Bereavement: what to do when someone dies

We're here to guide you through the process of notifying us and, when you're ready, deciding what to do next. Your first step is to make sure the death has been registered with your local authority. 

 Savings  accounts    

If the deceased held savings accounts, ISAs or bonds with us, or was a trustee, here's what you need to do.

Mortgages and payments

Find out what to do if the person who has died held a mortgage with us.

Investment accounts

If the deceased held any investments through our financial advice service, here's what to do.

Wills & funeral plans

If your loved one held any legacy products with our trusted partners, here's how to get in touch.

Talk to our Bereavement team

0345 266 1209

Talk to us in branch

Find your local branch

How to register a death with us

There are separate guidelines for registering deaths that took place in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and abroad. In all cases, the law states you have to do it within a certain timeframe.

You'll need to take various documents to your local registrar, including the doctor's certificate showing cause of death and other sources of information about the deceased. If the death occurred overseas or on board a ship or plane, there are different rules.

For more information on registering a death, please refer to the government web page Registering a death.

You can speak directly to our Bereavement team by calling 0345 266 1209 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday. The first person you speak to will become your personal contact – someone who knows your situation and who'll give you straightforward guidance and information whenever you need to call.

As soon as we've been notified of a death, we'll stop withdrawals and payments from sole accounts until the necessary authority has been granted to close the account, for example through probate or our Statutory Declaration if probate isn't required.

You don't have a legal obligation to tell us immediately that someone has died. You can do it in your own time and we'll be here to help when you're ready. However, we believe you'll find it simpler if you do it sooner. Also bear in mind that, if you're responsible for the administration of the estate, you've got a duty to deal with the accounts appropriately and within a reasonable time. 

We need to see one of the following documents so we can formally register the death:

  • the original death certificate or official copy (from your local registrar office)
  • an original coroner’s interim certificate.

You can take any of these documents to your nearest branch or post them to:

Bereavement team
Skipton Building Society
The Bailey
North Yorkshire
BD23 1DN

We'll write to the personal representative or the solicitor acting for them to request any further information we need. We'll also ask for certain forms to be filled in and returned to us.

The process of sorting out savings depends on the types of account held, the balance amounts and if there's a Will. Once we’ve been told about a death, payments from savings accounts held in the sole name of the deceased are frozen. If it's a joint account, once the death is registered, control automatically passes to the other account holder(s).

If there's a mortgage, the personal representatives should carry on making the monthly payments while we make our enquiries, so the loan doesn't fall into arrears and cause complications (the mortgage is a debt of the estate). If this is difficult, our Credit Management team can talk you through your options. You can call them on 0345 850 1766.

Frequently asked questions

Based at head office in Skipton, our team supports bereaved next of kin and personal representatives. They'll guide you through our process of notifying us of the death of a customer and closing the accounts. You can call the team directly on 0345 266 1209 (without being routed through Customer Services) between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

When you call, you'll need to answer a few security questions but you'll only need to go through the details once per call. There might be a limit on the amount of information we'll be able to give you at this time, unless you can prove you're an executor (if there is a Will) or legal next of kin (if there is no Will).

If there's a Will, we'll be able to provide account information to the named executor(s) or the solicitor acting on their behalf. We might ask to see the Will to make sure we're giving information to the right person. If there isn't a Will, see the FAQ below, 'What if they didn't make a Will?'.

If it was written using Skipton's Will-writing service, please contact the Bereavement team, who will be able to find where it is being stored. If you're sure the deceased made a Will via Redstone Wills Ltd, our specialist partner, please get in touch with them on 0808 168 2560. Please note, only the executor is entitled to receive the Will.

If someone hasn't made a Will, this is called being 'intestate'. In this case, we can only give information to certain people. First we speak to the spouse or civil partner, or the solicitor appointed to act on behalf of the estate. If there's no surviving spouse, we might be able to deal with parents, adult children or brothers and sisters.

A GOP gives the appointed executor permission to distribute the assets of the estate. Any total balances held with Skipton Building Society worth over £30,000 will need a GOP (or letters of administration if there is no Will), which is issued by your local District Probate Office. If total balances are below £30,000, you'll need a Letter of Indemnity and/or a Statutory Declaration.

These documents have particular requirements. If you can't meet the requirements for any reason, even if the estate is worth less than £30,000, you'll need a GOP. 

    You can apply to the Probate Registry yourself. Please note, their website also uses the term 'Grant of Representation' for GOP. 

    Alternatively, you can pay a fee for someone to handle this for you, like a solicitor or other professional. Our partner, 1825 Estate and Trust Administration, can do this for you. Read more on our Partnerships page.

    If the balance is less than £1,000, we can accept a Letter of Indemnity, as long as the beneficiaries are the ones solely entitled to the funds held with us and are the spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the deceased.

    If the funds are between £1,000 and £5,000, we can accept a Statutory Declaration form that has been completed in the presence of a solicitor, as long as the beneficiaries are the ones solely entitled to the funds held with us.

    If the balance is between £5,001 and £30,000, we can accept a Letter of Indemnity, as long as the beneficiaries are the ones solely entitled to the funds held with us and are the spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the deceased. This must be provided along with a Statutory Declaration form that has been completed in the presence of a solicitor. 

    In all cases, there must be no assets held elsewhere that require GOP.

    Beneficiaries who don't have accounts at Skipton Building Society will need to bring identification along with the above documents. View or download 'Proving your identity' to see what you'll need.

    Yes, we can release funds to pay for funeral expenses once the death has been registered with us. We'll need the invoice from the funeral directors so we can issue a cheque, made payable to the funeral company. We can also release any amount that's on an HMRC inheritance tax calculation form, subject to the balance of the account, even if this means closing the account. This is called 'withdrawal before probate'.

    If your loved one arranged a prepaid funeral with our partner Dignity, please call them on 0808 301 7743 or visit the Dignity Funerals website.

    Once the death has been registered, if you are the personal representative of the deceased we can talk to you about what will happen next, which depends on the type of mortgage it is. In the meantime, it’s important for the personal representatives to make the monthly mortgage payments and pay for buildings insurance. If making payments is difficult, please call our Credit Management team on 0345 850 1766. They can talk through the options open to you. Find out more on our Bereavement mortgage page.

    Bereavement Advice Centre
    0800 634 94 94

    Citizens Advice Bureau
    03454 04 05 06

    Cruse Bereavement Care
    Births, deaths, marriages and care

    Births, deaths, marriages and care

    Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
    0300 200 3300

    Tell Us Once Service (report a death to most government organisations in one go)
    0800 634 94 94

    Which? probate guides

    Talk to our Bereavement team

    0345 266 1209

    Talk to us in branch

    Find your local branch

    Download the guide

    Our Bereavement guide has more detail on what you need to know at this time.
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