We understand that when a loved one passes away, on top of the overwhelming emotions faced, there is also an astounding amount to do. We are here to support and guide you through some of the practical and financial related matters during this difficult period. Here are some key steps you need to take.

First Steps

Register the death

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland this needs to be done within five days and in Scotland within eight days. If you are able, do this at the register office for the council in which the person died. The registrar will give you a Certificate of Registration of Death. Most organisations will need to see original documents, so we recommend you buy extra copies.

The government website has information on registry offices and the documents you may need to take with you.

Locate the will

If there is a will, try to locate this as soon as possible as it will help you deal with the estate. You will need to find the last known signed and witnessed version. If you cannot find it at the deceased’s home, their solicitor or bank may have a copy. A will usually names one or more executors, also known as personal representatives. They are the people who will be responsible for dealing with the estate of the deceased.

If someone dies without making a will, or you cannot find a signed copy, they are said to have died ‘intestate’ and usually, the next of kin becomes the administrator of the estate. To find out more about what to do if there is no will, visit https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will. There is a simple online tool to help you understand who is entitled to a share of someone’s money, property, and possessions when there is no will.

Notify us

Call or email your/the deceased’s relationship manager. If you do not know the relationship manager, our Client Support Team can guide you to the right person. The relationship manager will be your point of contact throughout this difficult time. They will talk you through any documentation required and ask you for a copy of the death certificate before changes can be made to an account. They are also here to support you.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7012 2600 
Email: privatebanking@arbuthnot.co.uk

Arrange the funeral

Once the death has been registered, you can arrange a funeral. You may already know the deceased’s funeral wishes, or there may be instructions in their will. We are able to send a payment directly to the funeral director upon receipt of an invoice.

Managing the estate

Once we are notified of a death, your relationship manager will inform all other areas of Arbuthnot Latham which the deceased had a relationship with. We will freeze any sole accounts to stop withdrawals. If you are a named executor and choose to deal with the estate yourself, you may have to receive and pay out large sums of money. One way to keep track of these transactions more easily is to open a dedicated Executor Account. Our Bereavement Guide contains more information on Executor Accounts as well as the probate process.

We will also cease any marketing updates/newsletters from being sent. Occasionally, as these are prepared in advance, you may still receive some in the initial period after notifying us. We try our utmost to prevent this from happening but if you do receive anything, please accept our sincere apologies.

Contacting other organisations

As well as telling friends and family of the death, there will be several organisations that you will need to inform such as other banks, utility companies, and life insurance providers.

The Government’s 'Tell Us Once' is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. When you register the death, the registrar will either complete the Tell us Once service with you or give you a unique reference number to use the service yourself by phone or online.


You can find more information in our Bereavement Guide.



Frequently Asked Questions

Definition of terms


  • Administrator – the individual appointed to manage an estate when there is no legitimate will, or where the executor is unable or resistant to act.
  • Asset – anything with a financial value belonging to the deceased, for example money, property, or personal possessions.
  • Beneficiary – a person entitled to inherit funds or other property under a will or trust.
  • Confirmation of the estate - In Scotland, this is the legal document obtained from the court after a death. It is the equivalent to the Grant of Probate in England & Wales.
  • Death certificate – the legal document the registrar gives. It is a copy of the entry in the death register that and includes the date, cause and location of death.
  • Estate – all assets owned by the deceased.
  • Executor – the individual(s) named in a will who will be carrying out the wishes expressed in the will.
  • Grant of probate – the legal document authorising the executor to manage the deceased’s estate.
  • Grant of representation – a general term for a document containing evidence that someone has been legally appointed to deal with the estate of a deceased individual.
  • Inheritance tax – the tax paid to HMRC on the estate of the deceased.
  • Intestacy – when someone dies without leaving a valid will.
  • Legacy or bequest – a gift to a person or a charity in a will.
  • Letters of administration – the official document that gives the personal representative the right to manage the estate when there is no will.
  • Personal representative – the executor or administrator responsible for managing the deceased’s estate.
  • Power of attorney – a legal document when you appoint someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf.
  • Probate – the legal right to manage the deceased’s money, property, and possessions – also known as ‘administering the estate’.
  • Probate registry – is part of the HM Courts and Tribunal Service, responsible for issuing the grants of representation.
  • Trustee – the person responsible for managing or holding assets for the benefit of someone else.
  • Will – a legal document stating what a person would like to happen to their assets after they die.


Help from other organisations

Bereavement support

NHS Bereavement Support – Get help with grief after bereavement or loss - NHS

Cruse Bereavement Support – cruse.org.uk

Grief Encounter – supporting bereaved children and young people griefencounter.org.uk

The Bereavement Advice Centre – bereavementadvice.org

Age UK – ageuk.org.uk

Child Bereavement UK – childbereavementuk.org/

Widowed and Young – supporting those who have lost a partner before their 51st birthday – widowedandyoung.org.uk/

The Samaritans - confidential, non-judgemental support all day, every day. Visit samaritans.org or call 116 123.

Funeral services

National Association of Funeral Directors – nafd.org.uk

The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) – saif.org.uk

Practical advice

GOV.UK how to register a death and has a step-by-step practical guide to bereavement – gov.uk/after-a-death

The Probate Service - Guidance on dealing with probate and inheritance tax – gov.uk/applying-for-probate

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) - Practical advice on managing an estate with implications such as tax, trusts and benefits. gov.uk/topic/personal-tax/inheritance-tax

The Bereavement Register - This service can help reduce the amount of direct mail being sent to the address of a person who has died. thebereavementregister.org.uk/

Citizens Advice free, independent, confidential and impartial advice on your rights and responsibilities – citizensadvice.org.uk

The Money Advice Service – moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/dealing-with-finances-and-insurance-after-your-partner-dies

Step Change Debt Charity – stepchange.org/debt-info/bereavement-and-debt.aspx

Contact Client Support

Please contact us if you cannot find the information you need.

Divorce & Separation

We can help you understand your current financial position and how to take control of your financial future.

Support with your finances

There may be times now or in the future when you or someone close to you needs support with managing finances. We can guide you through this.