Losing a loved one is a difficult time for a person to experience. The grieving process differs for everyone. Each individual will have their way of grieving the loss of someone. This even varies depending on the person that they lost. Having to say goodbye will never be easy, regardless of how long or how much you have prepared yourself for that moment.
In the weeks following their passing, many will try and find ways to ease the pain of their grief. Something that could prove to be helpful to have during this overwhelming time is a checklist about what to do after losing a loved one. It can provide some form of guidance to follow to help you navigate a difficult period.
If you need guidance on navigating the following stages of losing someone, here are some legal steps you should follow after losing a loved one.
Registering Their Passing
Following the loss of a loved one, you will have to register their death. Registering for the death should also be done within eight days following their passing. This can be done at the registry office with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, where you will need to provide various information about the person who has sadly passed. The information includes their date of birth, full name and address, job title (if working), name and birth of their spouse, NHS number, proof of address and birth certificate – amongst other key pieces of information.
Remember that only certain people can register the death of your loved one. It could be a relative, anyone present at the death or a legal representative. If registering the death is not something that you are comfortable with doing, know that other possible options could help you. As mentioned, the death has to be registered within eight days. Ensure that this is marked at the top of your checklist.
Documentation Of Death
Obtaining legal documentation of death is an essential step after losing someone. Having the legal documentation of death on hand will be needed to help you access the deceased’s bank and other financial accounts. It will also be required when sorting other accounts in your loved one’s name and filing a claim on life insurance. If you need to start the probate process, you will also need the legal documentation of death to help you get started.
Death certificates can be obtained from a medical examiner or a funeral home. Having multiple copies of the death certificate will be helpful to have. If you need to send any of them off, you can do so and have a spare one on hand.
As mentioned, you will need legal documentation to access personal accounts and information for your loved one. When you have received the information required, you can begin notifying the relevant parties, such as the bank, energy suppliers, broadband provider – anything your loved one was the primary account holder for. This can be a tedious process with various obstacles to overcome. Wherever possible, consider asking relatives to help you with this process. It helps to lessen the load for you, allowing you to focus on other tasks.
Contesting A Will
The processes to go through following the passing of a loved one can be difficult. One step that often proves to be the most challenging is the will. Before their death, the individual will have written a will which states their wishes for what happens to their money, property and all possessions. It is a written statement made by them whilst they are in good health and mind about what should happen to all of their belongings once they have passed. Their funds and belongings often go to their significant other or children. Some will have chosen to write a will themselves when writing a will. Those that wanted to be sure that their belongings and all assets would go to the relevant people will have likely reached out for professional support.
However, there might be some concerns surrounding the will, particularly how it was produced. If you feel strongly about this, you might have grounds for contesting a will. Use the insightful information professionals have provided about contested wills and trusts to help you. It could help you to find the support needed to help you move forward with contesting wills and estates.
Organising A Funeral
The funeral process can begin once the Certificate of Registration of Death has been passed to the funeral director. Planning the funeral and arrangements can begin whilst waiting to obtain this certificate. However, the certificate must be obtained and passed over before the date of the funeral.
When planning a funeral, there are various factors to consider. One of the main ones is if the person will be buried or cremated. Your loved one might have already chosen what they wanted for the funeral and shared this information before passing. Another factor to consider when planning a funeral is whether or not to have flowers. Some attendees might want to send flowers. However, if that was something the person did not wish to do, another option to consider is charitable donations. The chosen charity could be close to their heart or is for research for the illness they might have suffered with.
One thing to keep in mind, regardless of if a cremation or burial is chosen, you will have to apply for authorisation first. To apply for this, you will have to have the death certificate and identification documents on hand.
Staying In The UK
Losing a spouse can be an overwhelming experience. The process of registering their death, sorting their will and all other affairs involved can add more stress and pressure to what is already a challenging period. However, another aspect to consider is citizenship. Those who are not British citizens but married someone who was and has now passed might be concerned about what this means.
You should check the government’s advice on if it is possible to remain if your partner passes could help to provide you with the answers needed. Depending on the partner that has passed, you might be eligible to apply for settlement, which is indefinite leave to remain in the UK, allowing you the right to live. Finding this information out as soon as possible can help to remove this weight off of your shoulders. With peace of mind that you can stay, you can continue completing all the other tasks you have set yourself to complete.
The Bottom Line
The days, weeks, and even months following the passing of a loved one will understandably be a difficult period. During this time, you must be taking care of yourself and reaching out to friends and family when you need support.
If there are any legal areas you are unsure about or need more information, do not hesitate to contact the professionals in these fields. They would be more than happy to support you during this process, helping to clear anything you are unsure or confused about.
It can feel like an endless list of things that need to be completed. Once they have all been checked off, you can begin to carry on with life as you handle grief and navigate life without your loved one. Remember that there is no timeline for when you should stop grieving. Be patient with the process and take each step at your own pace.