Bereavement

Losing someone close to you turns your world upside down. At the same time, you’re often faced with what feels like a mountain of practical tasks to deal with after the death. 

Use this action plan for bereavement to help you navigate what can be a stressful and upsetting time.

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Actions to help you get through bereavement

Take steps to manage the practical, physical and emotional issues you're faced with. 

  • Read our guide to bereavement

    Understanding how bereavement can affect your body and your emotions can help you move forward. If you haven't already read our guide.

  • Take care of practicalities

    If the person you lost died quite recently, make a list of practical actions you need to take.

    This can include letting people know, registering the death and arranging the funeral, as well as things like checking for important paperwork and informing organisations like their pension provider. 

    The government has a step-by-step checklist you can use to make sure you've covered everything.

  • Get help with money

    Find out if you're entitled to financial support or help.

    The government has a bereavement service helpline (0345 606 0265) where you can find out about benefits and how to get help with funeral payments. Or use these handy benefits and grants checkers from Turn2US to see if you’re getting everything you’re entitled to.

  • Seek advice on probate and legal matters

    If you’re worried about probate, or there are any legal matters you don’t understand or need to sort out, seek professional advice.

    Contact the government deceased estate helpline (0300 123 1072) to get specialist advice on probate and inheritance tax.

    If you need legal advice, but you’re worried about your ability to pay for it, your local community law centre or the Law Society may be able to help.  If you're in work and your employer has an employee assistance programme (EAP), contact them to see if they can help.

    If you’re worried about the debts of the person who died, StepChange debt charity can give you impartial guidance.

  • Get help and support from others

    Accept offers of help and support from friends and relatives, talk to them about your feelings and, if you feel like it, about the person who has died. 
     
    If you’re not getting the emotional support you need from family or friends, you can use this directory to find a bereavement counsellor who can help.
     
    The charity Cruse Bereavement Care offers support and advice over the phone and in some areas they have local offices who might be able to help. 
  • Ask your employer for support

    Tell your manager about your situation and make sure they're clear on how much you want your colleagues to know about your loss. If the thought of accepting their condolences worries you, ask your manager to request that colleagues are asked not to refer to your bereavement. 
     
    Many organisations now have specialist support available to those who are grieving and you should ask your HR team if you can get reduced hours, other adjustments or bereavement counselling through your employee assistance programme (EAP).
  • Care for yourself

    Grieving can be a deeply painful and stressful time, so it’s important you care for yourself. 

    Make sure you eat properly, get enough sleep and get out and about. You might also find that meditation, deep breathing techniques, massage or listening to music helps you relax and reduces your stress. And it’s also important you give yourself time to grieve and don’t bottle up your feelings. If you’re angry, scream and shout and bash a cushion with a rolling pin to vent your feelings. 
  • Speak to your GP

    If you’re having physical problems, speak to your GP. 

    The death of someone close to you can have a huge impact on your body as well as your emotions. You’re likely to feel exhausted, especially if you were caring for the person before they died. Strong emotions and dealing with all the practical things that need to be done after a death can also leave you feeling drained. And you might find you have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite and get ill more easily.

Next steps

Use our actions to set up your own personalised to-do list to help you deal with the practical and emotional issues that arise after a bereavement.