Notifying all the utility companies that your loved one held accounts with can be quite a long process. It might help to go through their documents and list all of the utilities you find letters from. For example, most people hold the following accounts: water, electricity and/or gas, phone, broadband, television packages, and subscription services.
Most providers have a designated bereavement support customer service team who should explain the next steps to you once you’ve reported the death.
Who can do this?
In most cases, the utility companies will need to speak to the executor of a will or the next-of-kin/administrator if your loved one died without leaving a will.
When to do this?
Ideally, notifying utility companies should happen within the first few months of your loved one’s death, once you have a death certificate.
What you will need:
- Your loved one’s personal details – name, address, date of birth
- A copy of the death certificate
- The account number
- Up to date meter readings (if applicable)
- In some cases, a grant of probate or letter of administration showing that you are allowed to make changes to the account – although you can make the initial contact with a company before either is granted
- Your contact details and a proof of identification/address
Step 1 – Decide what to do with each account
If the account is solely in the deceased’s name and you want to continue the policy:
You will need to ask the utility company if you can change the lead name on the account. Occasionally, the company might ask you to create a new account in a new name depending upon its policy.
If the bills were paid from your joint bank account:
Your account will continue as normal as long as the joint payment bank account remains open.
If you want to cancel the account:
Each provider has its own cancellation policies. In most cases, you will need to pay any outstanding balance or pay up until the end of a contract. If you are planning to sell the person’s property, we recommend keeping the utilities active (gas, water, electricity) and changing the account details into your own name.
If the account is in both your name and theirs:
You might decide to take their name off the utilities account but this can be done at a later date.
If the payment comes from the deceased’s account:
f you have already notified the bank of the death, your loved one’s bank account will probably be frozen. Therefore, you’ll need to contact the utilities company and arrange for payments to come from your account, to avoid any late payment fees.
Step 2 – Contacting the companies
Gather the information above and contact each utility company in turn to notify them of the death. Some have online forms you can use to make the process faster, but you can also contact them via telephone if you prefer.
The utility provider should then guide you through the next steps and tell you if they need any further details or documentation.
Our advice for notifying utility companies
- Make sure you have your own personal details to hand if you are contacting the company over the phone
- Think about what you would like to do with the policy ahead of the call
- If you want to keep the account but face a charge to create a new account in your name, you may decide to shop around for different providers
- Have a pen and paper to hand to note down details and any important timeframes. Don’t be afraid to ask the company to confirm any changes or closing of accounts in writing