What if the person I look after dies?

This page has advice on how to cope if the person you care for dies. It includes information on coping with grief and dealing with practical issues that may arise. It also looks at your housing rights.

Coping with grief

After someone you care for dies, you'll go through a period of mourning. Alongside feelings of shock, grief, loss and anger, you may also experience anger, relief, depression or guilt, all of which are perfectly natural reactions. Don't bottle your feelings up - talk to a friend or family member and let them know what you're going through. It may also help to talk to other carers who've been through the same thing. You can contact other carers through your local carers' centre or online - the page on being a carer has more information. If you feel overwhelmed, Cruse Scotland can help you deal with your loss and support you through this difficult time.

Alzheimer Scotland produce a good booklet on the grieving process called 'Letting go without giving up', which you can download from their website, and you can also download a factsheet on grieving from the BUPA website.

Dealing with practical issues

Although you may not feel like facing them, there are lots of practical matters you may have to deal with if the person you care for dies, including:

  • registering their death
  • arranging the funeral
  • finding their Will.

The Scottish Government provide a useful guide on what to do when a person you're close to dies.

What if I lived with the person?

If you lived with the person you cared for, you may be concerned about your housing situation after their death. This will depend on your individual circumstances, such as:

  • whether either or both of you own your home
  • whether either or both of you rent your home
  • what your relationship was, for example, whether the person you cared for was your husband, wife or civil partner, or your parent
  • whether the person you cared for wrote a Will.

The section on death in the household looks at your rights in this situation. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to talk to a solicitor.

Where can I get help?

If you are worried about any of these issues, you can get help and advice from the following people.

  • An adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau can tell you your rights and help you claim any bereavement benefits you're due.
  • A funeral director will guide you through the process of arranging the funeral and make all the necessary arrangements. They can also help you apply for funeral payments from the social fund, if you're eligible. The person you cared for may have specified which funeral director you should contact, or friends and family may be able to recommend someone. You can read more about choosing a funeral director and search for a company near you at the National Association of Funeral Directors website.
  • A solicitor can advise you on legal matters concerning the person's Will - our page on solicitors has information on how to get legal advice. You may be able to get a free appointment through your local Citizens Advice Bureau - contact them to find out more.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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