Documents for Business

In excess of 1,000 customisable documents covering every conceivable business issue.

Introduction to this document

Letter to next of kin on death of employee

Use our letter to offer your condolences to the deceased’s next of kin on the death of an employee. It also raises the issue of final salary and other payments which may be due to the estate or other beneficiaries.

Personal contact

As our Death of Employee Policy sets out, once you are notified of an employee’s death, it’s good practice to contact the deceased’s family or next of kin to offer your sincere condolences. It’s much better if you can do this personally, over the phone, rather than by letter, as it also allows you to try to ascertain the wishes of the next of kin regarding:

  • how other employees and external contacts (such as clients and suppliers) are to be informed about the employee’s death
  • what information can be given out about the circumstances of the employee’s death (particularly if there is ‘sensitive’ information here)
  • funeral arrangements, including who from the business will be invited or permitted to attend and whether flowers should be sent or a charitable donation made instead.

Letter of condolence

This telephone call can then be followed up a day or so later by a formal letter and this is where our Letter to Next of Kin on Death of Employee comes in. It’s preferable for it to be sent by the employee’s line manager or by another senior employee in the business. It expresses your condolences, both personally and on behalf of the business, and offers to help the next of kin if there’s anything you can do to assist them at this difficult time. However, our letter also has another purpose. If there are outstanding payments such as wages, commission, bonuses, pay in lieu of accrued but untaken annual leave, etc. owing to the deceased, these will need to be paid to the personal representatives of the deceased’s estate (not to the next of kin, although they might in fact be one and the same person). So it asks the next of kin to let you know in due course who the appointed personal representatives are and to supply proof of their appointment so that you can then take steps to pay these amounts as soon as you can. Finally, if the deceased was a member of your pension scheme and/or life assurance scheme, our letter lets the next of kin know this and advises them that you will inform the scheme providers or scheme trustees of the employee’s death so that they can make the appropriate arrangements for any payment to be made in accordance with the rules of the scheme(s). The providers or trustees should then contact the potential beneficiaries directly to make the necessary arrangements and they will probably want evidence of death.