As a high priority you should ensure that all assets belonging to the deceased person are secured.
This is important as it won’t take long for the death to be known in the neighborhood and both professional thieves and local opportunists will look to see if they can take advantage of the situation.
Secure all property
Your first task, if the deceased person’s home is unoccupied, is to ensure that it is completely secure. In this regard, you should contact the insurance company providing building and contents cover to inform them of the death and make arrangements for ongoing insurance cover.
You should also inform the utility companies providing electricity, gas and water to the property as these services should be maintained. You will need to take responsible for these supplies to ensure, for example, that the water pipes don’t freeze in cold weather.
Check the car
You will need to ensure that any car owned by the deceased person is locked and parked somewhere safe and secure.
You will need to inform the insurance company providing cover as this will cease as at the death of the policy holder.
Remove valuable personal chattels
You should arrange for the removal of valuable personal items from the property for safe keeping.
You should consider compiling an initial inventory of valuable items to be agreed with all members of the close family. This will avoid a common problem where items are taken away by individual family members for ‘safe keeping’ and not reappearing.
You should inform the insurance company of what you are doing with valuable items as the details of the insurance cover will need to be amended.
Redirect the post
You should arrange with the Post Office for the redirection of post to the house of one of the personal representatives.
Make special arrangements for the funeral
You should ask someone to stay in the family house during the funeral service. Local burglars will know when the service is taking place and will take advantage if they can.
Keep a record of callers
You should keep a full record of personal callers, telephone calls, letters and notes received so that these people can be thanked later and also to ensure that all comings and goings can be accounted for.
Cancel documents and passes
To reduce the risk of identity theft, you should cancel, and where necessary return, such items as the deceased person’s passport, driving licence, bus pass and library card.
The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.