sort out the deceased's affairs, and contact the Probate Registry to apply for 'letters of administration'.

Who to contact

As well as informing friends, relatives and in some cases, employers or schools, there will also be accounts to close and subscriptions, payments or direct debits to cancel. Relevant government organisations will also need to be informed, such as the Tax Office, local authority and DVLA, utilities and household contacts, and clubs and associations the person belonged to.


For full details of what to do, visit 'What to do when someone dies checklist' here:


For information the HM Courts Service (HMCS) probate service, please visit


2. About Directgov

Directgov, the government's flagship digital service, brings together the widest range of public service information and services in one place; available on mobile, digital television and the website www.direct.gov.uk

Directgov is the largest cross-government initiative, joining up central and local government's service delivery, in a way that is easy to use and all in one place.

Launched in April 2004, Directgov now attracts more than 7 million visits a month.

The site also provides access to government directories, as well as links to relevant third parties who can offer additional trusted advice and support.

Please note: Directgov is spelt as one word and with a lower case 'g'.

3. Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care promotes the well-being of bereaved people and enables anyone bereaved by death to understand their grief and cope with their loss. The organisation provides support and offers information, advice, education and training services.






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