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Where to go for financial advice after a bereavement

Looking at financial matters may feel a bit overwhelming after a loved one dies. To make the process as easy as possible, we’ve come up with a 5 step guide to help you find the right advice.

Help with funeral costs

There are a number of different options available if you’re looking for help from the government with funeral costs, from one-off bereavement payments to council funded funerals.

Claiming bereavement benefits

Along with the options above that help with funeral costs, there are other benefits that you may be entitled to if a loved one has passed away:

If you receive any other benefits, such as Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance etc, your payments may be affected if you start receiving Bereavement or Widowed Parent’s Allowance. Contact your local Job Centre Plus to see if your payments will be affected. If you live in Northern Ireland, please contact your local Jobs and Benefits Office.

Review and amend your insurance policies

If your partner has died, you will need to have a look at their insurance policies and contact them to make changes.

Car Insurance – If you were a named driver on your partner’s policy, you will need to check if you are still covered. Most policies terminate if the main policy holder dies, so will need to contact the provider to either change the details of the policy or to take out a new policy.

Home Insurance – You will need to contact your Building and Contents Insurance provider to let them know someone named on the policy has died, as it may affect your premiums.

Life Insurance – If you had taken a life insurance policy out to provide for your partner on your death, you may decide you no longer need the policy. Similarly, you might have a joint insurance policy that will need to be amended. Get in touch with the provider to find out what options are available to you for the cover you have.

Tax

When someone dies, their estate will normally have to pay any tax due before any inheritance is distributed to their heirs. It might also be the case that your loved one has paid too little or too much tax, and HM Revenue & Customs will have to make an adjustment to their Income Tax calculation. This could lead to the estate either owing tax or receiving a tax rebate.

In order to deal with tax and benefits, use the Tell Us Once service. This is a service that allows you to inform many government organisations about the death of your loved one in one go. Once you’ve done this, HMRC and the Department of Work and Pensions should contact you about your loved one’s tax, benefits and entitlements automatically.

See the Money Advice Service website for guidance on paying tax after a loved one dies.

Coping with Debt

If the death of your partner has left you with debts to pay, there a certain steps you can take to ease the worry.

Talk to the companies, local council, or anyone else you owe money to. Explain your situation and let them know how much you can afford to pay them. There are independent debt advice agencies you can contact to help you with this.

Mortgage/Rent worries – contact your mortgage lender if you are struggling about keeping up with your repayments to find out what options are available to you. If renting, let your landlord know to see whether they can help by possibly reducing your rent for a period of time. Find out if you are entitled to any government support whether you are renting or own your own home.

Prioritise Debts – all of your debts may seem equally important, but it’s important to split them into priority and non-priority. Priority debts are things like your mortgage, rent, secured loans, tax, and some utilities. Failure to pay these debts have much higher consequences than things like credit card or unsecure loan debts.

Free Help – there is support available if you’re struggling to pay your bills and manage debt. They can support you in talking/writing to lenders and can offer you a personalised debt plan. If you would like help, try contacting the following organisations: