What you need to do and what help you can get after the death of your husband, wife or civil partner.
You can also get advice if you were living together but not married or in a civil partnership.
Coping with the death of a partner
There are several groups that can offer you counselling or emotional support after the death of your partner.
Counselling and support – Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
Get support from the Scottish Grief and Bereavement Hub
What you need to do in the first week
If you're on a low income, or your partner was claiming benefits, you can get help with funeral costs.
How to get a funeral payment – GOV.UK
If your partner had a bank account and it wasn't a joint account, the bank can pay for the funeral with money from your partner's account.
Get help with funeral costs – Money Advice Service
Understanding your rights
An executor will be named in your partner's will. It is an executor's job to sort out someone's finances after they've died.
What an executor does – gov.scot
Anyone aged 18 or over can be named an executor, including you, your partner's parent or your partner's solicitor.
Your partner's finances go into intestacy if there isn't a will. If your partner didn't have large savings or own a lot of property, and you were married or in a civil partnership, anything they had will usually become yours.
Intestacy means someone has died without a will. The laws of intestacy decide what happens to their money and belongings.
If you're dealing with your partner's finances you will need to apply for confirmation before you can take over any bank accounts they held on their own.
Get help with confirmation – Scottish Courts and Tribunals
How to apply for confirmation – Bereavement Advice Service
Download confirmation forms – GOV.UK
Confirmation happens when a court confirms you are the person dealing with the finances of someone who has died.
Any debts your partner had will be taken from the value of anything they owned when they died, including their share of joint bank accounts.
What you can do about debt after the death of a partner – Money Advice Service
Dealing with debt after someone's died – Stepchange Debt Charity
Get help to deal with debt – Citizens Advice Scotland
You won't need to pay your partner's debt with your own money unless the debt was also in your name.
You don't have rights to your partner's money or belongings if your partner has died and there is no will.
Any money held in a joint account will still be yours. You can apply to court if you believe anything else of your partner's, including money held only in their name, or any of their belongings, should be yours.
Get help with living costs
If you were 45 or over but under state pension age when your partner died you can apply for Bereavement Allowance and a Bereavement Payment.
Whatever age you are, you can apply for Widowed Parent's Allowance if you have children.
You can use the 'Tell Us Once' service to deal with things like tax and cancelling your partner's benefits. It will also cancel their passport and driving licence.
If your partner paid any bills that were only in their name you'll need to check whether you need to continue paying them.
Taking over the budget after the death of a partner – Money Advice Service
Keeping your home
You have a right to stay in your home if your name is on your home's lease. If not, you need to speak to your landlord.
How to check whose name is on the lease and what to do – Shelter Scotland
If you get behind with rent payments after the death of your partner you should talk with your landlord.
The type of mortgage you have can affect what happens to your partner's share of your home. You need to check the title deeds if you're not sure, which are usually held by your bank.
Checking the title deeds – Shelter Scotland
You can also get advice if you get behind with your mortgage payments.
Get advice if you're having trouble paying a mortgage – Money Advice Service
Read our guide for home owners with mortgage difficulties.
What you can do to stay in your home – the Scottish Legal Aid Board and Shelter Scotland
An independent money advisor can help you apply to the Home Owners' Support Fund, run by the Scottish Government to help you stay in your home by:
buying up to 30% of your home, reducing your mortgage repayments; or
buying your home, allowing you to become a tenant
If you need legal advice about mortgage difficulties, going to court or repossession, you might be eligible for legal aid.
Find out more about legal aid and how to apply.