what steps to take if a loved one dies

When a loved one dies, whatever the circumstances, it has a profound effect on close friends and family.  Naturally feelings of sadness and shock can be overwhelming and sometimes the need to communicate with someone close is the first reaction, to share the grief and get emotional support.  However, there are procedures that need to be followed, some more immediate than others, depending on the circumstances of the death. If the person has died at home and the death is expected due to terminal illness or serious illness/disability for which the Doctor has been treating the patient, then you may feel the Doctor should be your first call and he/she may well issue a Medical Certificate showing the cause of death which you can then take to the  Register Office (within 5 days of the death)  and the Registrar will register the death and issue a Death Certificate, for which there will be a charge, it is a good idea to purchase extra copies as they will be needed for the Will and official correspondence informing of the person’s death, e.g. Banks/building Societies, Pension companies etc. The Registrar will also give you a Certificate for burial or cremation and a certificate of registration of death. Remember Registrars are used to dealing with bereavement and will happily advise you professionally on any queries you may have.

Having contacted and spoken to the Doctor, you can contact a funeral director and proceed with the funeral arrangements.

If someone dies in hospital, the hospital will usually issue a Medical Certificate and they will advise you on procedures and what you need to do regarding the transfer of the body to a funeral parlour or chapel of rest etc.

If someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly at home it may be appropriate to contact the Dr so that they can confirm the death, if you don’t know the persons doctor or it is out of hours then dial 111 and they will advise you what to do. When the cause of death is uncertain it is not unusual for it to be reported to a Coroner who will investigate the death in order to establish the cause. In these circumstances they may call for a post mortem or inquest to be carried out to assist with the investigation and the funeral may have to be delayed while the process is implemented.

Priority has, of course, to be given to the care of dependants and pets of the deceased. If  the deceased’s , it is important to property is to be left empty it is important to make sure their home is safe and secure. Hopefully a Will is in place and provision made therein for family and pets.

It may be worth mentioning here that if the deceased has left a valid Will he/she may have stipulated how they wanted certain if not all aspects of the funeral to be dealt with, for instance some people specifically wish to be cremated others buried, and some people want a specific type of burial for example, a woodland burial or there may be a funeral plan in place or a preference as to where they are buried or in the case of cremation where and how they would like their ashes to be placed/scattered.

It’s important to remember that a time of loss and grief, friends and relations usually prove to be extremely sympathetic and supportive.


  • As long as you have mental capacity, from the age of 18.
  • As soon as you have valued assets and/or people you care about is probably the right time to write a Will.
  • If you don’t have a Will, assets may pass to the Crown.
  • You can use a Will to prevent your assets being lost to your children should your partner remarry after your death

Most people in the U.K. are over 50 when they get around to writing a Will but it’s important to remember that none of us know what the future holds or how long we will live. The current Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted our fragility and made people think about their own mortality, something most of us would prefer not to dwell on. Even without the pandemic there are risks all around us and yet people often wait until someone they know, or are close to, dies or becomes seriously ill, before they start thinking about making a Will.

A Will places reduces uncertainty. There are many important reasons for making a Will. The main reason is to protect those you love in the event of your death.

It is not uncommon for people to assume that if they are married and they die without having made a Will (intestate) their entire estate will automatically be inherited by their spouse. This is not necessarily the case. If you die without a valid Will then those you leave are forced to rely on the Intestacy Rules (the law) to deal with your affairs and your estate may not go to the people you want. Indeed, it may revert to the Crown.

Without a Will, if you are married or have a civil partner and no children your estate will be inherited by your spouse/ civil partner. If you are married or have a civil partner and you have children, your spouse/civil partner will inherit your possessions and the first £250,000 of your estate, the balance to be shared with the children. If, however you and your partner have not married or joined by civil partnership, unless there is a valid Will in place, your partner does not have an automatic right to inherit your estate, regardless of the length of time you have been together.

It is possible to protect your family’s future further by setting up a Property Trust within your Will thereby ensuring you are leaving your property to those you love and that it will not pass to a future spouse of your partner by intestacy, or indeed get absorbed by care fees.

Obviously, if you have children under the age of 18, it is extremely important to make a Will, in which you can address the personal issues of nominating guardians who you would trust to love and care for your children when you are no longer here to do so. Life is uncertain, death arguably more so, a Will should be viewed as an important part of long-term planning to protect your loved ones.

If you’ve any questions about estate planning or to get a will written – Get in Touch



Estate Planning
  • Accommodate loved ones, financially, when you’re gone
  • Appoint guardians
  • Minimise conflict


It is not difficult to understand or appreciate why Estate Planning is so important to most of us. After all you are dealing with your total estate, which over your lifetime you have worked hard to accumulate. You are also dealing with the most important people in your life, the people you love and you want to protect. So there you have it, it’s about protecting your estate and protecting your loved ones, the most important things in life and to ensure that both are looked after and managed in the best way possible, when you are no longer here or unable to supervise or manage events yourself.

For parents of young children one of the top priorities to consider is their upbringing, should the unthinkable happen. Who would raise them? What sort of education would they have? Where would they live? Who would feed and clothe them? In other words, who would be best placed and willing to love and nurture them as closely as you would have yourself, and of course where would they be happiest, in other words, guardianship. Quite a number of major decisions to make in just that one part of planning your estate.

Then of course there is the distribution of your estate.

A Will would be a priority in estate planning, where you are able to name Guardians for your children, if appropriate, and to write down where and how you wish your estate to be distributed after your death. You also name the Executor/s chosen to manage the distribution of your Will.

Having done that, estate planning goes further and should make the process easier for the Executor/s and Attorneys, by stating the reasons for your wishes in detail and making clear where such documents such as, Bank Statements, Insurance Policies, Investments, Power of Attorneys, Any mortgage details etc., are stored and how they can easily be identified. An Estate Plan may also make clear how you would wish your affairs, such as property, finances and child care, where necessary, to be handled if you were to lose mental capacity during your lifetime.

Lasting Power of Attorneys are an important part of Estate Planning, with the potential to protect assets in life, for successors. Use these to nominate a person/s to look after your financial affairs should you lose mental capacity during your life time. They also give you the opportunity to nominate someone to make health decisions, for you, if and when you should not be able to do so yourself.

It maybe that you would like to leave a letter to your family and friends explaining your bequests in writing, in order to avoid misunderstanding and distress at a difficult time. You may wish to leave specific instructions regarding your funeral.

Finally, it is important that all these documents are stored safely and that the executor/s of your will are informed of their whereabouts.

If you’ve any questions about estate planning, call Confidence Wills now on 0121 231 7010.

Pre-Paid Funeral Plan Costs

Pre-Paid Funeral Plan

Funeral costs are the first thing to come out of your estate after you die, and can significantly reduce the amount you leave. Their organisation may also place undue pressure on those left behind.

  • PRICE: The average cost of a funeral today is £5,000-£6,000. But critically the average annual growth in the cost of a funeral has exploded in recent years to above 7%, ahead of house prices.
  • COMPLEXITY: organising a funeral has been compared to organising a wedding, in around 10 days, whilst experiencing extreme emotion.
  • AVOIDANCE: Most of us don’t wish to think about it in advance because it’s tangible and relates to mortality, so fail to plan.

The effects of these three factors are arguably interactive.

The bereaved have the responsibility and difficult task of arranging a major event in a short time frame (typically less than ten days). This involves making decisions such as: location; organising a Church Service (or not); cortege; choice of casket/coffin etc. On top of this are a plethora of options/ extra expenses, including (but not limited to): flowers; newspaper notices; wake (after-funeral gathering), the list goes on.

A funeral director may (correctly) advise the bereaved that the average cost of a funeral is currently between £5,000 and £6,000. The funeral director may have been established for tens if not hundreds of years, with offices/parlours filled with symbols of reverence and competence. With no ill intent, they might establish such figures as ‘normal’.

At a time of grief, the bereaved are often happy to be guided by the funeral directors, simply because they are in a state of emotional turmoil, having lost a loved one and feel under pressure of time to get matters finalised.

Under such conditions, it’s all too easy, when organising a funeral of a loved one, to conflate certain ‘extras’, such as a costly coffin or an expensive wreath, with the affection felt for one who has passed. Costs may quickly spiral.

Death is an inevitable part of the life cycle, a funeral is an extremely personal event and who better to decide how this proceeds, than the deceased themselves, while they are alive and able to do so. This is not so easy, however, as it is demands reflection on a time when one is no longer here. The best time to think about such matters is when undertaking other end of life tasks, such as writing a will.

A pre-paid funeral plan allow costs to be fixed in advance (nb. not all providers guarantee to cover future costs, the CO-OP is one large organisation which does). Key planning decisions can be made, based on what the plan holder thinks important for their funeral, and not informed by the grief of the bereaved. Enormous pressure can be relieved from those left behind.

By taking out a funeral plan the decisions & choices will have been made and the costs covered!

If you have any questions about pre-paid funeral plans contact Confidence Wills now on 0121 231 7010.


Remote Sign
  • Remote will instruction taking continues to be fully valid
  • The Ministry of Justice has indicated intent to legalise of ‘video’ witnessing for a limited period
  • The Ministry of Justice suggests this change in law will be retroactive covering wills made in 2021


Video witnessing of wills expected – Most people would like to think that their possessions and property, such as they are, would pass to the people they love upon their demise, which is of course the object of making a will. The Covid 19 pandemic has sharpened our senses in this respect, in other words many of us have become more aware of our mortality.

It has also presented us with difficulties to overcome. Having made a will, often with the help of professional will writers to guide us through the process. In order for the will to be legal it has to be validly executed, i.e. the Testator (the person making the will) must sign their will in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses have to be able to see the testator sign the will. In normal circumstances this would not be a problem.

However, during the current pandemic, life is anything but normal! Where people have been locked down, self-isolating and in some cases shielded, social distancing is essential if we are to protect ourselves and others from being infected with this potentially deadly virus.

Witnessing the signature of the testator may prove difficult if physical contact is to be avoided.  Many people have resorted to signing their wills through closed windows where witnesses can see the signing of the will, the will then being passed through the window to the witnesses for them to sign, all parties wearing masks and taking protective precautions. Whilst this is certainly achievable it can be stressful and inconvenient.

So GOOD NEWS!  Earlier this year the Law Society announced that they were in talks with the Ministry of Justice to discuss emergency measures that could be put in place to allow wills to be validly executed safely during the pandemic.  Many of us have had to adjust our way of lives in order to achieve social distancing and stay safe. One of the biggest changes is the level of online shopping! We’ve done it and actually many of us have got used to it and now prefer it! Well it makes sense to use our computer skills to sign and witness wills by video link, using apps such as Zoom or Skype, with which many of us have become familiar over the last few months and indeed many will writers have used to take instructions remotely.

This move would mean that the current requirement in the Wills Act 1837 that the witnesses need to be ‘present’ would no longer mean physically present as long as the witnesses have line of sight of the testator signing their will, which can of course be achieved by video link.  It makes sense and of course the world has moved on somewhat since 1837 when Queen Victoria ascended the throne!

The Ministry of Justice are expected to announce that this change to the law will have retrospective effect and will apply to any wills executed after 31st January 2020, which means that any testators who have resorted to video witnessing during the recent difficult months will not need to get them re-signed at a later date.

This is not expected to be a permanent change though. It is expected to reviewed in two years time.

We look forward to the official announcement from


  • Allow loved ones to manage your affairs should you lose mental capacity.
  • Can be used before you lose mental capacity, perhaps if you are physically disabled.
  • The powers given to attorneys can be wide ranging or narrow.


The benefit of having a Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney in place is never truly appreciated until you need it.

The very thought of losing mental capacity is a terrifying prospect for any of us, imagine not being able to remember how to access your bank account or even where it is, this is just one example. The ramifications are extensive and scary.

You must make an LPA whilst you are still capable of making decisions for yourself.  This is called having mental capacity.

Thanks to modern medical science we all hope to live long and healthy lives but of course it isn’t always that way and of course it isn’t just illness that can overtake us and disrupt our lives and the lives of our loved ones, the unexpected can happen, such as accidents, brain damage or even the side-effects of medical treatment which can severely affect our ability to cope.  Contemplating the unthinkable is uncomfortable.  Conversely, however, it is comforting to know that in the event that anyone of us should find ourselves in the unfortunate position of not being able to cope with our own affairs, someone we know and trust, would be prepared and equipped with a Property and Finance Lasting power of attorney to act on our behalf and in our best interests.

The person you choose to be your property and financial affairs attorney is able to make or help you (the donor) make decisions about things like:

  • Money, tax and bills
  • Bank and building society accounts
  • Debts
  • Property investments
  • Pensions and benefits
  • The Attorney can use the donor’s money to look after the donor’s home, i.e. necessary repairs etc., and to buy anything they need to live from day to day, like food, toiletries and clothes.
  • The Attorney can buy family members birthday presents & cards etc., the personal things that you’ve always done and have meant a lot to you.
  • A Property and Financial Affairs Attorney can discuss decisions affecting the donor’s living arrangements, medical care etc with your health and welfare attorney, if you have one.

All the things that we do on a daily basis ourselves when we are well.

If you want to make an LPA which only deals with certain matters, you should make sure that it is drawn up carefully so that the attorney is clear about what authority they have when dealing with your affairs. A Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney can be used before you lose mental capacity and indeed immediately, if you so wish, or only when you lose mental capacity.

You can have as many attorneys as you wish, although it is common to appoint between one and four. Sometimes, for instance, a parent of one or more children, may wish to appoint all of them as attorneys depending on their situation. These may be appointed jointly or severally. It’s advisable not to have too many attorneys, as it can cause difficulties if lots of people are trying to act on your behalf at the same time and of course you must discuss the fact that you would like someone to act as  your attorney with them before appointing them. Not everybody would be happy to take on the responsibility and some people may not have the time to devote to the task. If you decide to appoint only one attorney you can nominate a reserve.

If you’d like to learn more about these crucial powers of attorney, visit www.confidencewills.co.uk and have a no-obligation conversation with one of our experienced consultants.



Lasting Power of Attorney Cost.
  1. Ordinary or General Power of Attorney. A short form document that can only be used while the donor still has mental capacity.


  1. Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. For use, after mental capacity is lost, a document that enables trusted parties to make decisions for others on matters such as life sustaining treatments.


  1. Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney. For use both after and/or before mental capacity is lost, this document allows management of financial matters for a loved one.


  1. Enduring Power of Attorney. An instrument that was replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney in 2007.



A Power of Attorney (“POA”) is a legal document by which one person (“the donor”) gives another person (“the attorney”) the power to act on their behalf. It’s a major decision for both parties to undertake.


The donor has to be sure that he/she is happy to hand over personal responsibilities to someone they completely trust, giving them the power to make decisions on their behalf, sometimes life changing decisions, depending on the type of POA they choose.


The first and foremost consideration for the donor is the reason why they are considering it.


Is it simply that they are getting older and are aware that as age creeps on it can bring with it the prospect of dementia or illness which would render them incapable of conducting their own affairs?

Or maybe a spouse/partner has died and the person left behind on their own doesn’t feel capable of handling certain aspects of life, such as financial affairs, investments etc. and wishes to relinquish the responsibility.


Sometimes the onset of disease or long-term illness brings with it the realisation that in the future decisions about care and welfare may have to be made for and when the person concerned may be incapable of making such decisions.


One thing is clear and that is that the donor has to be able to completely trust the person they choose to be their attorney to act in their best interest. They also have to be satisfied that the person they choose is capable of administering their affairs.


Having chosen the Attorney, it is then important to choose the most suitable POA;


  1. ORDINARY or GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY can provide the attorney with general authority over the donor’s estate. It can be limited to particular transactions and for a particular period of time, for instance if the donor required an attorney to act for them in their absence whilst working or living abroad for a period of time. It cannot be used for personal welfare.


There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:


  1. Property & Finance Lasting Power of Attorney


Gives the attorney the power to manage the donor’s financial affairs in a responsible manner and in the best interest of the donor. Such factors may affect residential care, and avoid bills going unpaid.


  1. Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney


A Health and Welfare Attorney makes, or helps the donor to make decisions about their daily care, medical care and if necessary where the donor resides. Consents for critical medical treatments may depend on a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.


  1. New Enduring Powers of Attorney may not be made as these have now been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney.


It is well to remember that;


  1. Lasting Powers of Attorney are put in place to help and protect people in their time of need.


  1. The person invited to act on their behalf, the attorney, also has to make the decision to accept the responsibility based on the amount of work involved and the trust bestowed upon them.


  1. In the unfortunate event that you lose mental capacity for whatever reason and a Lasting Power of Attorney is not in place, The Court of Protection would appoint a Deputy. This would require a court order and annual supervision which would incur significant delays and fees.


If you would like support in creating these critical documents visit www.confidencewills.co.uk or call 0121 231 7010.

Funeral Plan Checklist

Funeral Plan Checklist
  • Organising a funeral has been compared to organising a wedding in its complexity;
  • Decisions must be made in a short time frame at a time of bereavement
  • The process can be overwhelming, planning in advance is a good idea



Funerals present a unique challenge at a difficult time. With average costs now rising about £5,000 and expected to exceed £10,000 by the end of the decade, planning in advance is a good idea. The below gives an idea of some of the factors that you will need to consider in planning a funeral.



Funeral Plan Checklist

Organizing a funeral requires a lot of time. Often, the process involves a lot of pressure, and this might force you to dole out a lot of money. Besides being time-oriented, the emotions involved might result in some hiccups amid the planning process. For this reason, we have highlighted a detailed funeral plan checklist below.


To get the best funeral service, you should focus on the budget and the location of the event. If possible, go for companies that might allow a pre-paid funeral plan. You might be lucky to find experts to help you do the planning bit as you mourn the deceased.


Think about the best flower that would match the message you are trying to pass. There are many types of them, and you must ensure that the right type of flowers is available on time. If possible, you can check with online retailers to pick one that best suits your budget.

Date and Time Planning

The date and time of the event should be carefully planned so that it does not inconvenience anyone willing to attend. Most of the time, it is safe to do it over the weekend when most people are out of work. Also, it should be done in the afternoon to allow everyone enough time to get organized to attend the event.

Personal Requests

Make sure to pay close attention to the deceased’s special requests when they were still alive. If their wish was to be buried in a private cemetery or to be cremated, it is important that you do your best to honour that. Also, it is okay if some requests are impossible to meet; however, there needs to be some effort toward meeting most of them.

Doctors’ Fees

If the doctors’ fees are not cleared, this is the best time to do so. Talk to the doctors about pending payments and arrange to have them cleared on time. In case the information is unclear, ask for proof so that you only pay for the actual pending fees.

Gravedigger Fees

Ask yourself about the gravedigger fees and how they will be paid. You must make this arrangement in time so that the resting place is ready when the body arrives at the cemetery. The fees vary among diggers, which is why there is a need to budget for this.

Contact with Bereaved

When arranging the burial, the bereaved should be contacted regularly. They need emotional support to get through the tough times. Therefore, in your checklist, you want to give this a priority and make sure that it is done.

You can contact them via phone calls, emails, or messages sent on the phone. Also, try to see them in person so that they do not feel lonely. Assist them in any way possible and genuinely show them that they are not alone. While working on the plan, make sure that the deceased is well taken care of at all times. To get premium services from experienced organizers, it is advisable to consider a pre-paid funeral plan.


Confidence Wills work with the country’s best funeral planners and are able to support you. Contact us now on 0121 231 7010 or email info@conofidencewills.co.uk for more information.




Private funeral
  • A PRIVATE FUNERAL is when a small gathering of immediate family and close friends, attend by invitation only.

Although most celebrities usually have private funerals, the average services are open

to the public.  There are good and understandable reasons for choosing a private funeral.

First and foremost, of course is it’s private.


  • Some people have led very private lives and may request that their funeral be a quiet     intimate affair with only their close family and friends in attendance. The family may feel

they want privacy at a very emotional and difficult time because they are unable to cope with their grief in public.


  • It maybe that the person arranging the funeral just can’t cope with organising a large gathering in their state of grief. Also, expense and budget may come into it and that is certainly a private decision and nothing to be ashamed of.


How many times have you heard someone say “I went to his funeral; the church was packed!”

Suggesting that somehow that it was an indication of the deceased’s popularity! Whilst that may be so, I don’t think that it is necessarily the case! It may just be that they were a member of a very large family or worked for a large company or belonged to lots of organisations, possibly represented by people that were unknown to them!

Conversely the fact that a private funeral is not attended by lots of people is also no reflection on the popularity of the deceased! But simply the choice of the people concerned.

A private funeral reduces the pressure on the organisers of the occasion, financially and emotionally. Whilst providing a meaningful and intimate funeral for their loved ones, the pressure of having to have a top of the range casket, an expensive showy floral display, several funeral cars and an expensive wake may be avoided.

Emotionally a smaller private funeral means you can grieve without the pressure of having to conceal your grief, in a room full of people, some of whom you may not know.  You may not feel strong enough to socialise and exchange small talk with a lot of people at such a difficult time. A private funeral also avoids the need for prolonged funeral planning thus removing the stress when least able to cope with it and at a time when you would rather focus on coping with your grief and the grief of others who were close to the deceased.

Another advantage of a private funeral is that there are many ways for close friends and family to celebrate the life of the deceased for instance, why not choose to go to the deceased’s favourite restaurant and share memories together, or if its summer time how about a picnic somewhere peaceful, it’s a huge comfort to be with people you love and trust and share a happy time to remember for ever, something special between just you and your nearest and dearest.

It is of course, a very personal choice, and it really is a case of what you feel you want at the time and also what the deceased may have chosen.



Want to know more? Talk to us…

No pushy sales people, no jargon, just clear, helpful information, contact Confidence Wills now on: 0121 231 7010 or email info@conofidencewills.co.uk.



Why have a funeral service
  • Humans have held some form of funeral service for those they have loved and lost throughout time it would seem.  Grief comes naturally and is very painful to suffer and a funeral service is an opportunity to express and share that grief with friends and family.


  • A religious service is an opportunity to pray for the soul of the person you have lost and to connect with your God on a personal level thereby reducing the sense of total loss.


  • If it is a non-religious service it helps to acknowledge that someone we love has died and the gathering for the service of friends and family provides a support system.


The sort of funeral service will depend on a variety of aspects not least of course the desire of the deceased person. I have known people who have passed over who have planned their funeral service to the last detail, choosing the hymns, speakers, guests, their choice of flowers, even where the wake should be held.  Others don’t wish to discuss it or even think about it and leave it to their family or friends to decide. It’s a very personal matter and some people don’t want to think about death or anything associated with it. Perhaps death and the prospect of leaving the world behind frightens them. Whatever the reason it’s their choice.

If there are no plans or requests in place by the deceased then it is often the nearest and dearest who decide on the type of funeral service and it is often based on the knowledge of and the relationship with the deceased. My mother would never discuss funeral arrangements, satisfied that she had made a will stating her wishes for her estate and she had put in place a power of attorney, she would laugh and say, “make sure you have a party and the girls wear pretty dresses” so we did our best and knowing that she loved red roses her coffin was covered with them!

She had been a war time bride and so the music in the church was one of her war time favourites,

‘We’ll meet again’ and I hope we will. She had lived a long and happy life. Of course, it’s very different if someone has died tragically in an accident or prematurely of illness, or even before they’ve had a life, at birth or shortly afterwards. However someone dies or at whatever age, the loss for those that loved them goes deep and whatever sort of funeral service is decided upon, be it a large gathering or an intimate small gathering, it is, in my opinion an occasion for a very special opportunity to say a final Goodbye and as we celebrate every birth of a new life so we are able to celebrate the joy of having known and loved the person we’ve  lost at whatever type of funeral service we or they choose.




Want to know more? Talk to us…

No pushy sales people, no jargon, just clear, helpful information, contact Confidence Wills now on: 0121 231 7010 or email info@conofidencewills.co.uk.