If you do require probate but decide to complete the process, or part of the process, yourself the UK government website provides some valuable online resources some of which are detailed below.
All the information below links to 3rd party websites and offer some very useful information however we cannot guarantee, and take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided.
Registering the Death
This online facility takes you through a short online questionnaire which will guide you to the correct procedure to register the death.
Source: UK.Gov – Register a Death
Arranging a Funeral
The Citizens advice bureau provide a more detailed explanation on registering the death and the process involved. They include information on when a coroner is needed and why an inquest may be required. They also provide some useful information on funeral options including using a funeral director, arranging it yourself and information on natural / environmentally friendly funerals.
Source: Citizens Advice – What to do after death
Dealing with death is emotionally challenging especially when tasked with dealing with finalising the deceased affairs. There is no shame in seeking help to deal with the raft of emotions that death creates and the NHS provides advice on bereavement counselling.
Source: NHS England: Grief after bereavement or loss
Telling the Government and other organisations
The government’s Tell Us Once service, provided by the Department of Work and Pensions, allows you report a death to most government organisations in one go.
Source. UK Gov – Tell Us Once
After registering the death, you’ll have 28 days to use the government’s Tell Us Once service. This allows you to report the death to multiple government organisations at once, including
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – to deal with personal tax (you’ll need to contact HMRC separately for business taxes, like VAT)
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – to cancel benefits and entitlements, for example Universal Credit or State Pension
- Passport Office – to cancel a British passport
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – to cancel a licence and remove the person as the keeper of up to 5 vehicles (contact DVLA separately if you keep or sell a vehicle)
- Local Council – to cancel Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support), a Blue Badge, inform council housing services and remove the person from the electoral register
- Veterans UK – to cancel Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments
The Death Notification Service is a free service which allows you to notify a number of participating banks and building societies of a person’s death, at the same time.
Source: Death Notification Service
Was the deceased a joint or sole owner of a property? The government website explains in more detail where and how you transfer the property of the deceased. It includes links to how you can check how a property is owned.
Source: UK Gov – Update property records when someone dies
Finding the Will
If you are unable to locate a copy of a will or are not sure if one exist you can search yourself. The Gazette provides some guidance or there are organisations that will search on your behalf.
Source: The Gazette – How to find the last will
Source: National Will Register – Will Search
As an Executor or Administrator you have a responsibility and duty to distribute the deceased’s estate correctly and could be held financially responsible for any mistakes made through any breach of duty. There for you may want to instruct a solicitor to ensure the will is properly searched for and the estate is administered correctly.
Source: The Probate Network – Book your free 20 minute consultation
In a situation where no valid will can be located the government provides a simple online questionnaire that can help ascertain the beneficiaries.
Source: Gov.uk – Intestacy – who inherits if someone dies without a will?
Administering the Estate
Applying for probate
Applying for the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their estate) when they die is called applying for probate.
The government website provides an answer to one of the most commonly asked questions ‘Do I need probate?”
Source:UK Gov – When probate is not needed?
If you decide not to seek professional help the government provides some guidance on applying for probate.
Source: UK Gov – How to obtain probate, a guide for people acting without a solicitor
Valuing the Estate and Inheritance Tax
As part of applying for probate, you need to value the money, property and possessions (‘estate’) of the person who’s died.
Source: UK Gov: Valuing the estate of someone who’s died
If the value of the estate exceeds a certain amount you may be liable to pay inheritance tax.
Source UK Gov: Inheritance Tax Forms
Souce UK Gov – Probate and Inheritance Tax Helpline