What to do after the funeral
After the funeral has taken place, there may still be some practical things that you need to organise.
It can feel a little overwhelming, especially after just saying goodbye. Hopefully this practical guide will ease some of the worry and help you feel on top of things.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of some of the jobs you may need to do in the weeks following the funeral like completing any legal documentation, closing social media accounts and arranging a memorial service.
Starting estate proceedings
One of the first things to do is find out if your loved one made a will and where it’s stored. It could be at their home or their solicitor may have a copy. If there is a will in place, it will tell you who the executor is and what your loved one’s wishes were.
The executor is the person who is responsible for dealing with the estate – that includes money, any debts, possessions and property belonging to your loved one.
The will states how your loved one wanted things to be shared. A will is personal to the individual but usually involves the sharing of money and possessions between family and friends. It could also state that they wished for some money to be left to a charity that was special to them.
There’s a couple of things to know about estate proceedings:
1. If the estate’s worth is above a certain amount, the executor will need to apply for a special legal permission before they can deal with the estate – this is referred to as a probate
2. If there’s no will or the named executor can’t act, you’ll need to decide who will be able to sort out your loved one’s estate. This person will need to contact the Probate Registry to apply for Letters of Administration before they can start anything
Dealing with the affairs of someone who has passed can be a lengthy, and an upsetting process. We’d recommend using the Citizens Advice site for more information, and encourage you to talk to someone if you’re struggling and need some extra support.
Notifying organisations and closing accounts
In the weeks following your loved ones death, you’ll need to start letting organisations know. The Government has a free service called Tell Us Once. It means that instead of having to let each organisation know separately, you can just tell them once and they’ll let the below places know that the person has sadly passed away:
If the Tell Us Once service isn’t offered by your local authority, you’ll unfortunately need to let these departments know separately.
Who else do I need to inform?
Most people will have direct debits set up, or sometimes contracts with finance companies. You’ll need to get in touch with them so they can either terminate the contract, close the account, transfer ownership or settle any debts. The Death Notification Service has been created to allow you to notify a number of banks and building societies at the same time. Banks and building societies will normally only take instructions from an executor or administrator.
Here are some of the types of companies you may need to reach out to:
It can be difficult to know who to contact. When you are going through your loved one’s paperwork make a note of who they had accounts with. Although only the executor or administrator can access financial information, anyone can help with other tasks. If you feel comfortable, ask other relatives for support.
It can also be a good idea to redirect their post as it may help you identify any companies you may have missed.
Dealing with social media accounts
Sometimes, social media accounts are overlooked when thinking about things you need to cancel/close down. However, in the following weeks after their death it may be something you want to consider.
A notification on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter reminding you of a memory or birthday can cause a great deal of stress and sadness for you and those around you.
When it comes to taking ownership of their accounts, there are a few things you can do depending on what’s best for you and your family.
1. Delete their account
2. Memorialise their account
3. Leave them as they are
To delete a social media account, you’ll need to contact the site. They’ll normally require a copy of the death certificate along with proof of your identity and information about your relationship with the person who has died.
Deleting an account removes all of the information and photos on there, so if you do choose to close down the account, make sure you have saved anything you want to keep.
A few social media sites will allow you to memorialise an account. This means that the account remains open for you to visit and post messages to but it’s made more private and says that the person has passed.
While this may not be a priority, closing down email accounts is another job to do.
Unless you let all the companies know that the person has passed away, you may still receive emails. This can be difficult for you when you are grieving.
Arrange a memorial service
The main difference between a memorial and a funeral service, is that a memorial takes place without your loved one’s body present. It’s an opportunity for friends and family to pay their respects at a time and place that’s memorable.
A memorial service usually takes place after the funeral. It gives you more time for planning and preparation and means that family who may not have been able to come to the funeral at short notice, can attend.
It’s something that can be held anywhere; at the family home, a local restaurant, community centre or even outdoors at their favourite park or beach. There’s no formal structure either – it’s entirely up to you.
A memorial looks different for everyone. Some choose to share memories, read prayers, sing songs or play instruments. What’s key is to focus on the joy and laughter your loved one brought to everyone’s life – it’s a way to truly celebrate them.