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What to do after a death in England or Wales

What to do after a death in England or Wales

Introduction

When someone close to you dies, there are many decisions and arrangements you’ll have to make, often at a time of personal distress.

Here we offer help and guidance about what to do when someone dies. For example, it tells you how to:
• get a medical certificate which shows the cause of death
• register the death
• arrange the funeral, and
• decide what to do with the person’s property and belongings.

Financial help you may be able to get and lists organisations who can give you support and comfort.

What to do first

If someone dies in hospital

If someone dies in hospital, the hospital staff will contact the person named by that person as their ‘next of kin’.

The hospital will keep the body in the mortuary until the executor or someone acting on their behalf arranges for it to be taken away. Most funeral directors have a chapel of rest where the body will be held until the funeral.

If someone dies elsewhere

If you expected the person’s death

If you expected the person’s death, you should contact the doctor who cared for them during their illness. If the doctor can confirm the cause of death, they will give you:
• a medical certificate that shows the cause of death (this is free of charge and will be in an envelope addressed to the registrar), and
• a formal notice that says that the doctor has signed the medical certificate (this tells you how to get the death registered).

If you did not expect the person’s death

If the person’s death is sudden or unexpected or you discover a body, you should contact the person’s:
• family doctor (if you know who it is), or
• nearest relative.

You must also contact the police. They can help you find the people listed above, if necessary.

If the cause of death is not clear

If the cause of death is not clear, the doctor or other people who helped to look after the person must report it to the coroner.

The coroner may decide that there needs to be a post-mortem and an inquest.

Coroners
The coroner is a lawyer or doctor responsible for investigating a death when:
• the cause is sudden and unknown
• it was violent, unnatural or happened under suspicious circumstances, or
• it happened in prison or in police custody.

In these cases, the coroner may be the only person who can confirm the cause of death. The doctor will write on the formal notice that they have referred the death to the coroner.

If you want advice or information about a death which you have reported to the coroner, contact the coroner’s office. You can get the address from the police station, your local library or the hospital where the person died.

Post-mortems

A post-mortem is a medical examination of the body, which can find out more about the cause of death. It should not delay when you can have the funeral.

The coroner may arrange for a postmortem.

If you’re a relative of the person who has died, they do not need your permission to do this, but you are entitled to have a doctor represent you at the postmortem.

If this is the case, the coroner will tell you when and where the post-mortem will be.

If the person dies in hospital, you may ask the coroner to arrange for the post-mortem to be carried out by a pathologist other than one employed at or connected to the hospital the person died in.

The coroner will usually pay to remove the
person’s body from where they died to the
mortuary for the post-mortem. The coroner
must ask your permission (if you are the
person’s next of kin) if any organs or tissue
need to be kept once the post-mortem has
been carried out.
The coroner will choose a funeral director
to take the person’s body from where they
died to the hospital mortuary. You can then
choose your own funeral director to carry
out the funeral once the coroner has
finished the post-mortem.
 
If the post-mortem shows that a person
has died due to natural causes, the
coroner may issue a notice known as ‘Pink
Form B’ (form 100B). This form shows the
cause of death so that the death can be
registered.
If the body is going to be cremated, the
coroner will give you the certificate for
cremation which allows you to arrange for
the body to be cremated (see page 24).
Inquests
An inquest is a fact finding inquiry into the
medical cause and circumstances of a
death. It is held in public, sometimes with a
jury. It is up to the coroner to decide how
to organise the inquiry in a way which is
best for the public and the relatives of the
person who died.
The coroner will hold an inquest if:
• the death was of unknown cause,
violent or not natural
• the death was caused by a disease in
the workplace, or
• the person died in prison.
Coroners hold inquests in these
circumstances even if the person died
outside England or Wales, if the body is
returned here. If someone’s body has been
destroyed by fire or is lying in a place from
which it cannot be recovered, a coroner
can hold an inquest by order of the
Secretary of State.
What to do after a death
 
If an inquest is held, the coroner must tell
the following people (if their name and
address is known to the coroner):
• the husband, wife or civil partner of the
person who died
• the nearest relative (if this is not the
person’s husband, wife or civil partner),
and
• the person’s personal representative or
executor (if they are not any of the
above).
You can go to an inquest and ask the
witnesses questions, but only about the
medical cause and circumstances of the
person’s death, if you are:
• a parent, child, husband, wife or partner,
or personal representative of the person
who died
• a beneficiary under the insurance of the
person who died
• the insurer who issued the policy;
• a person whose act or omission may
have caused or contributed to the death
• a person appointed by the trade union
of the person who died if they may have
died from an industrial injury or disease
• a person appointed by an enforcing
authority or government department, or
• the chief police officer.
 
The coroner may decide it is right to allow
other people not listed here to ask
questions.
It is not necessary to be legally represented
at an inquest. The inquest is not a trial so
there is no prosecution or defence.
Witnesses are not expected to present
legal arguments and an inquest cannot
blame anyone for the death. The coroner
ensures that the process is impartial and he
or she ensures that the process is
thorough, and is expected to assist families
and ensure that their questions are
answered.
If the inquest takes some time, ask the
coroner to give you an ‘interim certificate of
the fact of death’ or a letter confirming the
person’s death. You can use this certificate
or letter for benefits and National Insurance
purposes. Financial institutions should
usually accept this certificate as evidence
of the death. The coroner may give you an
‘order for burial’ or a ‘certificate for
cremation’ so that you can arrange the
funeral, as long as the body is not needed
for further examination.
The coroner will also send a ‘certificate
after inquest’ to the registrar, which will
give the cause of death. This means that
the registrar can register the death.
Go online at www.direct.gov.uk to see
more information about the inquest system
and what the coroner is responsible for.
 
What to do after a death

Summary of forms and certificates

Some of the forms and certificates you may be given by doctors and coroners are listed below. The list explains when and where you get each form.

When someone has died In all cases The death is not referred to a coroner A baby is stillborn
The death is referred to a coroner, but there is no inquest There is an inquest and the body is to be buried There is a postmortem or an inquest and the body is to be cremated The body is to be
moved out of England or Wales You will usually get the following:
Formal notice
Medical certificate
Medical certificate of stillbirth
Notification by the coroner (pink form 100A or 100B)
Order for burial (form 101)
Coroner’s certificate for cremation
Removal notice (form 104)

You will get this from the following
Doctor or midwife
Coroner (the coroner usually sends this direct to the registrar, but you may be asked to take it to the registrar yourself)

If the organs and/or body are to be donated It is sometimes possible to use organs and body tissues from someone who has died, which can help others to live.

Whether or not organs can be transplanted
depends on how and where the person
died. The donation of internal organs (such
as the liver, kidneys, heart or lungs) may be
possible if the person died in hospital while
on a ventilator, but not if they died at home
or elsewhere. Wherever they died, it may
be possible to donate corneas, heart valves
and skin and bone.
If the cause of death is suspicious, sudden
or unexpected and has been referred to
the coroner, the coroner must agree to the
removal of the organ, since the removal
could affect some important evidence.
Decisions can usually be made very
quickly.
If the person who died carried a donor card
or was listed on the NHS Organ Donor
Register and it is possible to transplant an
organ, the appropriate qualifying person
(see page 13) will be contacted to ask
whether or not they agree to donation.
What to do after a death
 
Where the person who died did not
indicate their consent (or refusal) to donate
their organs and, in the case of an adult, a
nominated representative has not been
appointed, someone close to them can
give consent to the removal, storage and
use of organs and tissues for
transplantation.
The Human Tissue Act 2004 sets out the
order in which those close to the deceased
person should be contacted for the
purposes of obtaining consent for the use
of organs or body tissues. In order of
priority this is:
• Partner
• Parent or child
• Brother or sister
• Grandparent or grandchild
• Niece or nephew
• Stepfather or stepmother
• Half brother or half sister
• Friend of long standing
If you have not already been asked about
organ and/or tissue donation and want to
find out whether or not it is possible, speak
to staff at the hospital

Partner

We will treat you as a
couple if you live with
your husband, wife or
civil partner, or if you live
with someone as if they
were your husband,
wife or civil partner. We
call this other person
your partner.
 
Donating a body for medical education,
training or research
People who donate their bodies make a
vital contribution to training by medical
schools. Those who wish to donate their
body must have made their wishes known
in writing before they died, and let their
next of kin know.
The Human Tissue Authority regulates this
area, and if you need to know more about
how to donate a body, visit www.hta.gov.uk
If you want to move a body out of
England or Wales
If you want to move the body out of
England or Wales (for example, so that you
can have the funeral abroad), you must get
the coroner’s permission. You need to get
this at least 4 days before you want the
body to be moved. Sometimes, the
coroner may be able to give their
permission sooner.
After the coroner has finished their
inquiries, they will give you a ‘removal
notice’.
This procedure applies in all cases where
the body is to be moved out of England or
Wales, not just when you report a death to
the coroner.
What to do after a death
 
How to register a death
The death must be registered with the
registrar of births and deaths. You can find
the address in the phone book.
If the death has not been referred to the
coroner, you should tell the registrar about
it as soon as possible. The death must be
registered within 5 days (unless the
registrar says this period may be
extended).
If the death has been referred to the
coroner, it can’t be registered until the
registrar has received the coroner’s
permission to do so (see page 10).
You can give any registrar in England and
Wales the information to register a death.
You will need to go to the registrar’s office,
to tell them formally about the person’s
death.
Check when the registrar will be there and
if only you need to go along. It may be that
someone else needs to give the registrar
some information to register the death.
If the death took place in a different area
from the registrar you choose, they will
send these details to the registrar who
covers that area to register the death. This
may cause a delay in arranging the funeral.
 
If the person died on a ship or plane, check
which country you need to register their
death in. Usually, this is the country that
the ship or plane is registered in.
What happens at the registrar’s office
When you go to the registrar you should
take:
• the medical certificate which shows the
cause of death
• the person’s medical card, if possible,
and
• the person’s birth and marriage or civil
partnership certificates, if these are
available.
You should tell the registrar:
• the date and place the person died
• the person’s usual address (their only or
main home)
• the person’s first names and surname
(and maiden name, if this applies)
• the person’s date and place of birth (the
town and county if they were born in the
UK, and the country if they were born
abroad)
• the person’s occupation and the name
and occupation of their husband, wife or
civil partner
• if the person was getting a pension or
benefit from the Government, and
What to do after a death
17
• the date of birth of their surviving
husband, wife or civil partner (if the
person was married or in a civil
partnership).
The registrar who registers the death will
give you the following.
• A certificate for burial or cremation
(known as the ‘green form’), unless the
coroner has given you an order for burial
(form 101), or a certificate for cremation.
These give permission for the body to
be buried or to apply for the body to be
cremated. You should take this to the
funeral director so that the funeral can
be held.
• A certificate of registration of death (form
BD8). This is for benefit claim purposes
only. You should read the information on
the back of the certificate. If any of it
applies, fill in the certificate and contact
Jobcentre Plus or The Pension Service.
• Leaflets about bereavement benefits and
income tax for surviving husbands,
wives or civil partners, where
appropriate.
If you register the death away from the area
where the death took place, the registrar
will send this information to you.
 
The death certificate
The death certificate is a certified copy of
what is written in the death register. The
registrar can let you have a death certificate
if you want one, but you will have to pay a
fee.
You may need a death certificate for the will
(see page 39), and for any pension claims,
insurance policies, savings bank certificates
and premium bonds.
You may want to ask for more than one
copy of the death certificate straight away,
as the price increases if you need one later
on. The registrar may not be able to give
you all the copies straight away and may
ask you to call back or ask you to pay an
amount towards postage so that they can
send them to you.
Registering the death of a stillborn baby
If a baby is stillborn (born dead after the
24th week of pregnancy) you will be given
a medical certificate of stillbirth signed by
the midwife or doctor, which you should
give to the registrar. If there wasn’t a doctor
or midwife there, and no doctor or midwife
has examined the body, you must sign a
form (form 35) which the registrar will give
you.
The registrar will give you a certificate for
burial or cremation and a certificate of
registration of stillbirth.
What to do after a death
 
You can ask to have a first name for a
stillborn baby when you register the death.
The registrar will write the baby’s name on
these certificates if the name is recorded in
the register. It is also possible to get
certified copies of what is written in the
death register.
Maternity benefits
If your baby was stillborn after 24 weeks of
pregnancy, you may still be entitled to
Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity
Allowance. There is a leaflet from Jobcentre
Plus which gives you more information
about this.
You can give any registrar in England or
Wales the information to register a stillbirth.
The procedure to register a stillbirth is
similar to the procedure for registering a
death (see page 15).
To find out more about arranging a funeral
for a stillborn baby, see page 23.
 
Summary of forms and certificates
Below is a list of some of the forms and certificates the registrar will
give you when you register a death. The list explains when and
where you get each form.
When you register a death
If no coroner has issued a
certificate for cremation or a
burial order
If Jobcentre Plus or The
Pension Service needs to know
about the death
If you need evidence of the
death to get probate, pensions
claims, insurance policies,
savings certificates or premium
bonds
If a baby is stillborn
If a baby is stillborn and you
want a burial or cremation
You will usually get the
following
Certificate for burial or
cremation (the green form)
Certificate of registration of
death (form BD8)
Death certificate
Registration of stillbirth
Certificate for burial or
cremation (the white form)
What to do after a death
 
Arranging the funeral
Do not make final funeral arrangements
until you are sure that you do not have to
report the death to the coroner, as this may
affect the date when the funeral can be
held.
Find out if there is a will, as this may give
details of what the person wanted for their
funeral arrangements (see page 39).
If you arrange for a funeral, you are
responsible for paying the bill, so first
check where the money will come from
and if there will be enough to cover all the
costs.
There are some laws about what to do
after someone has died. Their death needs
to be registered and the body needs to be
properly taken care of, by either burial or
cremation.
If you need to arrange a burial or funeral
service in line with a particular religion, you
can get advice from a minister of that
religion or the religious organisation that the
person who died belonged to.
 
Arranging the funeral without a funeral
director
Many people choose to use a professional
funeral director to organise a funeral. They
do this partly because it is easier, at what is
generally a stressful time.
It is possible for you to organise a funeral
without the help of a funeral director, but
you should contact the cemeteries and
crematorium department of your local
council for advice.
Choosing a funeral director
Friends, family, clergy or your doctor may
be able to suggest a local company with a
good reputation. If not, most local firms are
listed in the Yellow Pages. Remember, their
charges can vary considerably. You may
want to contact or visit more than one firm.
Most funeral directors choose to join one of
the 2 trade associations below. Funeral
directors do not have to be in a trade
association, so you may want to check this
before choosing one.
What to do after a death
 
National Association of Funeral
Directors
Phone: 0845 230 1343
Website: www.nafd.org.uk
National Society of Allied & Independent
Funeral Directors
Phone: 0845 230 6777
Website: www.saif.org.uk
Both organisations have codes of practice.
Funeral directors who are members have to
provide you with a price list when you ask,
and they will not increase any costs they
give you without your permission.
The funeral director will need the certificate
for burial or cremation (the green form) or
an order for burial, or a certificate for
cremation which gives permission for a
burial or to apply for a cremation.

Funeral for a stillborn baby
The hospital may offer to arrange a burial
or cremation, free of charge, for a stillborn
baby, whether they were born in hospital or
at home. You should discuss the funeral
arrangements with the hospital staff or
midwife.
If you accept the offer the baby will be
cremated or buried after a simple
ceremony, or you can arrange the funeral
yourself.
For information on call charges, see page 70.
 
Deciding about cremation or burial
Check the will to see if the person who has
died has given any instructions for their
funeral. It is generally up to the executor or
next of kin to decide whether to have a
cremation or burial. The executor does not
have to follow the instructions about the
funeral left in the will.
The funeral director will help you to decide
where the body should stay until the
funeral, and when and where the funeral
should take place.
If there is going to be a service or
ceremony, you should contact the
appropriate person for the religion or belief
of the person who has died. If you are not
sure, the funeral director should be able to
help you.
Cremation
No one can be cremated until the cause of
death is definitely known. The crematorium
(or funeral director) usually requires:
• an application form signed by the next of
kin or executor, and
• 2 cremation certificates (the first signed
by the treating doctor and another
signed by a doctor not involved with the
treatment of the person who has died),
or
• a cremation form signed by the coroner.
What to do after a death
 
You have to pay for the cremation
certificates signed by the 2 doctors. If the
death is referred to the coroner, you do not
need these 2 certificates. Instead, the
coroner will give you a certificate for
cremation which is free.
If the crematorium is satisfied that the
cause of death has been confirmed, and
that all the forms have been completed
correctly, the ‘medical referee’ will authorise
cremation by signing a form. The medical
referee has the power to refuse the
cremation and make further enquiries, but
must give a reason for doing so.
If the person died outside England or
Wales, see page 27.
It is important to make it clear to the funeral
director or crematorium staff what you
want to be done with the ashes. If this is
not clear, they will need to contact you to
discuss what they should do.
You can scatter someone’s ashes in a
garden of remembrance or their favourite
place, bury them in a churchyard or
cemetery, or keep them.
In the case of babies and very young
children, there may be no ashes after a
cremation. At some crematoriums you can
arrange to have a memorial plaque which
you may have to pay for.
A ‘medical referee’ is
appointed by the
Secretary of State to
authorise all cremations
in a crematorium.
 
Burial
Before someone can be buried, you must
have a death certificate signed by a doctor
and a certificate for burial from the registrar
of births and deaths (see page 20).
You should find out if the person has
already arranged a grave space in a
churchyard or cemetery, by checking their
will and looking through their papers.
There will be a ‘deed of grant’ which shows
a grave space has been paid for in a
cemetery. Most cemeteries are open to all
faiths, so you can have most types of
service or ceremony. These cemeteries are
owned by local authorities or private
companies, and their fees vary. Some
cemeteries and churchyards no longer
have any space for new graves.
If you want the burial to be in a churchyard,
you can find out from the priest or minister
if there is space and who has the right to
be buried there.
What to do after a death
 
If the person died outside England
or Wales
Registering someone’s death
If the person died in Scotland or Northern
Ireland, you should register their death in
that country.
If the person died abroad, or on a ship or
plane, you should register their death in line
with the laws of that country (or the country
in which the ship or plane is registered),
and get a death certificate.
If the person who died was a British
national, you may also register the death
with the British Consul in the country
concerned. If the death took place on a
British-registered ship or plane, the death
will be registered with the relevant
authorities in the UK (Registrar General for
Shipping and Seamen, or the Civil Aviation
Authority).
You will be able to get the death certificate
from the British Consul who registered the
death or, for deaths on ships and planes,
from the General Register Office.
Phone: 0845 603 7788
Website: www.ips.gov.uk/gro
For information on call charges, see page 70.
 
If the person died outside of England or
Wales in the circumstances listed on pages
5 and 6, or there is not full information
about their death and their body is brought
to England or Wales, you must report their
death to a coroner in the same way as if
they had died in England or Wales.
Funerals abroad
You can arrange a burial or cremation
abroad. The British Consul in that country
can register the death. This avoids the
costs of bringing the body back to England
or Wales.
Bringing a body back to England or
Wales
You may be able to bring the body back to
England or Wales. Most funeral directors
should be able to give you advice on how
to go about this is and what it is likely to
cost.
You will need the death certificate from the
place the person died, or formal permission
from the coroner or relevant authority in the
country where the person died, to bring the
body back to England or Wales.
What to do after a death
 
Arranging a funeral in England or Wales
To arrange a funeral in England or Wales
you will need:
• an approved translation of a foreign
death certificate, or a death certificate
issued in Scotland or Northern Ireland
(these must show the cause of death),
and
• a certificate of ‘no liability to register’
from the registrar in the area in England
or Wales where the burial or cremation is
going to take place. You do not need
this certificate if a coroner has issued a
certificate for cremation or an order for
burial.
Arranging a cremation
If a person died abroad and you have
brought their body back to England or
Wales to arrange a cremation, you will
need a cremation order from the local
coroner. You can get their details from any
local funeral director.
In England or Wales, if you have either of
the above forms you will not need the 2
forms signed by doctors (see page 24). For
deaths in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the
Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, there
are forms which are the same as these
forms in England and Wales which you can
use for a cremation.
 
If the person died from natural causes, the
local coroner will issue an order to produce
the application for cremation and original
documents (which must clearly show the
cause of death) from the country where the
person died.
The local coroner may need approved
translations of documents if they are in a
foreign language. When you send these,
write ‘Cremation Urgent’ on the envelope.
If the person did not die from natural
causes, the coroner will start an inquest
into their death. In these cases the coroner
will issue a form for cremation when they
open the inquest.
What to do after a death
 
Paying for the funeral
Funerals can be expensive. So remember
to check where the money for the funeral
will come from before making any
arrangements. Otherwise, you may have to
pay the bill yourself.
First check whether the person who has
died had made any plans to pay for the
funeral. The sections below set out some
possibilities.
If no one is able or willing to arrange and
pay for the funeral, the local council, or in
some cases, the health authority, may pay
for the funeral, but only where the funeral
has not already been arranged (see page
38).
If someone has arranged to pay for their
own funeral
There may be money available to pay for
the funeral from money the person has left
behind (assets) or through schemes and
pensions that they paid into during their life.
After someone dies, their bank account is
‘frozen’, unless it is a joint account. You
may be able to use part of their savings to
pay for the funeral. The bank will ask you to
provide certain documents, which usually
include the death certificate.
 
You should check the person’s papers for a
certificate from the Cremation Society, their
life-insurance policy or a funeral plan which
has already been paid for. You should also
look for letters from their past employers
with details about any occupational
pension scheme or personal pension.
These might cover the cost of the funeral,
and also provide other financial support for
their surviving husband, wife or civil partner.
If the person was living in hospital or a
residential care home, the hospital or home
will hand over the person’s belongings (up
to a figure fixed by the relevant local
authority) to the nearest relative, or to the
person who has written permission from
whoever is dealing with the will.

Employer’s pension schemes or
personal pensions
Some employers provide pension schemes
through work (occupational pension
schemes) that pay a lump sum to help with
funeral costs and sometimes pension
benefits for a person’s surviving husband,
wife or civil partner. You should check to
see if the person who died has ever
belonged to this sort of scheme. They may
have made their own arrangements if they
were self-employed, or if their employer did
not have an employer’s pension scheme.
What to do after a death
 
If the person was receiving a pension from
a previous job, you should find out who is
paying it. It might be the employer’s
pension scheme or an insurance company.
You should tell the representative from that
pension scheme about the person’s death,
and if the person has a surviving husband,
wife or civil partner, dependent child or
other dependant, because they may be
able to get a pension. If they already
receive a pension, they may be able to get
more money.
You should find out if there was pension
due to be paid when the person retired
from a previous employer. If there is a
pension, you should check who is
responsible for paying it, for example the
employer or an insurance company.
If you have difficulty, you can get help from
the Pension Tracing Service.
Phone: 0845 600 2537
Textphone: 0845 300 0169 (For people
who find it hard to speak or hear clearly)
These lines are open Monday to Friday
from 9am to 5pm.
Website: www.thepensionservice.gov.uk
For information on call charges, see page 70.
 
Other pensions and payments
There may be pensions or lump sums
payable from a trade union, professional
body or other association, or from a
provident club which pays benefit when a
member dies.
If the person was getting a benefit before
they died, there may be some of that
benefit still due. When you tell the
Department for Work and Pensions about
the person’s death, ask them to send you a
form which you can use to claim any
money owed (see page 45).
If you are the executor, you will be paid this
money. If there is no executor but you are
paying for the funeral, you can claim up to
the cost of the funeral costs.
Life insurance policies
The person who died may have taken out a
life insurance policy which pays a lump
sum if someone dies before a certain age.
The lump sum is usually paid after probate
but the insurance company may pay out
some money when they have proof that the
person has died.
The Cremation Society
If the person who died was a member of
the Cremation Society, you may be able to
pay reduced cremation fees, or the
Cremation Society may pay something
towards the cost of the cremation.
What to do after a death
 
Funeral Payments from the Social Fund
If you or your partner are on a low income
and have to arrange a funeral, you may get
some help with the costs.
This is a one-off, tax-free payment to help
cover the necessary costs of a funeral.
The Social Fund can help to pay for a
simple, respectful, low-cost funeral. This
includes:
• the necessary costs of burial or
cremation fees
• a new burial plot (if a burial is chosen)
• certain other expenses, and
• up to £700 for any other funeral
expenses like funeral director’s fees, a
coffin or flowers.
You must claim within 3 months of the date
of the funeral.
You or your partner must get one of the
following benefits.
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Income-related Employment and
Support Allowance
• Pension Credit
• Working Tax Credit which includes a
disability or severe disability element
 
• Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the
family element
• Housing Benefit
• Council Tax Benefit
It must also be reasonable for you or your
partner to pay for the funeral.
We may need to consider the
circumstances of other relatives of the
person who has died.
Normally the person needs to have been
living in the UK when they died and the
funeral usually needs to be held in the UK.
If you get a Funeral Payment, you will have
to pay this back from any estate of the
person who died. Their estate includes
money, property and other things that they
owned. (Any home that is still lived in by a
surviving partner or personal things left to
relatives do not form part of the estate.)
To find out more about getting a Funeral
Payment, contact Jobcentre Plus by
visiting www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk or you
can find our address and numbers in your
local phone book.
What to do after a death
 
When a war pensioner dies
If the person who died was a war
pensioner, you may be able to get help
with the cost of a simple funeral if they:
• died from the condition that they were
receiving a war pension for
• died in hospital while having treatment
for that condition
• were getting war pensioner’s Constant
Attendance Allowance at the time of
their death, or
• were getting a War Disablement Pension
assessed at 80% or more and
Unemployability Supplement at the time
of their death.
You will not have to pay any of the money
back from the estate of the person who
died.
You must claim within 3 months of the
funeral.
To claim you need to contact the Service
Personnel and Veterans Agency
immediately after the funeral.
Phone: 0800 169 2277
Textphone: 0800 169 3458
Monday to Thursday 8.15am to 5.15pm,
Friday 8.15am to 4.30pm.
Website: www.veterans-uk.info
For information on call charges, see page 70.
 
Other help
The hospital may arrange the funeral of
someone who dies in hospital if they
cannot trace the person’s relatives, or their
relatives can’t afford to pay for the funeral.
They may make a claim on the person’s
estate to pay for the funeral.
Where the person has not died in hospital
and there is no-one who can take
responsibility for the funeral, the local
council has a duty to bury or cremate
someone if no other arrangements have
been made. If they have a reason to think
that the person who died did not want to
be cremated, they will not arrange a
cremation. They may make a claim on the
person’s estate to pay for the funeral. Ask
your council for more information.
What to do after a death
 
Dealing with someone’s estate
and belongings
The will
Before you start dealing with someone’s
property, you need to find out whether or
not they left a valid will. If you can’t find a
will, or can find only a copy, someone else
may have it (such as a bank, a solicitor, or
the executor) to keep it safe, and you
should talk to them about it.
A will does not necessarily look like a legal
document, so you should not destroy any
written instructions left by the person who
has died, because these may be their will.
A will says what should happen to
someone’s estate when they die. If the
person died leaving a valid will, their estate
must be dealt with as set out in the will. A
will has to be drawn up in line with strict
rules and you may need to get legal advice
to check whether the document you have
is valid.
If there is no will (or the will is not valid), the
person is said to have died ‘intestate’. As a
result, the estate must be dealt with in line
with rules on intestacy, which set out who
will inherit the estate and in what share.  

Estate
A person’s ‘estate’ is their
money, property and
belongings when they
died. It may not include
jointly-owned property.
 
Jointly-owned property
Two or more people may own the home
together as ‘beneficial joint tenants’ or
‘tenants in common’.
• Beneficial joint tenants own the land
jointly, so that on the death of the first to
die the land passes to the survivor(s)
under the right of survivorship. The
house does not form part of the estate
of the first to die.
• Tenants in common each own a share in
the land, and when one of them dies
their share is included in their estate. It
passes either according to their will, or (if
there is no will) follows the intestacy
rules.
The nature of the joint ownership should be
settled when a property is acquired and
recorded. If you are not sure how the home
is owned, you should get legal advice.
Getting permission to deal with the
estate
If the person who died left a will, they will
usually have asked an executor to deal with
their estate.
If the person did not name an executor or
did not leave a will, the court will appoint
an administrator to deal with the estate.
The administrator will usually be someone
who is a beneficiary of the will, or who is
entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules.
What to do after a death
 
Executors and administrators are also
known as personal representatives.
If you are entitled to deal with someone’s
estate, you may have to apply for
permission from the Probate Registry to
manage and distribute it.
This permission is called ‘a grant of
representation’ (or probate for short). You
can apply for a grant of representation
yourself or through a solicitor. There are 3
types of grant issued by the Probate
Registry. The grant issued will depend on
the circumstances of the case.
Type of grant
Grant of ‘probate’
Grant of ‘letters of
administration (with will
annexed)’
Grant of ‘letters of
administration’
Given to
One or more of the executors
named in the will
An administrator, who is
appointed by a court when the
executors named in the will are
not available, not willing or not
suitable to manage the estate,
or if the will does not name
executors
Administrators when there is no
valid will
 
You may be able to deal with someone’s
estate without having to apply for a grant of
representation. You should contact the
organisations holding the property, money
and belongings of the person who died, to
find out if they need to see a grant before
they release any assets to you.
For more information on how to get a grant
of representation and about inheritance tax,
contact the Probate and Inheritance Tax
helpline.
Phone: 0845 30 20 900 (Monday to Friday
9am to 5pm)
Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk
You can also get information from the
Probate Service website at
www.theprobateservice.gov.uk or you can
go along to any Probate Registry.
What does the executor or administrator
need to do?
As an executor or administrator, you will
have certain duties and responsibilities
when dealing with the person’s estate. You
must:
• find out how much their estate is worth
• take all reasonable steps to collect any
money the person is owed
• pay any inheritance tax that might be
due
For information on call charges, see page 70.
What to do after a death
 
• pay for the funeral
• pay any debts the person owed from the
assets in their estate, and
• distribute the remainder of the estate to
the beneficiaries.
Gathering details of someone’s assets and
liabilities
You should look carefully through the
person’s personal papers to find details of
all their assets (such as bank accounts,
building society accounts, insurance
policies, share certificates, savings
certificates, premium bonds and so on) and
liabilities (such as money they owe for
electricity, gas, water, phone bills and so
on, and personal debt such as credit
agreements and credit-card accounts).
You may be able to get back part of any
money the person paid up front for items
such as a television licence, road tax,
household insurance, council tax and so
on. You should also find out which credit
organisations the person owed money to.
Make sure you pay any debts
You should pay any debts, including funeral
expenses, out of the person’s estate. If
there is no estate to pay for the funeral.
 
You, as the executor or administrator, are
responsible for paying the debts of the
estate. If you do not know some or all of
the organisations the person had credit
with (the people they owe money to), you
should advertise for any creditors to come
forward and make a claim against the
estate. This advert is called a ‘Deceased
estates notice’ and you should publish it in
‘The London Gazette’. If the estate
contains land, you should also advertise in
a newspaper in the area where the land is
situated.
The London Gazette is published each
working day. You will have to pay for the
advert out of the estate. There is a
separate edition of the same newspaper for
Scotland. Visit www.gazettes-online.co.uk
for more information about how to publish
in The London Gazette.
You need to give creditors 2 months to
make a claim. If you do not advertise, you
may have to pay any claims creditors make
after the person’s estate has been shared
out.
You should tell the creditors that you are
the executor or administrator. This may
also mean telling organisations such as
water, gas, electricity and telephone
suppliers, hire-purchase or rental
companies.
What to do after a death
 
One example of a claim that may come up
is if Jobcentre Plus find they have paid too
much Income Support to someone who
has died and ask for the overpayment
back. If the person who died owes any
National Insurance at the date of their
death, this must also be paid out of the
estate. If this is not paid, it may affect the
benefit the surviving husband, wife or civil
partner gets.
You may have to sell some or all of the
assets in the estate to pay off the debts of
the person who died. However, do not rush
into either selling assets or distributing the
estate. Where appropriate, seek
professional legal advice.
Claiming any benefit someone is owed
The executor or administrator can claim
any state benefits someone is owed even
after they have died. There may be money
due if the person was getting or had
recently claimed a benefit.
To claim any benefit owed you should
show Jobcentre Plus form BD8 from the
registrar (see page 17) and ask them for a
form to apply for the benefit.
Sometimes, benefit can be paid without
having to claim. Ask Jobcentre Plus for
more information, as soon as you can, if:
• the person who died was waiting for the
outcome of an appeal against a decision
about their benefit, or
 
• you think they may have been eligible for
a benefit but did not claim it. You may
be able to act on their behalf and any
benefit they are owed may be payable to
the estate.
Things to return
You should return the following items, with
a note to explain what has happened and
the date the person died.
• Any forms or cheques issued as part of
a benefit claim. You should send these
to the Jobcentre which issued them.
This also applies to Child Benefit
payments which include payment for a
child who has died. Jobcentre Plus
should not make payments after
someone has died. It may be useful to
keep a record of any benefits before you
send anything back.
• The person’s passport. You should send
this to the Identity and Passport Service
for them to cancel. Before posting it,
please cut off the top right-hand corner
of the passport. The Passport Office will
give you advice on where to send the
passport.
Phone: 0300 222 0000
Website: www.passport.gov.uk
For information on call charges, see page 70.
What to do after a death
 
• The person’s driving licence. You should
send this to:
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Longview Road
Swansea
SA6 7JL.
• The registration documents for the
person’s car, to record who now owns
the car.
• Membership cards of any clubs,
associations or trade union.
• Library books and tickets.
• National Insurance papers. You should
send these to the relevant HM Revenue
& Customs office.
• Any NHS equipment such as
wheelchairs, hearing aids or artificial
limbs.
• Disabled parking permit. You should
return the disk to the local authority.
You will also need to contact the
Bereavement Register to remove their
name from mailing lists.
You should also cancel things like the
person’s home-help services, meals on
wheels, gas, water or electricity.
 
People to tell
You should tell:
• any hospital the person was going to for
their medical appointments
• their doctor
• HM Revenue & Customs (see page 63)
• Jobcentre Plus or The Pension Service
(if the person was getting a benefit or
State Pension)
• the person’s employer and trade union (if
they were working)
• the person’s school or college (if they
were in education)
• the person’s car insurance company (if
you are insured to drive the car under
the person’s name, you may not still be
legally insured to drive the car)
• gas, electricity and telephone suppliers
• their local council (you may need to tell
more than one department in the
council, such as the housing, social
services or council tax departments)
• the person’s bank, building society or
insurance company, and
• the Post Office so that they can redirect
the person’s post, if necessary.
Distributing the estate and dealing with
claims on the estate
As executor or administrator, your role is to
administer the estate.
What to do after a death
 
Distributing someone’s property
Once all the assets have been gathered in
and the taxes and debts have been paid,
then you, as the executor or administrator,
must distribute what is left in the estate to
the beneficiaries. If there is a will, you must
follow the instructions set out in the will.
If there is no will, you must distribute the
estate in line with the laws of intestacy. The
summary below explains the intestacy
rules.
Summary of the intestacy rules
Where a person dies leaving a husband,
wife or civil partner, and children.
The husband, wife or civil partner will take:
• the ‘personal chattels’ such as
household articles
• a statutory legacy of the first £125,0001
of the estate free of tax, and
• a life interest in half the remaining estate
(this may be turned into a capital sum).
The rest of the estate goes to the children.
If any child is under 18, this share is held in
trust until either the child reaches 18 or
gets married under that age.
1 From 1 February 2009, the statutory
legacy amount in these circumstances
will increase from £125,000 to £250,000.
‘personal chattels’
These are personal
belongings, including
jewellery, furniture,
pictures, books and cars
(but not money,
investments, property or
business assets).
 
Where a person dies leaving a husband,
wife or civil partner, but not children
The husband, wife or civil partner will take:
• the ‘personal chattels’ such as
household articles
• a statutory legacy of the first £200,0002
of the estate free of tax, and
• full ownership of half the remaining
estate.
The other half of the estate goes to the
parents (equally if both are alive), or if no
parent is alive then divided between the
‘whole blood’ brothers or sisters.
2 From 1 February 2009, the statutory
legacy amount in these circumstance will
increase from £200,000 to £450,000.
Where a person dies with no surviving
husband, wife or civil partner
The estate is distributed to the person’s
blood relatives, in the following order:
• to the children, but if none
• to the parents, but if none
• to ‘whole blood’ brothers or sisters, but
if none
• to ‘half blood’ brothers or sisters, but if
none
• to the grandparents, but if none
‘Whole blood’ relatives
share the same mother
and father.
‘Half blood’ relatives
have only one parent in
common.
What to do after a death
 
• to ‘whole blood’ aunts or uncles, but if
none
• to ‘half blood’ aunts or uncles, but if
none
• to the Crown.
The estate will be divided equally between
each of those entitled.
To inherit, any relative listed above must
survive the person who died, and be 18
(unless they marry before they reach 18). If
they die before they reach 18 (or marry
younger than 18), their share goes to any
others in that group.
Other than parents and grandparents, if
any relative listed above has already died
but leaves children of their own, their share
is divided equally amongst these children.
Who can make a claim on an estate?
Whether or not you are related to the
person who died, you can apply to the
court for a share of their estate if they were
supporting you financially in any way just
before their death. This will apply to
unmarried partners (or partners where there
is no civil partnership) in a case where there
is no will.
If you qualify, you must apply within 6
months of the date when the grant of
representation was issued. The court may
let you apply later in special circumstances.
 
If you want to apply, you should get legal
advice as soon as possible after the person
dies. Do not leave it until after the 6
months.
What happens if the person who died has
no relatives?
If there is no will, and the person who died
leaves no surviving husband, wife or civil
partner or blood relatives, the estate will go
to the Crown. For more information, you
should contact the Treasury Solicitors
Department.
The Treasury Solicitor’s Department (BV)
One Kemble Street
London WC2B 4TS
The effect of marriage, divorce and civil
partnerships on a will
If someone makes a will and then gets
married or forms a civil partnership, their
will ceases to be valid. However, if they
make a will knowing that they were going
to be married or form a civil partnership to
a particular person and the will reflects
this intention, the will remains valid.
If someone in a relationship with person of
the same sex made a will before 5
December 2005, and then later registered
as a civil partnership in England or Wales,
their will is still valid.
What to do after a death
 
Generally if someone makes a will and then
gets divorced or ends (dissolves) a civil
partnership:
• any gift left to their former husband, wife
or civil partner, and
• any appointment of their former
husband, wife or civil partner as
executor
does not take effect unless the will says
otherwise.
If a child has died
Child Benefit is a benefit paid to people
who are bringing up children. If a child has
died, you must tell HM Revenue &
Customs within 8 weeks of the child’s
death.
You will continue to receive Child Benefit
for the child who has died for 8 weeks after
their death. You can contact HM Revenue
& Customs using the details below.
Phone: 0845 302 1444
Textphone: 0845 302 1474
Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit
For information on call charges, see page 70.
 
Help and support for you
If someone in your family dies, it can cause
money problems. This may only be for a
short time, while you wait for their estate to
be distributed, or you may need long-term
help.
This section is about benefits and
entitlements that might help you after
someone dies.
If you are widowed or become a surviving
civil partner, there are different kinds of
benefits you can get. The benefit you get
may depend on your age or the number of
children you have living with you.
The type and amount of bereavement
benefit you can get is based on your
husband, wife or civil partner’s National
Insurance contributions.
If you can’t get a full State Pension
because your husband, wife or civil partner
did not pay enough National Insurance
contributions, and they died because of an
accident at work or an industrial disease,
The Pension Service will treat your case as
if your husband, wife or civil partner had
paid full National Insurance contributions.
If you marry someone else, form a civil
partnership or live with someone as if they
are your husband, wife or civil partner, you
will not be able to continue getting
bereavement benefits.
What to do after a death
 
Bereavement benefits
The Bereavement Benefit Scheme was
introduced on 9 April 2001, and applies to
people widowed on or after this date. It
also applies to people who became a
surviving civil partner on or after 5
December 2005.
You may be able to get a Bereavement
Payment and either:
• Widowed Parent’s Allowance, or
• Bereavement Allowance.
To qualify for these bereavement benefits,
your husband, wife or civil partner must
have paid National Insurance contributions.
The contributions you paid do not count for
these benefits.
Bereavement Payment
A Bereavement Payment is a tax-free lump
sum payment to help you at the time your
husband, wife or civil partner dies.
You can get a Bereavement Payment if
your husband, wife or civil partner paid
enough National Insurance contributions, or
if their death was caused by their job, and:
• you were under State Pension age when
they died, or
• they were not entitled to Category A
State Pension when they died.
Category A State Pension
is made up of Basic State
Pension, and Additional
State Pension. You may
receive either part or
both.
 
You cannot get a Bereavement Payment if,
at the time your husband, wife or civil
partner died:
• you were divorced from them, or your
civil partnership had been legally ended
• you were living with someone else as if
you were married or in a civil partnership
with them, or
• while you were in prison or legal
custody.
Widowed Parent’s Allowance
Widowed Parent’s Allowance is a regular
payment which you can get if:
• your husband, wife or civil partner had
paid enough National Insurance
contributions, and
• you have at least one child who you
receive Child Benefit for, and you are
under State Pension age, or
• you are expecting a child with your late
husband or civil partner (including as a
result of IVF) and you were living with
them immediately before they died.
If the child is not living with you, but you
are paying some of the costs of providing
for the child, you may be able to get
Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
What to do after a death
 
There are special rules when you and a
child are living abroad or have recently
returned to Great Britain. A Jobcentre Plus
adviser can explain if you think this might
apply to you.
Widowed Parent’s Allowance stops when
you no longer have a dependent child. If
this is within 52 weeks of your husband,
wife or civil partner dying, you may be
entitled to Bereavement Allowance.
You have to pay tax on Widowed Parent’s
Allowance and it is made up of a basic
allowance and an additional pension if you
qualify to receive it.
Bereavement Allowance
Bereavement Allowance is a regular
payment which you can get if:
• your husband, wife or civil partner had
paid enough National Insurance
contributions or
• their death was caused by their job, and
• you were 45 or over but below State
Pension age when they died.
You cannot get Bereavement Allowance if,
at the time your husband, wife or civil
partner died:
• you were divorced from them or your
civil partnership had legally ended
 
• you were living with a new partner as if
you were married or in a civil partnership
with them, or
• while you were in prison or legal
custody.
How to claim bereavement benefits
You do not make a claim for each benefit
separately.
You will need the death certificate of your
husband, wife or civil partner. If the death
has been referred to the coroner and an
inquest could take some time, ask the
coroner to give you an ‘interim certificate of
the fact of death’ or a letter confirming the
person’s death.
You must claim bereavement benefits
within 3 months of your husband, wife or
civil partner’s death. However, you can
claim for a Bereavement Payment up to
12 months after your husband, wife or civil
partner dies.
Entitlements that may have changed
You may find your late husband, wife or
civil partner’s National Insurance
contributions entitle you to new or
increased benefits or entitlements.
If you think this may affect other benefits
that you already get, you must contact
Jobcentre Plus.
What to do after a death
 
State Pension
If you and your late husband, wife or civil
partner were getting the basic State
Pension when they died, you may be able
to use their National Insurance
contributions to get an increased amount
of basic State Pension.
If you were over State Pension age
(currently 60 for a woman born on or
before 5 April 1950, and 65 for a man)
when your husband, wife or civil partner
died, you may be able to get basic State
Pension based on your own or their
National Insurance contributions, or a
combination of both, up to a certain limit
(depending on your circumstances).
You may be able to get some or all of your
late husband, wife or civil partner’s
additional State Pension – you may know
this as State Earnings-Related Pension
(SERPS) or State Second Pension.
If you were both over State Pension age,
you can get additional State Pension
straightaway. The amount you can get
depends on the date your husband, wife or
civil partner reached State Pension age and
the date they died.
 
To find out more about your entitlement to
State Pension, contact The Pension
Service.
Phone: 0845 60 60 265
Textphone: 0845 60 60 285
Open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.
Website: www.thepensionservice.gov.uk
Employment and Support Allowance
If you are sick and have paid enough
National Insurance contributions, you could
get Employment and Support Allowance.
Any bereavement benefit you get may
affect the amount of Employment and
Support Allowance you get, so ask
Jobcentre Plus to explain this to you.
If you have not paid enough National
Insurance contributions to get Employment
and Support Allowance and your husband,
wife or civil partner has died, you could get
special credits to get Employment and
Support Allowance.
To get special credits, you must be sick
and must have stopped getting certain
benefits for your husband, wife or civil
partner who has died. You can’t get special
credits if your bereavement benefit stops
because you:
• get married again
• form a new civil partnership, or
• start living with a new partner.
For information on call charges, see page 70.
What to do after a death
 
Payments for bereavement in special
circumstances
Industrial injuries, accidents and diseases
If your husband, wife or civil partner was
disabled as a result of an industrial
accident or disease that happened before
they died, and was not getting Industrial
Injuries Disablement Benefit, you may be
able to claim it now for a period before
their death.
This includes if your husband, wife or civil
partner died as a result of pneumoconiosis,
byssinosis or one of certain other diseases
which they got from work before 5 July
1948.
Do not put off making your claim or you
may lose benefit.
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
If your husband, wife or civil partner’s death
was as a result of their service in Her
Majesty’s Armed Forces, you may qualify
for help under the Armed Forces
Compensation Scheme.
The scheme provides benefits for illness,
injury or death caused by serving in the
armed forces on or after 6 April 2005. For a
death caused by service, a taxable
Survivor’s Guaranteed Income Payment will
be paid to the surviving partner. They
would also get an extra bereavement grant
for someone who died in their retirement.
 
If your husband, wife or civil partner died in
service and was a member of the Armed
Forces Pension Scheme 2005, you may
receive a lump-sum payment.
To find out more, contact the Service
Personnel and Veterans Agency.
Phone: 0800 169 2277
Textphone: 0800 169 3458
Open Monday to Thursday 8.15am to
5.15pm, Friday 8.15am to 4.30pm.
Website: www.veterans-uk.info
For information on call charges, see page 70.
What to do after a death
 
Help to bring up a baby or child
Maternity benefits
If you are pregnant, you may be entitled to
Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer
or Maternity Allowance from Jobcentre
Plus. You may be able to get a Sure Start
Maternity Grant from the Social Fund.
Child Benefit
If you are a parent you should already be
receiving Child Benefit.
If, after someone dies, you become
responsible for bringing up their child, you
should also be able to get Child Benefit.
You should claim Child Benefit as soon as
possible after you know you are going to
become the child’s legal guardian. For
more information contact HM Revenue &
Customs.
Guardian’s Allowance
You may also be able to get Guardian’s
Allowance if, after someone dies, you
become responsible for bringing up their
child.
To get Guardian’s Allowance, you must be
entitled to Child Benefit for the child.
Normally, for you to receive Guardian’s
Allowance both the child’s parents must be
dead.
HM Revenue & Customs
Phone: 0845 302 1444
Textphone: 0845 302 1474
Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk
For information on call charges, see page 70.
 
But, you may be able to receive it if:
• one parent is dead and the other can’t
be traced or is serving a long prison
sentence
• the child’s parents were divorced or their
civil partnership was legally ended, and
the surviving parent was not awarded
custody of the child, or
• the child’s mother is dead and the father
is not known.
You can claim for Child Benefit and
Guardian’s Allowance at the same time.
If you have already made a claim for Child
Benefit, make your claim for Guardian’s
Allowance as soon after this as possible.
 
Help if you do not have enough to
live on or are on a low income
If your husband, wife or civil partner dies,
you may find that your income is reduced,
and you may have difficulty making ends
meet. You may become eligible for one or
more types of support for people on low
incomes.
Tax credits
Working Tax Credit is designed to help
people who work but are on a low income.
The amount you get depends on a number
of things, such as your yearly income and
the number of hours you work.
To qualify you need to work over 16 hours
a week. You might be able to get extra
help if you are:
• disabled
• over 50 and you have recently gone
back to work after being on benefit, or
• working more than 30 hours a week.
You don’t need to be responsible for
children, but if you are you may also get
help with some of your childcare costs.
You do not have to pay tax on Working Tax
Credit.
 
Child Tax Credit is an allowance for people
who are responsible for a child or young
person. You can get it if you are
responsible for a child who normally lives
with you. You can only make one claim for
each child.
Whether you are entitled and the amount
you might get depends on a number of
things such as your household income,
and the number and ages of the children
you have.
You claim tax credits from HM Revenue &
Customs.
 
Income Support
If you cannot work over 16 hours a week
and do not have enough money to live on,
you may get Income Support. You must:
• be under 60
• have less than £16,000 in savings, and
• work less than 16 hours a week.
You may have to talk to a job adviser to
see if work is an option, before you can get
Income Support. For more information
 
For information on call charges, see page 70.
What to do after a death
 
Jobseeker’s Allowance
Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main benefit
for people who are out of work. If you are
eligible, it is paid when you don’t have a
job and you are looking for work.
There are 2 types of Jobseeker’s
Allowance.
• The first is based on how much National
Insurance you have paid in the last 2 tax
years. We can pay you this for up to 182
days. It is called ‘contribution-based
Jobseeker’s Allowance’.
• The other is based on your income and
savings. This is called ‘income-based
Jobseeker’s Allowance’.
For more information contact Jobcentre
Plus or visit www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
Pension Credit
If you are aged 60 or over, you may be able
to get Pension Credit to top up a low
income, even if you have a small amount of
savings or investments.
You can apply for Pension Credit by
contacting The Pension Service.
 
 
 
Housing Benefit
Housing Benefit is money to help pay some
of your rent and some service charges. You
may be able to get it if you are on a low
income and do not have a lot of savings.
Whether you pay rent to a private landlord,
a housing association, your local council or
a hostel or guest house, you may still be
able to get some Housing Benefit.
Housing Benefit does not pay for interest
on your mortgage, fuel costs (gas and
electricity) and some service charges
(depending on your circumstances).
You are not likely to get Housing Benefit if
you live with a member of your close family.
Council Tax Benefit
This is benefit that helps you pay your
council tax. You may be able to claim it if
you are on a low income and do not have a
lot of savings.
Council tax is the way that you pay for the
local services your council provides. How
much you pay depends on the value of
your home. Usually, the person (or people)
who own or rent the home are responsible
for paying council tax.
If you only want to claim Housing Benefit
and Council Tax Benefit, you need to
contact your local council. Their number
will be in the phone book.
What to do after a death
 
If you are also claiming other benefits, you
may need to make your claim through
Jobcentre Plus or The Pension Service.
Help with health costs
If you are over State Pension age or you
are getting certain benefits (for example,
Income Support, income-based
Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related
Employment and Support Allowance, or tax
credits), when your income is below a
certain level you may be able to get help
with health costs.
 
 
Calls to 0800 numbers are free from BT
land lines, but you may have to pay if you
use another phone company, a mobile
phone, or if you call from abroad.
As at September 2008, calls to 0845
numbers from BT land lines should cost no
more than 4p a minute with a 7p call setup
charge. You may have to pay more if
you use another phone company, a mobile
phone, or if you call from abroad.
Calls to 0300 numbers from land lines and
mobile phones are charged at your phone
company’s national rate.
Calls from mobile phones can cost up to
40p a minute, so check the cost of calls
with your service provider.
Textphones
Our textphone numbers are for people who
cannot speak or hear clearly. If you don’t
have a textphone, you could check if your
local library or citizens advice bureau has
one. Textphones don’t receive text
messages from mobile phones.
What to do after a death
 
Important information about this leaflet
This leaflet is only a guide and does not
cover every circumstance. We have done
our best to make sure the leaflet is correct
as of January 2009.
Some of the information may be
oversimplified, or may become inaccurate
over time, for example because of changes
to the law.
Jobcentre Plus is committed to applying
the principles of equal opportunities in
its programmes and services.
Produced by Jobcentre Plus, part of the
Department for Work and Pensions

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