For many of us the process of death management is a complete mystery until the day we have to deal with it ourselves.
The complicated legal terminology, the pile of administrative tasks, and the requirements to be met can, at times, feel overwhelming. Especially when you’re having to learn everything as you go.
What most of us are equally unaware of, is that there are a wealth of free resources out there, designed to support and guide you throughout this process.
From online resource pages to one-to-one appointments with a professional, there is free help out there, if you need it.
Free online resources and helplines
While Age UK doesn’t offer any legal advice, their support team can connect you to the best resources for your specific situation. In addition to their knowledge of practical resources, they can also provide you with emotional support, and the opportunity to outlet your feelings in a safe space.
They can guide you through the process, and their national advice line is completely free. You can call any time between 8:00 – 19:00, 365 days a year.
Age UK free helpline: 0800 678 1602
We’ll cover the government’s free legal advice services in more detail below, but the GOV.UK website also contains key resources that outline every aspect of the death management process.
Their portal acts as a great starting point, for anyone who is completely in the dark about the steps that they need to take.
You can access the GOV.UK website here.
National Bereavement Service
The National Bereavement Service is a non-profit organisation that offers specialist legal advice and emotional support to the bereaved.
While some of their services come at a small fee, their telephone helpline is completely free for callers.
During your call, a member of their team will offer you specialist advice, guide you through legal protocol, answer any of your questions, and outline the next steps in your process.
You can call the National Bereavement Service’s free helpline on: 0800 0246 121
Or, You can access the National Bereavement Service here.
Free legal advice
Citizens Advice provides a free service, offering both in-person appointments at your local Citizens Advice centre, or over the phone.
They can provide advice pertaining to a wide variety of queries, including death management and writing a will.
With an appointment, you can seek free, professional advice about the next steps to take, after a loved one has passed away.
Or, for quick answers, the Citizens Advice website provides a wealth of resources about legislation and the death management process.
You can visit your local Law Centre to receive free legal advice about death management and the surrounding legislation.
Or, if you would prefer, Law Centres also offer a free telephone service. Visit the web page of your local Law Centre to find their contact number.
Find your local Law Centre
Some trade unions can also provide members with legal advice, outside of work-related legislation.
So, it may be worth speaking to your union representative, to see whether they can provide you with legal advice about death administration.
You can access the Trade Union Congress website here.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for legal aid.
Legal aid is a government support provision, which can help applicants cover the cost of legal advice. If you are receiving a low income and meet the required criteria, then this financial support can enable you to speak to a lawyer, without the high costs.
If you would like to find out more about other forms of support that the government offers to the bereaved, we have a dedicated blog post, outlining what financial help is available after a death.
Free services that can aid the administrative process
Tell Us Once
Tell Us Once is a free government service, which enables the bereaved to send death notifications to the deceased’s local authority, plus government departments and agencies, all in one go.
Through the service, you can inform all of the required government bodies, without having to contact them one by one. These include the DVLA, the government’s Passport Service, the body that arranges benefits payments, and many more.
The free service is available for use after you have registered the death, and can be accessed here: Tell Us Once
Life Ledger provides a free solution, which works in a very similar way to the Tell Us Once service.
The difference is that Life Ledger enables the bereaved to manage accounts with the commercial companies connected to the deceased.
This will include things like utility providers, banks, telecoms companies, subscription services and pensions providers, to name a few.
And, should you need any further information, Life Ledger also has a page of resources for the bereaved, providing answers to common questions, and explanations of the legal terminology used in the death management process.