When someone close to us dies, taking steps to sort out their affairs can be both daunting and upsetting. Arranging a funeral, contacting family and friends and sorting out practicalities is a lot of work and can be very stressful.
Settling bills is a relatively minor task that needs to be taken care of, but at Love Energy Savings we want to support our customers during challenging times.
Below we have summarised all the information you need to try to make the process as easy as possible.
Settling utility bills when someone dies
When someone dies, if they have a will that should include an Executor whom they have appointed to manage their affairs.
If the person did not have a will, it will usually be their next of kin who takes responsibility and this person is called the administrator.
Neither roles are obligatory, but if you decide to assume the responsibility you should check if you need to apply for probate.
As either an administrator or executor, you are authorised to inform those with whom the deceased had a contractual arrangement, such as energy companies, that they have died.
You will need to settle final bills and inform them what the arrangements will be going forward (for example, if you intend for the house to be sold).
If you find yourself in a position whereby you do not know the energy supplier, nor can you locate a recent bill from anywhere, then you'll still be able to find out the supplier by reading the number on their meter, regardless of its type. Ofgem does provide much more information on being able to locate a specific gas or electricity supplier whenever you are unable to.
What to do if you lived together
If you lived with the deceased, the process is quite straightforward. All you need to do is to contact the energy supplier - if the bills are in that person’s name - and let them know to change the name to somebody else in the household.
If there are two names on the bill, you would need the permission of the second person to add an additional person if you wished to do so.
If you notice the energy bills are high and you would like to switch to a cheaper energy supplier we can help.
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What to do if you lived separately
If your loved one lived separately from you, and their home is now unoccupied, the process is a little more complex.
In most cases, if there are outstanding bills in the name of the deceased, these are usually transferred to the estate of that person. So, if you are their next of kin/the Executor of their estate they become your responsibility.
That means that if the energy company owes the deceased person money, that becomes an asset to their estate, and if money is owed to the energy supplier, they become liabilities to the estate. This is true of all utility bills. You can of course make any payments yourself if you wish. As soon as you are able to do so, go to the unoccupied properties and take a meter reading.
If your loved one owned the property, call the energy supplier and let them know that the occupier has died and give them the meter reading.
They may also want to know the name and details of the person handling the affairs of the deceased (usually the Executor of their will). Once they have received these meter readings, the energy supplier will send you a final bill which will need to be settled.
You can also inform the energy company if you intend for the house to be sold or if it will remain unoccupied for a time. In most cases, the energy supplier will put the account on hold. Before it is transferred to a new occupier, they may ask for a further meter reading to settle the account.
What to do if the property was rented
If they rented the property, you will also need to call the energy supplier and inform them the person renting the property has died.
They may wish to see a copy of the death certificate. You should also take a meter reading and as close as possible to the property being returned to the landlord, contact the energy company again and give them the final reading.
They will send a closing bill which is the responsibility of whoever is handling the estate of the deceased to settle.
How to handle a deceased person's business utilities?
If the deceased had any business affairs that they were the sole proprietor of, then these also become the responsibility of the estate's administrator or the executor - and it becomes their decision if the company will continue to trade or if it will cease trading.
Just like with the home utilities, the business energy accounts - including the business electricity and business gas, if these were supplied by two suppliers, as well as the business water and any business broadband accounts.
Get more advice from the home energy experts at Love Energy Savings
At Love Energy Savings, our home energy comparison experts aim to provide the latest advice on dealing with energy bills in the home.
If you’d like more advice on handling bills and saving energy in the home, take a look at our latest energy guides and advice.