Coping after losing a loved one ...

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When someone dies, certain people and organisations need to be told and certain documents completed.

Some of these things can be done by a close relative or friend; others need to be done by the executor or administrator of the estate.

There is also support available to help everyone through such a difficult time.

You cannot be expected to do everything right away, butwithin eight days it’s important to register the death at the Registry Office. You should also contact a funeral director to begin funeral arrangements – you will need to check the will for any special requests.

The solicitor of the person who has died may have a copy if you can’t find one.

If your late relative was receiving any benefits or tax credits advise the offices that were making the payments.

As early as possible you should contact the executor if this isn’t you – usually nominated in the will to sort out the deceased’s affairs – to enable them to start the process of obtaining confirmation, Scotland’s equivalent of England’s probate.

If there is no will, decide who will apply to sort out the deceased’s affairs.

As well as informing people who are close to the deceased, in many cases you’ll need to close down accounts, or cancel or change insurance details, subscriptions, agreements, payments or direct debits.

The personal representative looking after the deceased’s affairs will also need to check the value of any insurance or pension funds, savings accounts and similar and arrange payment of insurance/ pension benefits and any outstanding tax or debts before distributing the remaining estate to beneficiaries.

A funeral can be either by burial or by cremation.

You can organise it with or without the help of a funeral director, and personalise it as much as you wish.

Many people choose to use a professional funeral director. This can help at what is generally a stressful time, and will ensure that the remains of the deceased are dealt with in a dignified way

In some cases the deceased may have planned their own funeral in advance.

Bear in mind that you can’t finalise the date for the funeral until after the death has been registered.

Remember to check the deceased’s will or other written instructions for special wishes about their funeral or what should happen to their body.

If there are no clear wishes it’s generally up to the executor/ administrator or nearest relative to decide on burial or cremation .

A decision should also be made on the type of any service.