What to do when someone dies
When someone dies, it can be hard to think straight. Add to that all the decisions you need to make about the funeral arrangements and it can feel overwhelming. There are several things you will be responsible for, starting with calling a doctor to obtain a medical certificate of cause of death. Read our guide to find out what to do when someone dies.
Day 1: Request a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
What to do when someone dies at home
If someone dies at home and their death was expected, for instance, due to an illness, the first thing to do is to call a doctor. The doctor will provide a medical certificate of the cause of death and advise on how the certificate will be issued.
What to do if someone dies at home unexpectedly
When someone dies at home unexpectedly (or the deceased hasn’t seen their GP in the past 28 days), it’s important to call 111 immediately and get advice on what to do next. This is because a doctor cannot issue a certificate if they do not know the cause of death. Usually, the deceased will be taken to the coroner’s mortuary where a post-mortem may be carried out to verify the cause of death.
What to do if someone dies in hospital
If someone dies in hospital the hospital will provide the medical certificate and offer their support. They will be kept in the hospital mortuary until they are released into the car of a funeral director.
Once you have obtained a medical certificate of cause of death, you will need to find a funeral director and make funeral arrangements.
Day 2-5: Register the death
You must register the death within 5 days in the country where your loved one died. Registering the death creates a formal record in the Registrar of Births, Death and Marriages. However, if a death has been reported to the coroner for investigation, you cannot register until the investigations are complete. Find out more about what the registrar will issue.
Day 5-8: Make funeral arrangements
A funeral can take place any time after death and anyone close to the person can make arrangements. To plan a funeral service get in touch with a local funeral director. The funeral director will require some initial details such as whether your loved one has died at home, in a hospital or a private nursing home. They will then help you decide where the body should rest prior to the funeral service.
There are several things to consider before planning a funeral arrangement, for instance, the choice of whether to choose a cremation or burial, the type of service, transport and more. A good funeral director will guide and support you through this difficult time and help you to arrange the right funeral service for your loved one.
Funeral costs are another important consideration. Funeral directors will often offer a range of funeral packages to suit every budget. The person who has died may even have already paid for their funeral with a pre-paid funeral plan.
Days 8+: Deal with their estate
Estate administration is the process of dealing with the deceased legal and tax affairs, including their assets, debt and paying any inheritance. If your loved one has left behind a will, the named executor will complete the estate administration. In cases where there isn’t a will, a close relative will be appointed as an administrator.
For more advice on what to do after death, you can call us any time, we’re open 24 hours, and we’ll guide you at every step. Our number one priority is looking after you.
We’ve been looking after bereaved families in our community for many years. So when you make that call, there’ll be a friendly, experienced person on the other end who understands just what you need, and when.