Practical and emotional resources to help you deal with loss.
Dealing with a deceased author’s estate
If you are managing the estate of a member of the Society of Authors, their estate can continue to be a member for as long as you wish. As the estate’s manager, you will have access to the same level of advice and support that living authors are entitled to receive.
- You will need to notify all of the author’s publishers who still have rights. If there is an agent they should handle this. If not, ask any surviving next of kin to try to find all existing contracts and, if possible make a list of all works in print, rights granted and the last three years of accounts.
- You will need to notify the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) using this form. If you don’t have these details just email them in the first instance to inform them of the new contact address
- You will also need to notify PLR, the organisation that processes payments to authors for loans of their books made by public libraries. You can find out how to do that on the PLR website.
- You will need to notify the organisers of any upcoming booked appearances.
- You may want to review the author’s online presence, including their website, social media accounts and Wikipedia page, to see what will need to be updated or closed.
- Ensure that you redirect emails and post, and activate an auto reply on emails.
- We recommend the Tell us Once service for notifying government organisations.
- Tax issues can arise at the probate stage. In particular, many accountants do not know that Business Rollover relief is often available to authors. Do feel free to contact us about this or if you need help in valuing the literary estate.
Organisations that can help with bereavement
Bereavement Support from the NHS
The death of a loved one can be devastating. Bereavement affects people in different ways – there’s no right or wrong way to feel. The NHS Moodzone offers advice, help and support in coping with bereavement.
- Read more at nhs.uk
Child Bereavement UK
Supports families when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.
- Read more at childbereavementuk.org
Compassionate Friends (The)
The Compassionate Friends is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause. Their helpline is open for support and understanding on 0345 123 2304. Your call will always be answered by a bereaved parent.
- Read more at tcf.org.uk
The leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Cruse offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies.
- Read more at cruse.org.uk
Dying Matters / Find Me Help
The UK’s most comprehensive directory of services for people in the last years of life, their families, carers and friends.
- Read more at help.dyingmatters.org
Royal London provide a variety of resources for coping with bereavement, including the free to download E book How To Die Well.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)
Works to meet the needs and overcome the isolation experienced by people over 18 who have been bereaved by suicide.
- Read more at uk-sobs.org.uk
The Good Grief Network
The Good Grief Network is a non-profit organization that brings people together to metabolize collective grief and other heavy emotions that arise in response to daunting planetary crises. Using a 10-step approach inspired by the Alcoholics Anonymous model, they run peer-to-peer support groups that help people to recognise, feel, and process their heavy emotions, so that these feelings may be transformed into meaningful action.
- Read more at goodgriefnetwork.org
The Tomorrow Project
A confidential suicide prevention project set up to support individuals and communities to prevent suicide. Suicide is a decision that someone makes to end their life when they feel overwhelmed by their circumstances, when the struggles they face seem too difficult or painful or they have run out of options.
- Read more at tomorrowproject.org.uk