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Utilities & Other Notifications

Gas and Electric

You may not need to do anything with the gas and electric suppliers dependent upon circumstances. If the deceased was the named account holder then you will need to inform the gas or electricity supplier. This can be done by letter and will not normally require a death certificate to be supplied if all you want to do is change the name on the account without interrupting the supply. You will need the address of the property and the account numbers. You should also supply meter readings from around the date of death so that debts owed by the estate are properly assigned.

It is worth checking whether there is a fixed price contract in place and if so, when it expires. If you are acting for the family of the deceased make a note of the expiry date of the contract well in advance and search the market for better tariffs. If nothing is done it is often the case that the price will revert to a higher tariff once the fixed price contract expires. If the deceased was the sole occupier of the property it may be sensible to turn off the gas supply but beware of doing this in periods of cold weather as it may be better to leave the heating to come on each day. Make sure that the meters for empty properties are read regularly to ensure that the correct bills are issued and the supply is not disconnected for failure to pay.

If you do not know which energy supplier (electricity and gas) the deceased used and cannoy locate a recent bill you can find out the supplier via the meter number. For further details click here to link to the relevant Ofgem site.

Water

As with the gas and electric supplies, you will need to inform the water supplier if the deceased was the named account holder – this can be done by letter. You will need the address of the property and the account number shown on a recent invoice. If there is a water meter you should provide a reading from soon after the death.

If the property is to be left empty for a period of time be alert to the danger of burst pipes in cold periods in an empty property. It is worth considering getting a plumber to drain the system and disconnect the water supply. Check the property insurance to see if burst pipes and leaks are covered.

Powers of Attorney

If the deceased had issued a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney(EPA) the person dealing with their estate will need to send the original document. together with an original death certificate, to the Office of the Public Guardian:

PO BOX 16185, Birmingham, B2 2WH

Tel. 0300 456 0300

Council Tax

If the TellUsOnce service operates in your Local Authority area then it should notify the local council that levies Council Tax, otherwise you will need to inform the Council yourself.

If the house becomes unoccupied as a result of the death then no council tax will be owed until six months from the date that probate is obtained. If the property is unoccupied after this time then council tax will be payable less 10% reduction until the property is sold. However, if the property is cleared of furnishings after probate is granted then a six month tax free period starts afresh.

If the property was rented then the tenancy is considered to be ended when the keys are returned to the landlord and no tax is payable. Possibly more important is the fact that the surviving party may be eligible for a Council tax reduction of 25% if they are a single occupant of the property. This will need to be advised to the Council and a new reduced invoice will be issued.

Other matters to consider in this regard are whether it is necessary to inform the Council if the deceased was receiving a Council tax reduction by virtue of a disability which will no longer apply. Housing benefit and council tax benefit will also need to be reviewed if they were previously paid to a couple. A surviving partner should also check whether they have become eligible for these benefits.

If there are arrears of Council tax anyone still living in the house is responsible for the arrears even if their name is not on the bill.

TV Licence

If the deceased was the licence holder you will need to change the name on future licences. See TV Licensing. The current licence will remain valid.

You will need the name of the licence holder, the address of the property and the name of the new holder. You don't need to provide a death certificate. If the licence held by the deceased was a free, over 75 one, it will continue to be valid until it expires. The new holder will need to apply for a new licence in their own name. If they are also over 75 they should make the application at the earliest opportunity.

If following the death of the deceased the property will be empty, the TV licence can be cancelled using the link below and the estate may be entitled to a refund. Refunds are available for complete unused quarters that remain on a TV Licence at the point it was no longer needed. Only the executor of the deceased licence holder's estate can apply for a refund in these circumstances. This can also be done online or by letter. See TV Licence Refund.

Telephone

Notification of a death to a telephone service provider can typically be done by telephone. Accounts can be transferred or closed, usually without having to supply a death certificate.

Mobile phone

Check whether the deceased held a mobile phone and if so, whether it was on a contract. It may be necessary to cancel the contract following the death. This can be done by letter and you will need the mobile phone number, the name of the deceased and the account number from a recent invoice. If you are unsure as to whether there is a contract check the bank statements to ascertain if there is a regular monthly payment going out of the account.

If the deceased used a mobile phone but the account was in someone else's name then that person will continue to be responsible for the contract. It is not strictly part of the executor's duties, but the only courses of action would normally be to pay early termination penalties or to continue with the contract, possibly transferring it to someone else.

It is not possible to get a refund on 'Pay As You Go' mobiles and after a period of time any credit will lapse. It may therefore be worth using the phone to avoid losing the credit held on it.

Satellite TV

You may need to contact the provider if the deceased was the bill payer to change the name to a surviving party in the house, or to cancel the service if the property of the deceased is now vacant. Check first whether the satellite TV provider also supplies the telephone and/or broadband service to the property.

Broadband

You may need to contact the broadband supplier if the deceased was the bill payer to change the name to a surviving party in the house, or to cancel the service if the property of the deceased is now vacant.

Alarm maintenance

If the property has an intruder alarm you may need to contact the supplier if the deceased was the bill payer to change the name to a surviving party in the house. If the property will be empty following the death of the deceased it will be necessary to inform the alarm maintenance company and to give them a new telephone contact number in the event of the alarm going off.

Newspapers

Following the death of the sole occupant of a property remember to cancel any daily newspapers that are delivered. The build up of papers and post is a sure sign to a potential intruder that the property is unoccupied.

Milk deliveries

Following the death of the sole occupant of a property remember to cancel any milk deliveries.

Motor vehicles

If the deceased owned a motor vehicle the driver vehicle licensing agency (DVLA) should be notified via the TellUsOnce process. However depending on what is planned for the vehicle it may be necessary to complete a part of the V5C registration document (if you have it).

Selling the vehicle

If the vehicle is to be sold you should write to the DVLA explaining your relationship to the deceased and the date they died. Since car tax can no longer be transferred you should also inform the DVLA who any refund should be made payable to. If the sale is to an individual fill in section 6 of the V5C, give the green "new keeper" slip to the new owner and send the rest of the V5C to:

DVLA Sensitive Casework Team, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ

If you are selling the vehicle to a car dealer fill in section 9 of the V5C, get the dealer to sign and date it and send section 9 to the DVLA, giving the rest of the V5C to the motor dealer..

If you don't have the V5C then tell the buyer to fill in form V62 to apply for a V5C. You will need to write to the DVLA at the address above stating the date you sold the vehicle, your relationship to the deceased, the date they died, who any refund of car tax should be paid to and the buyer's name and address.

If you plan to keep the vehicle you will need to inform the DVLA and tax it in your own name. If you have the V5C registartion document then fill in section 6 and tear off and retain the green "new keeper" slip. Write to the DVLA at the adfress above stating your relationship to the deceased, the date they died and who any refund of car tax should be paid to.Send the V5C document with your letter. Use form V5C/2 to tax the vehicle in your name.

If you do not have the V5C fill in form V62 to apply for a V5C (a £25 fee applies). Write to the DVLA explaining your relationship to the decesased, the date they died and who any refund of car tax should be apid to. Send the V62 and your letter to the address above.

Further details can be found on the DVLA website here.

The value of the vehicle will need to be included in the estate. A valuation can be obtained from a local dealer or you can usually obtain one online at no cost. Try Glass's.

Car insurances

You will need to inform the car insurers particularly if the policy is in the name of the deceased and there are other drivers named in the policy. If the deceased was the only driver named in the policy and you intend to retain the vehicle pending transfer or a sale you will need to inform the insurers to make sure that it is still covered in the event of a theft or fire even if it is not used. If the car insurance is continued make a note of the renewal date and ensure that a competitive quote is obtained. Many people still do not seek alternative quotes when their insurances are due for renewal and substantial savings can be made for the same cover and service.

If cover is still required remember to make sure that premiums will continue to be paid, particularly if they are currently paid from a bank account or credit card that will be frozen.

Motor breakdown assistance

Advise the provider of the death of the insured if they are the first named person on the policy or cancel the policy altogether if cover is no longer required and seek a refund if paid annually. If cover is still required remember to make sure that premiums will continue to be paid, particularly if they are currently paid from a bank account or credit card that will be frozen.

Appliances insurance

Advise the provider of the death of the insured if they are the first named person on the policy or cancel the policy altogether if cover is no longer required and seek a refund if paid annually. If cover is still required remember to make sure that premiums will continue to be paid, particularly if they are currently paid from a bank account or credit card that will be frozen.

Doctor, Dentist and Opticians

Whilst the doctor for the deceased will have been notified of their death it is also worth informing the local dentist and optician. Not only does this remove the patient from their records, but more importantly it stops future reminders for check-ups which can be distressing.

Meals on Wheels

Contact the social services department of your local authority to cancel meals on wheels if the deceased was in receipt of them.

Season tickets

If the deceased held a season ticket of any sort an application should be made for a refund of the unused element. This may not always be paid but could be substantial for matters such as train travel.

Magazine subscriptions

Subscriptions to magazines and periodicals should be cancelled on the death of the deceased unless any surviving parties still wish to receive them. Check where the payment is made from as it could be made from an account or credit card which will be frozen once the bank or card issuer is notified of the death.

Redirecting mail

If the property is unoccupied following the death of the deceased mail should be redirected to the executor’s or close family member’s address. This will ensure that important mail is received and will avoid any build up of post in an empty house. By doing this you will also ensure that you are able to check the post for any investments, credit cards etc. that you were not initially aware of. Mail can be redirected for any period up to 2 years and can be redirected to UK or overseas addresses. The cost per annum is currently £62.99 for 12 months. You can arrange this online.

Stopping unsolicited mail

The continuing receipt of unsolicited mail addressed to a deceased person can be upsetting. It can be stopped quite simply at no cost by telephoning the Deceased Preference Service on 0800 068 4433 or online at the Deceased Preference Service.

Income Tax refund

Every taxpayer is entitled to a full year of personal allowances in the year of death. If the deceased was in receipt of any earned income (including pensions) it is very likely that the estate will be due a tax refund. This may be paid automatically as a result of the TellUsOnce service but it is worth checking that this has been done. If you want to speak directly with HM Revenue and Customs you will first need to inform them of the death and send them a copy of the death certificate.

Other refunds

It is worth checking for other areas where a refund to the estate may be possible. Examples can include subscriptions to professional bodies, membership of sports clubs, gym memberships, health insurance, breakdown insurance etc. Not all organisations will refund unused parts of the fees but it is always worth applying for one. This also avoids upsetting and embarrassing invitations being sent to the deceased and many professional and sporting organisations will carry obituaries in their publications.

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