When someone dies

30 October 2020

4 min read

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A guide on where to get help

When someone close to you dies everything can seem a bit of a blur and it can be hard to know what to do first. There are a lot of organisations which can provide support, help and information.

You can navigate through the guide using the table of contents, or if you'd like to read the guide end-to-end in full, you can download a PDF copy.

Help paying for a funeral

One of the first things you need to do when someone dies is arrange their funeral. This is a big expense and you will need to think about how you will pay for this. Here are some ways you may be able to find the money.

  • Is there a funeral plan or insurance? – Check the paperwork of the person who's died to see if they paid for their funeral in advance.
  • Bank accounts – if the person who's died had a bank account with money in it the bank may agree to pay the funeral director straight from the account once it has seen the death certificate.
  • Check GOV.UK's  Funeral Payment or Budgeting Loan tools– you may qualify for help from the government towards the costs.
  • Public health funerals – the local council of the person who's died or the hospital they were in can arrange a public health funeral if there is no money to pay for a funeral.

Useful Organisations

There are lots of things that need to be done after someone dies.

The organisations below all have useful explanations about the steps to take.

Benefits

Your finances can be affected when you lose a loved one and you may find you have less money. There are some specific bereavement benefits and now your circumstances have changed there may be other benefits you can claim too.

  • Bereavement Support Payment – you may be eligible for this if your husband, wife or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017 and you were under State Pension age.
  • Turn2Us – an online benefits checker. 
  • entitledto – an online benefits checker.
  • Citizens Advice – free, impartial and confidential advice either over the phone or online. Contact your local Citizens Advice or visit the Citizens Advice website to find out more.

Tax issues

  • Tax Help for Older People – free help for those close to age 60 or over, and with an annual income of less than £20,000. You can call them on 0130 848 8066.
  • TaxAid – free help with tax problems for people on low incomes. You can call them on 0345 120 3779 (10am to 4pm on Mon-Fri).
  • Citizens Advice – free, impartial and confidential advice either over the phone or online. Contact your local Citizens Advice or visit their website for more information.
  • GOV.UK – a useful round-up of the different tax help available.
  • HMRC – get help dealing with HMRC if you have additional needs.

Dealing with debts

  • StepChange – a charity offering free debt advice and practical debt solutions. You can call them on 0800 138 1111.
  • National Debtline – a charity offering free debt advice by phone and online. You can call them on 0808 808 4000.

Rethinking your finances

If you need to rethink your finances there are various tools and organisations that can help.

Managing changes to your money

A death in the family can often mean you need to rethink your finances. There are various tools and organisations that can help.

People to talk to

Here are details of organisations that can put you in touch with someone to talk to after a bereavement.

  • British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy – find a qualified counsellor or therapist through this organisation.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care – a charity providing free grief and bereavement counselling. Call the helpline on 0808 808 1677.
  • Cruse Scotland – a charity providing free grief and bereavement counselling in Scotland. Call the helpline on 0808 802 6161.
  • Samaritans – a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. Call the helpline on 116 123.
  • WAY – peer to peer support groups for people aged 50 or under when their partner died.* You can contact them at Suite 14, College Business Centre, Uttoxeter Road, Derby DE22 3WZ.
  • If you work for a large employer – check with your HR department or manager if your employer offers counselling through an employee assistance programme.
  • Local support groups – your GP should be able to provide you with details of any local counselling that’s available

*There is a £25 annual membership fee.

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Support for children

There are special organisations that can provide bereavement counselling for children.

  • Child Bereavement UK – a charity that gives support when a child is facing bereavement. Call the helpline on 0800 028 8840.
  • Grief Encounter – helping children through bereavement. Call the helpline on 0808 802 0111.
  • Winston’s Wish – a UK childhood bereavement charity. Call the helpline on 0808 802 0021.