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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Documents and information needed when someone dies

Check the lists here of all the documents and information needed after someone dies, both to notify the required people/organisations immediately after the death and as part of the longer term probate process.

Documents/information needed in the first five days

You'll need to gather together the following documents and information as soon as possible - to enable registration of the death and to start funeral arrangements.


  • medical certificate of the cause of death (signed by a doctor)

and if available:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage/civil partnership certificates
  • NHS Number/NHS Medical Card


  • the person who has died's full names at death
  • any names previously used, including maiden surname
  • the deceased's date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad
  • their last address                             
  • their occupation
  • date of marriage/civil partnership if certificate not available
  • the full name, occupation and date of birth of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • whether the deceased was receiving a state pension or any other state benefits

Other documents/information, if relevant:

  • organ donor card
  • religion

Documents needed in order to notify benefits/tax credits offices

  • correspondence confirming payment to the deceased of benefits (normally Jobcentre Plus office), tax credits (HM Revenue & Customs) and/or State Pension (Department for Work and Pensions)                               
  • Child Benefit Number (if relevant)   

Documents relating to a partner or relative

  • proof of your relationship to the deceased (eg marriage/civil partnership or birth certificate, child's birth certificate naming both parents)
  • your social security card/National Insurance number if you will be claiming/changing benefits

Documents/information needed by the person sorting out the deceased's affairs

The personal representative is the person formally responsible for sorting out the deceased person's estate, paying any taxes and debts and distributing the estate. They will need the following documents (where relevant):

 Documents needed by the personal representative:

  • sealed copies of the grant of representation (probate/letters of administration)

Documents relating to the death:

  • the will if there is one
  • death certificate (often needed when requesting access to funds; it's best to order at least two extra certified copies when registering the death)

 Savings/investments related:

  • bank and building society account statements
  • investment statements/share certificates
  • personal or company pension account statements


  •  life insurance documents (including mortgage cover)
  • general insurance policies (home, car, travel, medical etc)

 State pension/benefits:

  • relevant correspondence or statements from Jobcentre Plus (for benefits) and/or The Pension Service

Amounts owing by the deceased:

  • mortgage statement
  • credit card statements
  • utility/ Council Tax bills in the deceased's name
  • rental agreements/statements (private or local authority)
  • other outstanding bills
  • leases, hire purchase agreements or similar (eg for equipment, car or furniture)
  • educational loan statements
  • any other loan statements

Amounts owed to the deceased:

  • outstanding invoices if the deceased ran a business
  • written/verbal evidence of other money owed to the deceased


  • property deeds or leases (main home and any other at home or abroad)
  • property keys

Other possessions:

  • existing valuations of property such as jewellery, painting and similar (though an up to date market valuation will be required)
  • any existing inventories of property/possessions
  • safety box deposit information

Employment or self-employment:

  • PAYE form P60 and latest payslips if the deceased was employed
  • recent tax returns and tax calculation statements (if relevant)

 Business related:

  • company registration documents, accounts, tax and VAT returns if they had a business

Other documents/information

The following documents and information will be required by the personal representative or close relative in order to contact relatives and friends or to return documents to relevant organisations:

  • address book/information listing close friends and relatives who will need to be informed
  • passport
  • vehicle registration documents if the deceased owned a car
  • driving licence/parking permits/travel cards/Blue Badge for disabled parking
  • membership cards or documents/correspondence showing membership of clubs, associations, Trade Unions and similar

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