Energy Bills: What To Do When Someone Dies?

Energy bill and black ribbon

Who is responsible for utility bills when a person passes away? The person who becomes responsible for paying the energy bills at the home of the deceased will depend on what will happen to the household. Will it continue to be occupied? Will it be managed by somebody in the position of an administrator or executor of the will? Will the home be sold or handed back to the landlord? The answer to each of these questions will determine the next steps to take in ensuring that energy bills are paid without interruption.

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Utility Bills After Death Can Be Easily Managed!

Selectra will tell you who the energy supplier is and how to sort out the final bills.

I'm inheriting the home: Account name change

If you were living with the deceased person and will be inheriting the home, the process is fairly simple. If the gas and electricity bills were in the late person’s name, simply contact the suppliers and ask them to change the account holder’s name to your name. To find out the right contact details, select the household's energy provider from our list of providers.

If there are outstanding energy bills and you’re one of the heirs or beneficiaries in the will, you could make payments to ease the debt out of your own pocket. Otherwise, payments should be made from the estate by the executor.

  • Have to hand the following when you call the energy supplier:
  • Details of the homeowner who passed away. That includes their address, telephone number and the date they passed away. You’ll also need their Customer Reference Number, which should appear at the top of the customer’s energy bills.
  • Up-to-date meter reading for electricity and gas. This would be the MPAN and MPRN numbers respectively. Find out what MPAN and MPRN numbers are and how to get them.
  • Details of the person who’ll be responsible for sorting out the estate. This will be either the executor or the administrator. Whether or not this will be you or somebody else, give the energy supplier their full contact details: full name, address and telephone number.

What if there's more than one account holder?

You may need a consent from a third party if there’s more than one account holder. Take a look at the name or names that appear at the top of the electricity and gas bills. If they’re addressed to more than one person, then the energy supplier will require written or oral consent from the remaining account holders to add your name to the account.

Find out how to get consent from a third party here

I will be managing the estate

If you will be managing the estate you’ll be doing so either as an executor or an administrator. Broadly speaking, the difference between an executor and administrator depends on whether the person who passed away left a valid will.

In either case, the executor or administrator of the estate will be responsible for taking over payment of administrative expenses and settling the final bills. This will include determining which liabilities should be settled or sold to pay ongoing estate expenses and bills.

This is likely to include outstanding gas and electricity bills. There are slightly different procedural steps for executors and administrators in order to settle outstanding bills, which we will go through below.

Executor: A valid will was made, now what?

If you are named in the deceased person's will as responsible for handling the estate, then you are the executor of the will. Note that if you have been named as an executor, you don't have to act if you don't want to. If you do choose to administer the estate, you may need to apply for porbate to prove your authority to do so.

You can avoid the probate process to deal with the estate if all the property in the estate is owned between you and the deceased as beneficial joint tenants. This property automatically becomes wholly owned by the other owner. Also, if there are life insurance policies and pension benefits in the estate, you won’t need to apply for probate.


How to apply for probate

  1. Fill out Form PA1P and send it to your local Probate Registry (online or by post).
  2. Download Form PA1P Here!

  3. Send the following documents (by post only) to your local Probate Registry.
    • The original will and any additions to it (‘codicils’).
    • Two copies of the will and additions on plain A4 paper - do not remove any staples or bindings to make the copies.
    • The original death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner.
    • The estate’s value.
    • A fee of £215 if the value of the estate is £5,000 or over. Send a cheque made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service along with your documents.

Find Your Local Probate Registry Here!

Administrator: There is no valid will, what to do?

If the person who passed away did not leave a valid will, you can become an administrator to handle their estate by applying for a Letter of Administration. Even if there is a valid will and the executors weren’t named or have chosen not to act, you can still make an application.

This letter proves that you have the legal right to deal with the estate. Note that the process is the same as applying for probate. It will be legally granted by court order and delivered by a Probate Registry. You can usually apply to be an administrator if you are the next of kin.

How to apply for a letter of administration

  1. Fill out Form PA1A and submit it to your local Probate Registry (by post only).
  2. Download Form PA1A Here!
  3. Send Form PA1A and the following documents (by post only) to the Probate Registry:
    • The original will and any additions to it (‘codicils’).
    • Two copies of the will and additions on plain A4 paper - do not remove any staples or bindings to make the copies.
    • The original death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner.
    • The estate’s value.
    • A fee of £215 if the value of the estate is £5,000 or over. Send a cheque made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service along with your documents.

Find Your Local Probate Registry Here!

Probate & Letter of Administration: Do I need a solicitor?

Are you thinking of applying for probate or a letter of administration yourself without going to a solicitor? Many people around the UK have chosen to do the same. Typically, solicitor’s firms will charge between 1.5% to 3% of the value of the estate for their legal services. To give you an idea of how high these costs can be, if the estate was worth £300,000 you could pay a whopping £6,000 or more!

Not surprisingly, so-called “DIY Applications” are on the rise. However if the deceased died intestate, the nuances of UK intestacy laws can be complicated to navigate, particularly if you’re overcoming bereavement and there are competing applications from third parties. In this case, you may want to hire a solicitor to help you out.

The property will be sold: Who pays the energy suppliers?

If the deceased’s property is to be sold, inform the gas and electricity suppliers by following these 3 steps:

  1. Call the energy supplier and give them a meter reading. If possible, you should take the meter reads as close to when the customer passed away as possible. If you can't get this, the supplier can use a current meter reading or use an estimated reading based.
  2. You’ll receive a final bill. This bill can be sent to you or to the solicitors dealing with the estate. The information provided on this bill is what you’ll need to apply for a grant of probate.
  3. Expect to give updates while the account is on hold. The gas and electricity suppliers will put the account on hold. You may be contacted by the suppliers from time to time requesting updates on what's happening with the deceased’s property.

Look after the bills on the new accounts right up until the property is sold or transferred. You’ll then have to give the supplier further meter readings before they can close the accounts.

The Property Was Rented: Who Pays Outstanding Bills?

If the person who passed away had a tenancy over the property which he/she was renting, follow these three steps to get the account closed and receive the final bills:

  1. Call the energy supplier. Let them know when the person renting the home has passed away. Given them the date of death and send them a copy of the death certificate if you have it.
  2. Send them accurate meter readings. Do this close to the date when the keys are due to be handed back to the landlord.
  3. Pay the final bills. The final bills must be sent to whoever is dealing with the gas and electricity accounts on behalf of the person who passed away. This will be either the executor or the administrator, who should contact the landlord to keep him/her up to date with the situation of settling any unpaid energy bills.

There are so many things to do when someone dies. It can be difficult tying up loose ends during this emotionally turbulent period. However it can actually be quick and simple. Who to notify when someone dies will include the gas and electricity companies that supplied the late person’s home. Notifying them and keeping them informed should be a priority. If you follow the steps and the links above, you’ll have this chore ticked off your list in no time.

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