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Who to inform when someone dies – a simple guide

Esther Shaw / 03 December 2015 ( 23 March 2020 )

Read our tips to help you deal with someone’s affairs once they have passed away, and simplify some of bureaucracy during an already stressful and emotional experience.

Red rose to represent death
Dealing with someone’s affairs once they have passed away, can be a stressful and emotional experience

As part of this sad process, there are certain organisations and companies you’ll need to notify about the death.

This will help tidy up loose ends and ensure that, for example, there are no outstanding bills, benefits or credit cards.

Here is our guide to help you through this process:

Death certificate

Before you can start handling the affairs of someone who has died, you will need a death certificate.

To register a death, you will need to take medical documentation to your local register office. This department can usually be found within the council offices.

What do you do if someone dies without leaving a Will?

Government organisations

You will need to notify a host of government organisations as soon as possible after receiving death certificates. These include:

HM Revenue and Customs or the tax office – to deal with tax and cancel benefits.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – to cancel benefits, such as income support.

The Passport Office – to cancel a passport and return it.

The local council – to cancel housing benefit, council tax benefit, Blue Badge for disabled parking, and also to inform council housing services and remove the deceased from the electoral register.

The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) – to return a driving licence, cancel tax and return car registration documents or change ownership.

The 'Tell Us Once' service

Tell Us Once is a helpful Government service which allows you to report a death to most key local and central government departments at the same time, either online or by telephone.

This means you won’t have to spend hours on the phone providing the same information over and over.

To access this service, you will need the unique reference number given to you by your local registrar when you register the death.

Details you will need

To report a death to Tell Us Once, you will need to provide certain details, such as the deceased’s date of birth, National Insurance number, driving licence number and passport number.

In addition, you will need details of any benefits or entitlements – and any local council services – they were receiving.

You will also need the name and address of their next of kin, and the name, address and contact details of the 'executor' – the person dealing with the deceased’s estate, property, belongings and money.

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Who will Tell Us Once notify?

If you use the Tell Us Once service, the death will be reported to HMRC, DWP, the passport office, and the local council (including the local library) in one go. 

The DVLA will also be contacted to cancel the deceased’s driving licence. However, you will still need to send the DVLA any registration certificates, such as the V5C (vehicle registration document).

Will Tell Us Once need copies of the death certificate?

If you use Tell Us Once, you will only need one death certificate. However, you will still need additional certificates for the companies they cannot notify.

What if Tell Us Once is not available?

While Tell Us Once is a helpful service, it is not available in every area. Your registrar should tell you if this is an option when you meet with them.

If your local register office does not offer the Tell Us Once service, you will need to contact the relevant government departments yourself. The same applies if you decide not to use the Tell Us Once service.

Other companies you need to inform

In addition to government organisations, there are a host of other firms you need to notify when someone passes away.

Banks and other financial institutions

You must contact the banks or building societies that the deceased held account with, as well as National Savings & Investments (if this applies).

How to tell banks someone has died

You should also get in touch with their mortgage lender and pension provider to inform them of the death.

General insurance companies, such as those providing home, car, travel and medical cover will also need to be told, as will any firms the deceased held investments with.


If the deceased had any credit cards or store cards, you will need to contact these firms. The same applies if that person had any loans or hire purchase agreements still outstanding.

What happens if someone dies leaving debts?

Utility companies

You should tell gas and electricity providers, as well as the water supplier if the accounts were in the deceased’s name.

Mobile phone companies, TV and internet providers

You should inform firms where the deceased had subscriptions. When cancelling mobile phone, landline, TV and broadband accounts, you will typically only need the customer’s name and account number. Most will not ask you to send a copy of the death certificate.


You should contact the person’s employer to inform them about the death.

Medical services

You should call the deceased’s GP, dentist, and optician, plus anyone else who had been providing medical care to that individual.

Find out about the different types of funeral available

Charities and clubs

You should get in touch with any charities to which they made regular donations, or magazines to which they subscribed.

You should also contact any clubs, trade unions or associations with seasonal membership, and ask for these to be cancelled.

Royal Mail and other postal organisations

You should contact Royal Mail if post needs redirecting.

It’s also worth registering the name and address with the Bereavement Register; this should help to reduce the amount of unwanted marketing post being sent to someone who has passed away.

You could also sign up the Deceased Preference Service, as this is another way to ensure unwanted mail addressed to the deceased is stopped.

Who else should you inform?

* Relatives and friends.

* Solicitor/accountant.

* Any private organisations or agencies providing home help.

For more help and guidance on bereavement, click here

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.