Immediate considerations


Make sure a plan is put in place for pets and anyone that the deceased was responsible for, like children and elderly people.

If the deceased lived alone make sure their property is secure and valuables are removed.

Think about making adjustments to water, gas and electricity supplies. You should also cancel any regular deliveries like newspapers.

Tell the right people

Make sure family, friends, and, if applicable, employers or the place they studied at are all aware. Most people don't really know what to say or do with news like this so perhaps let them know if there's anything they can do to help you.

Register the death

Deaths in Scotland should be registered at any registry office in Scotland within 8 days. To help you later, buy a few extra copies of the death certificate at the registry office.

Find out more about registering a death (National Records of Scotland)

Arrange and have the funeral

A funeral plan may have been created and even paid for already. Check for instructions with family and the person who died’s lawyer if they had one. There may be a family plot or a certificate for burial.

Funeral formats and costs vary wildly. The average cost of a traditional funeral is around £4,000. A simple direct cremation, usually with no ceremony, starts from around £995 - in this case, people often have the ‘ceremony’ at home.

Check to see if the deceased had a funeral plan as that will often cover most of the costs. If the funeral wasn't pre-paid by some kind of funeral plan, then all the costs including the wake/funeral tea should be paid by the estate when money becomes available. If there's enough money in the deceased's bank account, you can ask the bank to pay for it, even while the account is frozen.

Free and impartial advice on funerals (Natural Death Centre)

Financial and emotional support

There are a lot of groups and organisations that can help with understanding loss. A good starting point might be the online chat service provided free of charge by Grief Chat.

If you or your partner received, or were entitled to receive, certain types of benefits there's a good chance you are entitled to extra help.

Information about getting help to pay for a funeral (Scottish government)

Spouses and civil partners who are under the state pension age could be entitled to a support payment(s). Bereavement Support Payment (GOV.UK guidance)

Next - 2. The first few weeks