- A Guide to Funerals and Funeral Directors
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Letting people know

The bereaved should do their best to let as many people as possible know about the death. This usually means telephoning close relatives, friends and work colleagues; they in turn can help by passing on the news, especially if asked to do so.

Employers will often make an official announcement to all their staff that a colleague has passed away, while schools and universities usually make a similar announcement to all their pupils. They may ask you if you wish for news of your loved one’s death to be broadcast in this manner.

One traditional way of reaching a broader public is to put an announcement in a national or local newspaper. Printed announcements can also be mailed to everyone in the deceased’s address book.

It is important, above all, that those who might wish to attend the funeral are informed as quickly as possible.

Announcing a death on the Internet

The Internet can be hugely useful resource when it comes to announcing a death, allowing you to broadcast news that others will be able to access worldwide.

There are two main types of Internet announcement. The simplest replicates the kind of "death notice" traditionally found in the main national newspapers, which tells readers briefly about the dates and circumstances of the death and the funeral arrangements. This kind of announcement can be found on websites such as

Several funeral directors also have a space on their website where customers can publish information about the death and the funeral to follow.

The second kind of announcement replicates the obituary columns in the newspapers, where an entry can give a fuller account of the life and death of the deceased. This acts more as a long-term memorial. There are a number of websites that provide a free online obituary service, in many cases allowing you to personalise an entire profile for the deceased with photographs and tributes, and also allowing visitors to write their own personal tributes, give a gift and even light a virtual candle. See, for example,

Details of funeral arrangements and obituaries can, of course, be posted on a social networking website, or sent by an email. Whether this will be considered appropriate or not will depend on the circumstances – but remember: people prefer to be informed by whatever means rather than not be informed at all.

Who else should be informed?

Various authorities, businesses and institutions also need to be informed about the death. These include insurance and pension companies, the social services, the tax authorities, the local authority (for Council Tax), banks, building societies and other financial institutions, utility companies, any business receiving direct debit payments or standing orders, professional associations, and so on. A passport or driving licence should be returned to the relevant authorities, and car registration papers need to be altered to show changed ownership.

This task may look mountainous, but common sense will be a good guide as to whom should be contacted, and the priorities; less obvious candidates will reveal themselves through standing orders in bank accounts and through the post over a relatively short period of time.

There is a useful and pretty comprehensive checklist of people who might need to contact available on the Directgov website page called What To Do After A Death.

As of 2011, if you live in certain parts of the country you may be eligible for a new government service which informs other government agencies that a person has died on your behalf after you’ve registered a death, such as the Passport Service and DVLA. The website will inform you if you live in one of the areas where this scheme is in operation.

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