What to do when someone dies

Bereavement service

Losing someone close to you can be very difficult. In addition to the emotional upheaval of coping with a death, you may also need to take care of financial matters.

We can help at this difficult time by giving you practical help and guidance on the things you need to do. If the deceased was a cahoot customer, please let us know as soon as possible. You can call the team or write to us.

  • Call us on 0800 015 8414

We’re open Monday to Friday, 8am - 7pm and Saturday 9am - 2pm.

  • Write to us

Bereavement Centre
PO Box 524

There are a number of things that you need to do after losing a loved one. To help you through some of them, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide under the ‘What to do’ section.

Bereavement instruction form (pdf)
For postal notifications and solicitor use.

Bereavement guide (pdf)
Practical advice and support on what to do when someone dies.

Customer ID requirements (pdf)
For telephone and postal notifications. You’ll need to send us one item of ID from list 1.

What to do

Here we've provided a list of the main things you need to do and have when someone dies. Where terms are in bold, this means that we've explained them more in the 'Glossary' section.

  • Registering the death

This should be done at the registry office closest to where the death occurred. The registry office will issue you with the death certificate.

  • Obtaining the will

Having the most up-to-date will is important as it states the wishes of the deceased and names the executors. The executors are the people responsible for carrying out these wishes.

If there is no will, the deceased's estate is distributed according to intestacy rules. These rules determine how the estate is divided and shared.

  • Arranging the funeral

We understand that it may be difficult to pay for the funeral, but if the deceased had funds in their accounts, we can release them to help with costs.

All we need is the original funeral invoice together with the original or a certified copy of the death certificate, if not already supplied to us.

Please send them to our Bereavement Centre (Bereavement Centre, PO Box 524, Bradford, BD1 5ZH) and we will send a cheque directly to the funeral director. If you post the invoice to us, we can also make a payment direct into the funeral director's account providing we receive your instruction to do so and the account details are printed on the funeral director's invoice. Please note that any money we release from the deceased's accounts for this purpose is only for the funeral director's bill and will not cover any other expenses.

  • Contacting the relevant people

As well as letting family and friends know about your loss, you'll need to inform organisations such as banks and building societies, utility companies and the Department of Work and Pensions. There are some legal documents, such as passports, driving licences and benefit books, which will need to be found and returned.

The easiest way to inform these organisations and companies is by phone and it's helpful to have an account number or reference number before calling. They'll tell you if they need any documents, such as a certified copy of the death certificate.

  • Letting us know about the death

If the deceased was a cahoot customer, please let us know as soon as possible. You can call our dedicated bereavement team on 0800 015 8414 or write to us at:

Bereavement Centre, PO Box 524, Bradford BD1 5ZH.

  • You'll need to let us have some paperwork so that we can close or transfer ownership of any accounts
    • death certificate (either the original or a certified copy)
    • Proof of your identification (e.g. a valid passport or driving licence)
    • If the total value of all accounts held with us in the sole name of the deceased is greater than £50,000 you'll need a bereavement instruction form and a grant of representation.
  • Obtaining grant of probate/ confirmation

'Probate' or 'confirmation' refers to the right to manage the affairs of the deceased. For cahoot, this is required when the total value of all accounts held with us in the sole name of the deceased is greater than £50,000.

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, if there's a will, you'll need to apply for a 'grant of probate'
  • If there's no will, you'll need to apply for a 'grant of letters of administration'
  • In Scotland, both of the above are referred to as a 'certificate of confirmation'
  • We refer to these as the 'grant of representation', a generic term that covers all of the above.

Our specialist bereavement team is on hand to help you with all of this. You can call them on 0800 015 8414.

  • Dealing with the estate

After someone dies, their estate is shared out according to the instructions given in the will. If there is no will, the intestacy rules must be followed.

If you're the personal representative(s), you can decide whether you want to deal with the estate yourself or appoint a solicitor, bank or specialist probate service to do some or all of the work. You're the personal representative if you're named in the will as executor or, if there's no will, you're the next of kin in accordance with the intestacy rules.

If the estate is small and probate isn't needed, the personal representative may be able to deal with everything within a few weeks. But if probate is required or if the deceased person owned a property, the process may take longer.

Useful contacts

There are many organisations that can help if you’ve been bereaved. You can find information, support and guidance on both the practical and the emotional.

We’ve compiled a list of some of them here. They aren’t affiliated to cahoot.

Practical support
Tell Us Once
Bereavement Register (to help reduce direct mail being sent to the address of a person who has died)
Government Service and Advice
Department for Work and Pensions
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Citizens Advice Bureau
HM Revenue & Customs

Emotional support
Age UK
Cruse Bereavement Care
The Samaritans
Child Bereavement Charity 


We've compiled a list of some of the words and terms you may see when you’re dealing with a bereavement. Don't forget, if there are things you're having trouble understanding our trained bereavement specialists are at the end of the phone to help out. Just call 0800 015 8414.

Beneficiary: a person who inherits part or all of the estate.

Certified copy: a copy of the original document that has been signed and verified by a solicitor.

Certificate of confirmation: a document giving the authority to administer an estate in Scotland.

Customer representative: generic term for someone who is administering the estate.

Death certificate: the legal document issued by the registry office after a death has been registered.

Estate: all assets belonging to the deceased.

Executor: a person appointed by a will to administer the estate.

Funeral invoice: the bill to pay the funeral director. We need this to be able to release funds from the deceased’s accounts to pay for the funeral.

Grant of letters of administration: a document giving the authority to administer an estate where there is no will.

Grant of probate: a document giving the authority to administer an estate in accordance with the will.

Grant of representation: a collective term for both the grant of probate and the grant of letters of administration.

Inheritance tax: a tax paid to HMRC on the estate of the deceased.

Intestacy rules: the rules dictating how the deceased’s estate is to be shared when there is no will.