Question for the experts

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Getting a bit confused with all the paperwork which is ironic considering I shuffle paper for a living.

Have made an appointment with solicitor to get the ball rolling with probate. Will not help that the last time I saw the solicitor was with mum to get Power of Attorney! But in the meantime can I sort out bank / building society accounts and / or get the house valued? Or does all that have to wait? I would prefer to do as much as possible as one day I will have to start job-hunting .....
NB Only expert in as far as having done this once, with the support of a friend who is a solicitor specialising in this stuff!

You can let banks etc know, they will imediately freeze accounts in the name of the person who has passed away, only when you have probate (i.e. the official document as proof you are entitled) can you get access to those accounts.

Valuation of the house needs to be reasonably close to the date of application for probate.

Have you looked at the information about applying for Probate on the Courts Service website? It is written as understandably as possible (i.e. not in legalese).
You need to take a copy of the death certificate for photocopying to banks and building societies, they won't accept a copy you've made! Accounts in mum's sole name will then be frozen BUT the bank can pay cheques into the account IF you take them the cheque yourself and ask for them to pay it in themselves. (Only learned this recently). The money in any joint accounts with you, becomes yours automatically on presentation of the death certificate.
You need to ask the solicitor to put the death public notice in the paper for you, the one that says, in effect, if this person owes you money speak now or forever....
Next job, if you haven't done it already, is deal with shares, premium bonds, etc. List them all, contact them all, find out values. Some will only pay out after probate is granted, but you need the values for the financial declaration for the tax man. Apparently you have to fill in an inheritance tax form even if you are not going to be liable for any. I've yet to do this for mum. Don't do it all at once, it's too depressing. Just put all the papers in a polywallet in a ring binder, dealing with the most important stuff first. I found it helpful when my husband had died to write a standard letter to everyone .. "I regret to advise you that xxhas died, here's a copy of the death certificate for your records. I'm the executor." Saves a lot of heartache and tissues. Return the driving licence or passport too. Hope that helps. My husband defined "expert" as follows - "ex" = has been, "Spert" = drip under pressure.
I did probate for my husband, and I definitely remember having to have lots of copies of the death certificate, and sending them to loads of people/organisations.

I tended to phone up banks, pension companies and so on, and be put through to the relevant department, to ask them what I needed to do and get their requirements - everyone was VERY nice, even though I sometimes cried as I was speaking to them...

It is a grim, grim thing to do, and every time you deal with a bit of paperwork, every time you see the word 'deceased' or 'late' against their name, it hits you like a hammer of grief....

I agree with BB, do it little by little - if you are no urgent need of the money (!), then you can take your time, and cope with it all as and when. It has dreadful, dreadful 'finality' about it all, but at the same time, it also does help in that slow, painful business of acceptance that eventually (again, in its own time) starts to lead to closure of the first intense period of grieving.

'Tidying up' their lives is, perhaps, our last gift to them in this life that we make - from now on it is holding precious memories in our heads and our hearts.

Expect there to be a few 'leftovers' that lurk in corners when you think you've dealt with everything.

All the best to you at this painful time.