Who to inform?
The information below is to provide a guide on what needs to be attended to at the time or bereavement. The Citizens Advice Bureau can also provide you with guidance on organisations you may need to contact. Their contact details are listed at the bottom of this page.
The Law Firm that drew up the Will is best placed to inform you who the appointed executor is, and will guide you through the process of obtaining Probate; a copy of the death certificate will be required.
Will and probate in Guernsey
Many people will have made a Will to ensure that their estate is disposed of in accordance with their wishes on their death.
If someone dies owning assets in Guernsey and they do not have a Will, it may be necessary for probate ("letters of administration") to be obtained in relation to their estate, to enable the estate to be properly wound up. This is an official document that enables the person named in it to prove to third parties (banks, insurance companies etc.) that that person is duly authorised to collect together the assets of the deceased. Without it, this may not be possible.
In Guernsey, the Ecclesiastical Court grants probate. An Advocate can assist with the process of obtaining probate or winding up the estate although this is not obligatory and may not be necessary.
Applications for probate can be made directly to the Registrar of the Ecclesiastical Court: Nick Ozanne, The Constables Office, Lefebvre Street, St Peter Port GY1 2JR | 01481 721732
All accounts in the name of the deceased are "frozen" at the time of death. The bank will therefore require a copy of the death certificate in order to change accounts previously held in joint names relating to mortgages, loans etc.
Most banks have a member of staff who specialise in this and they will guide you through all the necessary procedures.
An insurance company should be contacted in respect of Life Assurance, in order to have the policyholder's name changed and to claim benefit.
Guernsey Water, Guernsey Electricity and Guernsey Gas.
You will need to contact the above to change the name of the account holder, or if applicable, to disconnect the service.
The employer of the deceased (if applicable)
You should contact the employer of the deceased, especially if the deceased was in receipt of a pension or had contributed to the employer's pension scheme.
As with the utilities, you will need to contact the telephone provider to change the name of the account holder, or to cancel an account if required.
The Social Security Department
You will need to contact the Social Security Department to apply for the death grant, (this is not applicable for a still-born baby). The amount of the grant depends on the age of the deceased. It is also dependent on the number of contributions paid.
Other benefits which can be claimed include Bereavement Payment payable to all widows and widowers; Widowed Parents Allowance for widows and widowers with children, and Bereavement Allowance payable to widows and widowers without children.
Social Security may, subject to certain conditions, be able to help with the payment of funeral expenses for a person who did not qualify for a death grant. Social Security may also be able to assist where the death grant is insufficient to meet the cost of the funeral, and where there are no other funds available. Social Security would require information about the assets available to meet these expenses. All claims must be made within six months of the date of death and delay could mean that the grant would be lost.
The Department has produced leaflets which provide further information which you may find helpful. These are available online on their website on the States of Guernsey website, and in hard copy at their offices at Edward T Wheadon House:
- Death Grant, Death Grant rates
- Guide to bereavement benefits, Guide to Supplementary benefit
If the deceased received a UK pension, you will also need to contact the Department of Work and Pensions in the UK.
The Housing Department
If the deceased lived in States Housing, you will need to contact the Housing Department's 'Tenancy Management Section' to notify them of the death of the deceased, and change any tenancy agreement if the next of kin remains in the property.
The Department should also be contacted if you have a loan agreement with the Department which will need to be updated.
The Environment Department
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing is a section of the Environment Department and should be contacted to change the ownership of any vehicles owned by the deceased, and to cancel the deceased's drivers licence.
To update the ownership of property.
The States of Guernsey Income Tax
The Income Tax Department will need to be informed of the death.