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. Our dedicated bereavement team is on hand to talk you through how to deal with the deceased’s financial affairs. 

If the customer was a cahoot customer, please let us know as soon as possible. You can call the bereavement team, write to us or complete the online notification form

Use our online form
Please read our bereavement guide before using our online notification form

Death Notification Service
cahoot is a member of the Death Notification Service which enables you to notify a number of banks and building societies at the same time. You can learn more about it in our useful contacts section and in our bereavement guide

Call our dedicated bereavement team
You can get in touch with our bereavement team on 0800 015 8414 

We’re open  Monday to Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

Write to us

Santander Bereavement
Operations, Sunderland,
SR43 4FJ

There are many things that you need to do after a loved one dies. To help you through some of them, we’ve created a step-by-step guide you can find 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.

1. 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.

2. Obtaining the will

Having the most up-to-date will is important. The will 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.

3. Arranging the funeral

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

All we need is the funeral and/or florist invoice together with the original or copy of the death certificate, if this hasn’t already been given to us. Once we get this, it can take up to 3 days for us to pay the invoice.

Please send them to our Bereavement Centre Santander Bereavement Operations, Sunderland, SR43 4FJ. We will then send a cheque directly to the funeral director or florist. If you post the invoice to us, we can make a payment direct into the funeral director or florist's account if you instruct us to do so. To do this, make sure the account details are printed on the funeral director or florist's invoice. Please note, any money we release from the deceased's accounts for this purpose is for the funeral director or florist's bill only. It will not cover any other expenses.

4. Contacting the relevant people

As well as letting family and friends know about your loss, you'll need to inform certain organisations. These might be banks, 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.

You can inform these organisations by phone. They'll tell you if they need any documents, such as a copy of the death certificate. It's helpful to have an account number or reference number if you can find one before calling.
The deceased may have held accounts across multiple different banks and building societies. You may be able to use the Death Notification Service to notify a number of banks at once. You can find more information about this in the ‘useful contacts’ section, or in our Bereavement Guide.
If the customer had any future-dated payments or pre-authorised recurring card transactions (such as magazine subscriptions or services) while the account remains open, they could continue to be taken from the account. To avoid this, you could: 

  • Make alternative arrangements directly with the provider (for example, updating the card details to make the payments), or 
  • you can cancel the subscription or agreement with them.

5. Letting us know about the death

If the deceased was a cahoot customer, please let us know as soon as possible. You can complete the online bereavement form, notify us using the Death Notification Service or call our dedicated bereavement team on 0800 015 8414. You can also write to us at: Santander Bereavement Operations, Sunderland, SR43 4FJ

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 by yourself or appoint a professional. A solicitor, bank or specialist probate service can 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.

9. Dealing with financial difficulties

Some people may face financial difficulties following the death of a loved one. Find information about how Cahoot and others may be able to help you on our money worries page (Money worries | Santander UK).

10. Investments

When someone dies and they have certain investment types, there are two options. You can either transfer these into someone else’s name or encash them.

There are different risks to consider when deciding your approach. In order to make the best choice for you please visit our investment (Personal Investments | How To Invest Online | Santander UK) page before making a decision. If you’re not sure about your next steps, you should speak to an independent financial adviser.

Useful contacts

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

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

Death Notification Service

  • Allows you to notify a number of participating banks and building societies at the same time.
  • Is online and free to use.
  • Is an additional service to the notification and bereavement services already offered by banks and building societies.

How does it work?

  • This service is notification only. Once the form has been completed, confirmation of receipt will be provided by the Death Notification Service. The relevant banks or building societies are then notified.
  • The banks or building societies will then contact the person dealing with the estate to inform on the next steps. They will be specific to the types of accounts the deceased held with that bank or building society. They will provide key information on what is needed to close the accounts.
  • For more information, such as participating banks and building societies, or to use the service, visit the website Death Notification Service (Death Notification Service).

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


We've compiled a list of some of the words and terms which you may see when you’re dealing with a bereavement. If there are things you don't understand, 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.