Who to inform of a death

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Who do you tell in the event of a death?

You have just lost a loved one and your world has lost its sense of reality. You are in a bubble and feel like the only person who has ever been bereaved. You then have the practical demands forced upon you by society, and the law to inform people of the death. Where do you start and how is it best to do it?

If it is your role to tell friends and family about the death, bear in mind that the way you deliver the news is important. You might be able to tell some people over the phone or by writing to them. For others, it will always be better to tell them face to face. Be wary of using social media – it can be used for spreading the word about the funeral or sharing memories, but most people would be horrified to learn about a death this way.

Telling government and local council departments

You should do this as soon as possible after receiving the death certificate.There is a new service,  Tell Us Once , which operates in most areas of England, lets you notify most government organisations in one go. What a great help and simple but brilliant idea.

If it’s available where you live, the registrar will tell you about it when you register the death and give you the contact details and a unique reference number.

If Tell Us Once doesn’t cover your area, you need to inform:

  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) (0300 200 3300) to deal with taxes
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (0345 606 0265)  to cancel any benefits, including the State Pension
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) (0300 790 6801, gov.uk/tell-dvla-about-bereavement/overview) if the person who died drove or owned a car
  • the Passport Office (0300 222 0000) to cancel their passport
  • your local council to deal with council services, such as the electoral register and Housing Benefit
  • any public sector or armed forces pension scheme they had.

Other people who may need to be told about the death may include:


  • their landlord or mortgage provider
  • home carers or day care centres
  • anyone providing deliveries, such as milk or newspapers
  • utility companies
  • banks, building societies and credit card providers
  • insurance companies
  • pension providers
  • the post office to stop post being delivered to the address.

Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.

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