Tell Us Once

Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go.

This guide is also available in Easy Read format.

The Tell Us Once service is not available in Northern Ireland. Find out who to tell about a death in Northern Ireland.

How to use Tell Us Once

A registrar will explain the Tell Us Once service when you register the death. They will either:

  • complete the Tell Us Once service with you
  • give you a unique reference number so you can use the service yourself online or by phone

The registrar will give you a number to call. This includes Relay UK if you cannot hear or speak on the phone. If you’re a British Sign Language (BSL) user, there’s a video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet.

You must use the service within 28 days of getting your unique reference number.

If you cannot register the death because an inquest is underway, you can still ask a registrar for a unique reference number. You’ll need to get an interim death certificate from the coroner holding the inquest first.

Before you use Tell Us Once

You’ll need the Tell Us Once reference number that you got from the registrar.

You’ll also need the following details of the person who died:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • date they died
  • name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with their estate (property, belongings and money), known as their ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’
  • if there’s a surviving spouse or civil partner, the name, address, telephone number and the National Insurance number or date of birth of the spouse or civil partner
  • if there’s no surviving spouse or civil partner or their spouse or civil partner is not able to deal with their affairs, the name and address of their next of kin
  • if they died in a hospital, nursing home, care home or hospice, the name and address of that institution - you’ll also be asked if the stay was for 28 days or more

You may also need:

  • if they had a passport, their passport number and town of birth
  • if they had a driving licence, their driving licence number
  • if they owned any vehicles, the vehicle registration numbers
  • if they were getting services from their local council, such as Housing Benefit payments or Council Tax reductions, the name of their local council and which services they were getting
  • if they were getting any benefits, tax credits or State Pension, information about which ones they were getting
  • if they were getting money from an Armed Forces Pension or Compensation Scheme, details of that scheme
  • if they were getting money or paying into public sector pension schemes, details of those schemes
  • if they were getting money or paying into Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS), details of those schemes and their National Insurance number

Unless they were involved in a LGPS, you do not need their National Insurance number. If you can still provide it though, it will help some organisations match their records faster.

You need permission from any surviving spouse or civil partner, the next of kin, executor, administrator or anyone who was claiming joint benefits or entitlements with the person who died, before you give their details.

Use Tell Us Once online

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Organisations Tell Us Once will contact

Tell Us Once will notify:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - to deal with personal tax and to cancel benefits and credits, for example Child Benefit and tax credits (you need to contact HMRC separately for business taxes, like VAT)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - to cancel benefits and entitlements, for example Universal Credit or State Pension
  • Passport Office - to cancel a British passport
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - to cancel a licence, remove the person as the keeper of up to 5 vehicles and end the vehicle tax (you must contact DVLA separately if you either sell the vehicle or keep it and tax it in your own name)
  • the local council - to cancel Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support), a Blue Badge, inform council housing services and remove the person from the electoral register
  • Veterans UK - to cancel or update Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments
  • Social Security Scotland - to cancel benefits and entitlements from the Scottish Government, for example Scottish Child Payment

HMRC and DWP will contact you about the tax, benefits and entitlements of the person who died.

Tell Us Once will also contact some public sector pension schemes so that they cancel future pension payments. They’ll notify:

  • My Civil Service Pension
  • NHS Pensions for NHS staff in England and Wales
  • Armed Forces Pension Scheme
  • Scottish Public Pension Agency schemes for NHS staff, teachers, police and firefighters in Scotland
  • Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS)

There’s a different process to update property records if the person who died owns land or property.

If you do not use Tell Us Once

You must let the relevant organisations know about the death yourself if either:

Tell organisations about the death yourself.

Banks and other financial organisations

Contact the person’s bank or mortgage, pension or insurance providers to close or change the details of their accounts.

  1. Step 1 Register the death

  2. Step 2 Tell government about the death

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. You are currently viewing: Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If you cannot use Tell Us Once, tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.

  3. Step 3 Arrange the funeral

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your partner has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. and Find bereavement support and services

    Get help with managing grief and the things you need to do when someone dies.

    1. Find bereavement help and support
    2. Find bereavement services from your local council
  7. and Check if you need to apply to stay in the UK

    If your right to live in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who died you might need to apply for a new visa.

    Check the rules if:

    1. Contact UKVI to check the rules for other visas
  8. Step 5 Value the estate and check if you need to pay Inheritance Tax

    To find out if there’s Inheritance Tax to pay, you need to estimate the value of the property, money and possessions (the ‘estate’) of the person who died.

    1. Estimate the value of the estate to find out if you need to pay Inheritance Tax
    1. Find out how to report the value of the estate
    1. Pay Inheritance Tax if it’s due
  9. Step 6 Apply for probate

    You might need to apply for probate before you can deal with the property, money and possessions (the ‘estate’) of the person who died.

    1. Check if you need to apply for probate
    1. Apply for probate
  10. Step 7 Deal with the estate

    Pay any debts or taxes owed by the person who's died. You can then distribute the estate as set out in the will or the law.

    1. Deal with the estate
    1. Update property records