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What to do when someone dies

What you’ll need to do first

There are some important steps you’ll need to take when dealing with a death. Some of these are unrelated to financial matters, but you may need some of these documents when speaking to us and dealing with the estate. 

Registering the death

Locating the will

Arranging the funeral

Notifying us

Dealing with the estate

Letting other organisations know

Registering the death

When someone dies, their death must be registered.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland this needs to be done within 5 days. In Scotland you have 8 days.

You can do this at any register office, but if you use the one in the location where they died, they can give you the documents you’ll need on the same day. You can find your nearest register office online at www.gov.uk/register-a-death, where you can find information about any local restrictions and how to make an appointment.  

Locating the will

If the person who’s passed away had a will, locating this as soon as possible will help when dealing with their estate.

You’ll need to find the last known signed and witnessed version of the will. If you can’t find a will at their home, their solicitor, bank or financial adviser 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.

What happens if there isn’t a will?

If someone dies without making a will, or if you can’t find a signed will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’.

To find out more about what to do if there’s no will, visit the government online guidance page. It has a simple online tool to help you understand who can inherit the estate.  

Arranging the funeral

Once the death has been registered, you can arrange a funeral. You may already know what sort of funeral the deceased wanted, or there may be instructions in the will or other papers.

One important decision is how much to spend. Funerals can be expensive, and may need to be paid for immediately unless a funeral plan exists.

You can find out about the help you can get with paying for a funeral in our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153 KB).

If there aren’t enough funds in the account of the deceased to cover the funeral cost, we can make a partial payment using what is available. In some cases, the Government can provide help towards the cost. To find out more and see if you’re eligible, please visit these helpful web pages: 

Notifying us

We have a dedicated bereavement team to support you during this time. The quickest and easiest way to let them know if you’ve lost someone, is by using our online notification form. Once you’ve completed this, the team will be able to review your case before they get in touch to let you know about the steps you may need to take.

You can also call our team on 0800 085 1992 to notify us.

The bereavement team are available from 08:30 to 18:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00 to 14:00 on Saturday (excluding public holidays). 

Dealing with the estate

Once we’re notified of a death, our bereavement support team will get in touch to explain the next steps and timescales.

We’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK which have a relationship with the deceased. We’ll freeze any sole accounts to stop withdrawals, but we’ll still allow money to be paid in.

If you're an executor and choose to deal with the estate yourself, you may find yourself receiving and paying out large sums of money. One way to keep track of these transactions more easily is to open a dedicated Executor Account with HSBC.

You can find out more about what happens to different accounts and products held by the deceased and the documents we may need to see in our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153 KB). It also explains what probate is and has more about our Executor Accounts.

We’ll stop any marketing messages from being sent. However, you may still receive some because these are prepared several weeks in advance. We try to prevent this happening, but if you do receive anything, please accept our sincere apologies.

Letting other organisations know

As well as telling friends and family of the death, there will be a number of organisations you’ll need to inform, such as other banks, building societies and utility companies.

You can use the government’s Tell us once service to inform most government departments at the same time.

You can also use the Death Notification Service to notify financial institutions at the same time.

Contacting us

Call us

0800 085 1992

or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if you're calling from outside the UK

General enquiries

0345 850 0088

Lines are open 8:30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays 9am to 2pm (excluding public holidays).

Visit us in branch

It’s easy to answer your query online. Visit our Help page to find out how.