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What to do when someone dies

Our bereavement guide

We’re here to provide help with the things you need to do when someone close to you dies – follow our guide to understand the next steps.

  • 1. Register the death

    You must register the death within certain timeframes:

    England – within 5 days
    Wales – within 5 days
    Scotland – within 8 days

    You can do this at the registry office closest to where the person passed away or at your local registry office.

    The registry office will issue you with a death certificate – this is required by most organisations prior to settling any affairs.

    The government's Tell Us Once service allows you to arrange the deceased's governmental affairs and covers a wide range of topics such as pensions and passports.

  • 2. Notify us

    Once you’ve contacted a registry office, please let us know as soon as possible.

    There are several ways to notify us.

    By phone

    Please call us on 0800 068 2238. Our bereavement partners Simplify1 will complete the notification and discuss obtaining probate if required.

    Branch

    If you prefer to speak with somebody in person, please visit your local branch. We’re always ready to listen and help where we can. If you wish to make an appointment prior to your visit, please call our Telephone Banking team on 03457 345 345.

    Online

    You can complete our online form and a member of the team will be in touch via letter to let you know the next steps.

    Post

    If you prefer to write to us, please send all correspondence to:

    Barclays Bereavement Team
    Leicester
    LE87 2BB

    Please note that we will accept notifications from all 3rd parties (such as the Department of Work & Pensions).

  • 3. What happens next

    Once we get the notification, we will do the following:

    • Freeze any sole accounts within 24 hours and issue a letter of condolence. All Direct Debits and standing orders will be cancelled
    • Amend all joint accounts within 24 hours. These accounts will now become accounts in the survivor’s name only. New stationary (cheque books etc.) will be issued. Direct Debits and standing orders will not be changed
    • Notify all relevant departments within the Barclays Group, including Barclaycard, Business and Wealth2. They will contact you with their individual requirements
    • Inform you of everything we need to settle the estate as quickly and easily as possible

    We’ll try to pay the majority of estates under £50,000 within 10 working days of receiving of all required documentation. However, any additional requests or more complex cases will take longer.

    We require a Grant of Probate for any cases above £50,000, however we reserve the right to ask for a Grant of Probate where necessary on estates below £50,000.

    Funds may be released only in part or withheld where the deceased had existing debt elsewhere within the Barclays Group. For further information and advice on next steps, please see our Bereavement Guide below. You can also contact our dedicated Bereavement Team via our freephone telephone number – 0800 068 2238 (option 2).

  • 4. Obtain the will

    Some organisations will require sight of the will prior to settling any affairs. Barclays does not require sight of the will.

    You’ll need to find the last known signed and witnessed version of the will – check the deceased person’s home, their solicitor or their bank.

    A will contains:

    • The last wishes of a person who has died and usually names one or more executor/s who are responsible for carrying out these wishes
    • Who they want to inherit their estate and sometimes special instructions about the funeral

    If there is no will or it can’t be found, the deceased’s estate is distributed according to the law of intestacy, which determines how it’s divided and shared.

    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the laws of intestacy apply and the person who inherits the estate is the next of kin. In Scotland, the Rights of Succession apply.

    For more information about wills, read the government’s guide to wills, probate and inheritance.

  • 5. Contact other relevant parties

    You’ll need to inform organisations such as building societies, utility companies and the Department of Work and Pensions. There are some legal documents, such as passports, driving licences and benefits books, that need to be located and returned.

    You can inform these organisations by phone and it’s helpful to have an account number or reference number before calling. They’ll tell you if they need any documents, such as a certified copy of the death certificate.

    We’ve prepared a checklist of people to contact that you might find helpful.

    If you’re arranging the funeral, you may wish to find a funeral director. We can assist with payment for a funeral as long as there are funds in the estate. There are also some government benefits available to help cover the cost of the funeral – find out if you’re eligible.

  • 6. Deal with the estate

    You are a personal representative if you’re named in the will as executor, or named by the laws of intestacy.

    You can decide whether you want to deal with the estate yourself or appoint a solicitor, bank or specialist probate service to do some or all of the work.

    If the estate is small and probate isn’t required, a personal representative may be able to deal with everything within a few weeks. But if probate is required or the deceased person owned a property, the process may take longer.

  • 7. Obtain probate

    Probate is a term used when you apply for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs. You might also hear it called ‘administering the estate’. In Scotland, a grant of probate is called ‘confirmation’.

    Probate may be needed if the deceased person had assets, such as cash, property, or shares, worth more than £5,000, solely in their name. Barclays require probate if the deceased held funds above £50,000. Probate can take up to 6 to 9 months to obtain.

    If there isn’t a will, instead of probate, you’ll need a legal document called Letters of Administration.

    There are different ways to obtain probate. Here are the 3 options available to you:

    • Full professional assistance – provides a full end-to-end estate administration service. These services are typically provided by high-street solicitors or professional estate-administration companies
    • Partial assistance – allows you to administer the estate yourself and gain assistance from a professional in completing legal processes, such as extracting the Grant of Probate. This approach gives you overall control of the process, but the more technical areas will be completed by professionals such as solicitors
    • Do it yourself – administer the estate completely on your own

    Our bereavement partners Simplify can provide advice and help you to understand your choices further. They can also assist with obtaining probate.

    Please note that there are fees for using Simplify’s services, however, there is no obligation to sign up to any of them.

  • 8. More information

    Paying urgent expenses

    Over the coming weeks, you may need to deal with funeral arrangements, arrange legal paperwork or even pay additional bills.

    We can use the remaining credit balance (once we have settled any outstanding debts/loans) to pay the following expenses:

    • Funeral bills – we’ll require either an estimate invoice for a deposit or a full and final invoice for the full funeral expense
    • Inheritance tax

    Taking money out of a joint account

    As long as you’re one of the named account holders, you can take money from a joint account. All accounts and stationery are amended to the surviving party, which should allow the account to continue running as normal.

    Standing orders and Direct Debits

    For all sole accounts, any Direct Debits or standing orders are cancelled. For any joint accounts, the payments continue but we recommend you review each one to ensure they still need to continue.

    Mortgages

    We’ll notify our mortgage department who will then be in touch to discuss next steps.

    Outstanding loans and overdrafts

    If there’s a loan or overdraft with an outstanding amount held in the sole name of the deceased, we’ll use any available credit balances held by them to pay the balance. Please note, should the balance remain outstanding after 10 weeks from notification, we’ll enlist the help of our probate agent Phillips & Cohen (UK) Ltd, to work with you to settle the outstanding balance of the accounts.

    Where a loan is protected we’ll complete the claim against the protection held on your behalf. If a loan or overdraft is held in joint names, responsibility for the outstanding amount will pass to the surviving party/ies. You can arrange a further appointment to discuss the affordability of the loan or to pay the remaining balance in full by contacting our Customer Services team.

    Credit cards

    We’ll contact Barclaycard on your behalf. They will then be in touch to discuss next steps.

  • 9. Important documents

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