Benefits and Finances Before and After a Funeral

What To Do After A Death In England & Wales

The Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) website explains what to do following a death, either in hospital or elsewhere.

Look at the page what to do after someone dies and also the page death and benefits which is a basic guide on benefits and tax credits available to those who have been widowed.

Funeral Payment from the Social Fund

This is for help towards the cost of a funeral. It depends on the circumstances of those arranging the funeral, not those of the person who has died. It is a one off payment from the Social Fund. If you are on a low income and faced with costs that are difficult to pay for out of your normal income, the Social Fund may be able to help with costs for funerals.

How do I claim?

A funeral payment claim form and information on other ways to claim are available online.

Time Off for dependants

Time off for dependants is a right allowing employees to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with certain unexpected or sudden emergencies and to make any necessary longer-term arrangements Compassionate Leave, advice from GOV.UK.

All employees have the right to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant including arranging or attending a dependants funeral.

Registering A Death

See the General Register Office website for information about the process of registering a death.

Other helpful links

Age UK produces over 40 comprehensive factsheets designed to answer many of the questions older people - or those advising them - may have. For information and advice on arranging a funeral view the Age UK website. They produce a large number of factsheets and leaflets on a variety of useful subjects that is informative for all age groups. Visit the Age UK Website home page or if you would like to view particular bereavement related documents you may click on the links below and download the documents.

Making your Will

Information on making your own will. Including witnessing, going to a solicitor, appointing an executor, revising and storing your will, taxes on your death and what will happen if you do not make a will.

Dealing with someone's estate

The dealing with an estate factsheet is aimed at people aged 60 and over. When a person dies, somebody has to arrange the funeral and deal with the estate (the money, property and possessions owned by the person who has died). This factsheet provides information on the ways in which the money may be collected, the debts paid and the balance distributed to those who are entitled to receive a share in the estate.

Planning a Funeral

The planning a funeral factsheet briefly explains arrangements that can be made in advance for a funeral. It gives information about what to do when someone dies and refers to other organisations that may be useful. It also provides an explanation of funeral grants available for older people aged 60 and over and on certain types of benefit. Many people wish to plan their funerals in advance, and/or to know that they have set aside the money to pay for them. A letter can be left with a will specifying the arrangements for the next of kin to follow. You can also discuss arrangements with funeral directors in advance. This could be useful if there are no immediate relatives who will be available to make arrangements. The name of the funeral director can then be kept in a safe place with other important documents, such as the will. Some funeral directors will accept payment in advance.

How to be an Executor

The purpose of the how to be an executor factsheet is to give instructions to a member of your family, a trusted friend or executor upon your death. It is mainly about funeral arrangements and your financial affairs.

This form is not a will and does not deal with what should happen to your property or savings. Even if you own very little, we would advice that you make a will, otherwise your possessions will be distributed according to legal regulations rather than your own wishes.

Age Scotland provides a range of leaflets and publications for the over 50s and those working with them as their may be differences in advice for Scotland. Please go to their website to view their factsheets, which may be able to help with your concerns.

HM Armed Forces

If the deceased died as a result of service in HM armed forces, you may be entitled to a War widow/widowers pension. The Veterans Agency is the single point of contact within the Ministry of Defence for providing information, help and advice on issues of concern to veterans and their families. It does this through its free helpline.

Citizens Advice Bureau

It is important to make a will because:-

    • if you die without a will, there are certain rules which dictate how the money, property or possessions should be allocated. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money and possessions to be distributed
    • unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner
    • if you have children, you will need to make a will so that arrangements for the children can be made if either one or both parents die
    • it may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on the inheritance if advice is taken in advance and a will is made
    • if your circumstances have changed, it is important that you make a will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. For example, if you have separated and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your will. If you are married or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous will you have made invalid.


Last Updated: 30 November 2017