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Bereavement Guide

What to do when a loved one passes away

Sadly, we all go through the loss of loved ones in our lives. Grief is a difficult and stressful time; emotionally, financially and practically. That’s why our savings and mortgage experts, will always be here with a biscuit and a brew to help you through these hard times. There are also lots of charities and organisations, like Cruse and Bereavement Advice Centre that provide excellent grief support and advice when someone you love dies, so you don’t have to go through this alone.

We’ve put together practical steps to take following the death of a loved one, which we hope eases the pressure a little, but please call us on 0345 601 3344 if you need any help.

Step 1 – Register their death

You’ll need to register your loved one’s death within 5 days. A list of register offices can be found here. You’ll need to take the Medical Certificate for the Cause of Death (MCCD) with you. It’s also helpful to take some additional documents, such as a driving licence, passport and a utility bill relating to the deceased, which can make the registration easier and less stressful. The registrar will give you the death certificate, plus any extras you request, and a “green form” which you’ll need to give to the funeral directors.

Step 2 – Make Funeral Arrangements

Once you have the “green form” you can make funeral arrangements. Your loved one may have included details of their celebration of life service in a will or funeral plan. They may have also covered some or all the funeral costs, so it’s worth checking if they had these.

At The Cambridge, once we've received the death/interim death certificate, withdrawals can be made from a deceased person's account for the following reasons: 

  • Funeral Expenses
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Probate Fees

We will also accept a Death Certificate Verification Form directly from a Solicitor. Call us on 0345 601 3344 if you'd like more information on this.

Step 3 – Notify companies and organisations

When you feel ready, start to look at the deceased estate and their paperwork, which may contain personal information that helps update accounts and notify companies.

Start with simpler things, such as notifying banks, utility companies and Government organisations. There’s a handy service called “Tell Us Once” that informs all the relevant Government departments at the same time, including HMRC, DVLA and DWP, so you don’t have to tell them individually.

If the deceased held any accounts with The Cambridge, please refer to our Savings and Mortgage Bereavement guides for what to do next.

You may also be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment or Guardian’s Allowance, so make sure you find out if you’re eligible for financial help and support. Your own pension, benefits and tax allowance may have changed, so it's worth checking these too.

Step 4 – Dealing with the estate

To distribute your loved one’s estate, you may need to apply for probate or letters of administration. If the deceased left a will, the named Executors could apply for probate. If they died without a will, the closest living relative can apply for letters of administration. Probate isn’t always needed so please check before applying. GOV.UK gives more detail about when and how you can apply and the applicable fees.

Anyone dealing with the administration of the estate will need to work out the value of the estate, pay any inheritance tax due and settle any outstanding debts, before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries, according to the will or under the rules of Intestacy.

We know that dealing with a bereavement is hard. But please don’t feel alone, a member of our team will be happy to help and support you where we can. There are lots of charities and organisations that provide dedicated, excellent grief support and guidance. We’ve listed some below, so please give them a call:

Information you may find useful

Legal Glossary


A person's Estate includes everything they own such as:

  • Cash / Bank / Building Society Accounts
  • Insurance Policies
  • Stocks & Shares
  • Property
  • Jewellery
  • Antiques
  • Cars

Statutory Declaration

This is a formal declaration, which names the person(s) entitled to the proceeds of the estate. This form must be witnessed by either a Solicitor or a Commissioner for Oaths.

There are two forms:


The Executor(s) are noted on the Probate/Letters of Administration as being the person(s) entitled to collect and distribute the proceeds of the estate.

Grant of Representation

This can sometimes be known as a "Grant of Probate" or "Letters of Administration".

Grant of Probate (Probate)

Grant of Probate is issued by the Probate Registry Office and is a legal document noting the Executor(s) named in the will, entitling them to collect and distribute the proceeds of the estate.

Letters of Administration

Letters of Administration will be issued rather than Probate if:

  • There is no will
  • The will is not valid
  • There are no Executor(s) named in the will
  • The Executor(s) cannot or are unwilling to act

The person who wants to deal with the estate will have to apply to the Probate Registry Office for Letters of Administration. This person is called an Administrator.

Contact us

We are on hand to help you with any queries or worries you may have. Just call us on 0345 601 3344 or pop into your local store and you'll find a team member who can help.

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