What to do after someone dies

Things to consider when looking after investments or pensions

Even though it can be a very difficult time, there are important financial arrangements you'll need to think about when someone close to you passes away and you are looking after their investments or pension.

What to do after someone dies

If the deceased had a pension or savings product with us, please call 0800 015 1142. We have a dedicated, UK-based team who'll be able to help you.

If the person who has passed had a different Aviva product, visit our help and support section for more information on getting in touch with us.

In the first few days

It's important to start the following tasks as soon as you're ready to. 

  • Get the medical certificate – you’ll need this to register the death
  • Register the death within 5 days – from this, you’ll get the documents you need to arrange the funeral
  • Make funeral arrangements
  • Let government organisations know. Most local councils have a 'tell us once' service, so you don't have to contact lots of different departments. Your registrar should be able to give you details when you register the death 
  • Notify banks and financial organisations such as insurers

If you're dealing with the estate

In the case of a pension, benefits can sometimes pass on to a surviving partner or beneficiary. An executor will manage passing on these benefits to a surviving partner or beneficiary as part of looking after the deceased's estate.

When someone dies their tax position should be reviewed. Often HMRC will only write if they think tax should be refunded or is due from the estate. A letter should be issued within one month of the death being registered, explaining any action required. It's worth carrying out your own check as there may be allowances that can be claimed or transferred to a surviving partner.

You can find out more about this process by visiting the Applying for probate section of the gov.uk website.

If you inherit some money

It may be hard to think clearly following a loved one’s death, so you should take some time to think about how you can best use any inherited money.

The first thing you might want to consider doing with any amount you may inherit could be paying off debts or contributing to long-standing financial commitments such as a mortgage.

Passing on an inheritance to someone else

If you inherit money at a stage in life when your children, or even grandchildren, have more urgent financial needs than you, it may be possible to pass the inheritance directly on to them.

You can do this through a document called a deed of variation. If you're considering this, you should bear in mind that an inheritance can normally be changed only within 2 years of the person's death.

It’s a good idea to employ a solicitor to help with this. And because there are potential tax implications, it’s worth thinking about talking to a financial adviser. Our financial advice page has more information.

What about tax?

There are 3 different taxes you need to think about when you inherit money:

  • Inheritance tax. This is only due if the taxable estate is worth more than the nil rate band (currently £325,000 for an individual, or up to £650,000 for a married couple or registered civil partners). Tax is charged at 40% on anything above the nil rate band and is usually paid out of the estate of the person who has left the money
  • Income tax. You may have to pay income tax if you're going to receive an income on any assets you inherit. This might include interest earned on money, dividends on shares or rental income from letting a property
  • Capital gains tax. You may have to pay capital gains tax if the assets you inherit increase in value between the date of the deceased person's death and the date you sell the assets

More information

Take a look at our practical guide for more information on who to contact and what to consider when dealing with a bereavement.

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Contact us

Still need help? Give us a call.

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