Death Admin

What is death admin?

There are two kinds of death admin:

1. The death admin we have to do after someone we love has died

  • This is sometimes called ‘deathmin’ or ‘sadmin’
  • This involves things like registering the death, putting together a funeral, and closing accounts. For some people, it also involves legal processes, such as Probate, where you wrap up their estate and make sure the wishes that are laid out in their will are followed.
  • This kind of admin can take months to finalise.

2. The death admin or ‘deathmin’ we do to plan for our own death

  • This involves things like writing your will, sorting out life insurance and laying out your funeral wishes.
  • Historically, this can take hours and involve endless forms and meetings with different experts.

Frustratingly, both kinds of death admin don’t have a step-by-step template that you can follow - the admin involved depends on a whole host of different factors, this can make it complicated and overwhelming. This sometimes means we put off our own death admin, or it can add further stress whilst we’re grieving.

How to sort someone else’s death admin after they’ve died?

We know, from first-hand experience, that this can be a really overwhelming time. We’ve laid out some easy-to-use templates to make this kind of death admin, or ‘sadmin’ quicker, easier and less stressful, so that you can get back to focusing on what’s really important.

What death admin do you have to do when someone dies?

1. Register the death


  • This step has to be completed within 5 days, before anything else happens.

How to register the death?

  • Follow this process here.

2. Once you’ve received the death certificate make lots of photocopies of it


  • Lots of institutions and businesses will require a death certificate before any next steps, but they’re often bad at returning them. Sharing copies with them avoids the original getting lost.

3. Start to organise the funeral

We know that this process can be overwhelming, so we’ve created a list of poems and readings that you can look to for inspiration here.

4. Notifying the Government about the death


  • This is important to avoid admin headaches with government departments like HMRC down the line.

How to notify the Government about a death?

  • You can save time by doing this via a government initiative called Tell Us Once. It does what it says on the tin - you should only have to notify the government once and then they will automatically tell other government departments that cover things like benefits, car registration, the electoral roll, and sometimes even pensions.

What do you need to notify the government about a death?

  • The person’s driving licence & password
  • Their personal details
  • A copy of the death certificate

5. Notify private banks and companies about the death


  • This will end any automatic payments or subscriptions, as well as avoid the painful process of being chased for payments down the line.

How to notify banks, phone companies or other accounts about a death?

  • Frustratingly, there’s not quite an equivalent of Tell Us Once for private companies or banks. However, there are a few platforms that are trying to do something similar. Notifying them should at least save you some time and stress.

What do you need to notify private companies about a death?

  • It can vary, but generally, you’ll need:
  • The person that died’s driving license & password
  • Their personal details
  • A copy of the death certificate

6. Start the process of wrapping up the estate of the person that’s died.

What is an estate?

  • This is just a legal term that refers to anything they owned - such as any property, or items.

How to wrap up an estate?

  • This varies from person to person, but it includes things like:
  • Checking if you are due any bereavement benefits
  • Checking if you need to pay inheritance tax
  • Seeing if you need to go through the legal process of Probate - this is required in around 50% of cases.
    How do I know if I need probate?
  • You can find out if probate is relevant for you by taking this quiz

How to sort your own death admin?

Anyone who’s lost someone knows that the admin you have to sort out after someone has died adds an extra layer of stress at a time when you need it the least.

That’s why lots of people choose to lay out a clear plan way ahead of time, to make life easier for the people they love when that day eventually comes.

This involves things like:

Sharing your funeral wishes: Laying out your wishes for your funeral, including whether you want to be buried or cremated, and choosing any readings, songs or poems that you might want.

Writing a Last Will and Testament: Have a say in what you want to happen to your estate, property or who you want to look after any children under the age of 18 when you die.

Appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney: Choose someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you’re ever not able to - this covers things like your finances and property, as well as your health and welfare.

Sorting Life Insurance: This gives your family or loved ones the gift of financial security in the event of your death, by providing them with a lump sum payment if you were to die or become terminally ill.

Creating a way of sharing your passwords: This makes it easier for your loved ones to close accounts and end monthly payments or contracts.

Creating a plan for your social media accounts: Decide what happens to your accounts when you die - you can appoint friends/family to run them on your behalf or choose to close them down altogether.

Putting aside money for your funeral: The average funeral in the UK costs £4,000. Setting money aside ahead of time avoids those costs falling to your loved ones.

Historically, this has been a pretty hectic process - involving many different parties - solicitors, insurers, funeral directors as well as endless forms. Because of this, people often put off sorting their death admin, because it can feel like a meaty, expensive task that can wait till another day.

After Sam, Octopus Legacy’s founder lost his Mum suddenly in 2016 he wanted to change that - he and his family had felt the impact of having no plan in place first-hand, and he wanted to create a solution so other families wouldn’t have to go through the same.

Now getting started with your death admin is pretty simple and can be done in a matter of minutes - no forms, no meetings, at half the cost.

How to sort your own death admin in a matter of minutes:

Just take this free 1-minute quiz - you’ll learn what you’ve already ticked off, and what still needs sorting. These tips are always tailored to you and your particular life situation. You’ll leave with a clear list of priorities and the option to tick them all off your death admin to-do list in minutes, with our easy-to-use, online tools, such as our Online Will, Online LPA Forms and Online Life Insurance.

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