What to Do When Someone Dies

When someone dies there are various things that need to be done – some of them will depend on when, where and how they died, others will apply in all situations. It may seem a lot to deal with at such a difficult time, but some are things that other family members or friends may be able to help with.

When someone dies at home

You will need to contact the person’s GP who will come to the house as soon as they can. Once they have established a cause of death they will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (Form 11). If they are unable to issue it at the time, you may need to arrange to collect it from their surgery.

When someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly

If this happens a report may need to be sent to the Procurator Fiscal – please don’t worry if this is the case, it’s not uncommon and can happen for a number of reasons, for example if the deceased hasn’t seen their GP for a while. Sometimes the Police may have to be brought it, whilst this can be distressing, it is part of normal procedures and nothing to be concerned about.

When someone dies in hospital or in a nursing home

Usually when this happens, the sister-in-charge will deal with arranging for a Medical Certificate and letting you know when and where to collect it. If you know that your loved one wished to be cremated, let the staff who cared for them know so that they can arrange the right paperwork.

Contact your Funeral Director

Try to contact your Funeral Director as soon as you feel able to do so. We can be reached at any time of the day or night, and you do not need to wait to get the Medical Certificate to contact us.

We will try to keep things as simple and easy as possible for you, but there will be some information that we will need to know about you, your loved one and where they died.

Contact the Registrar

You will need to register the death before the funeral can take place, so try to do this as soon as you can once you have the Medical Certificate.

Other organisations you need to get in touch with

Many people include instructions for their funeral in their will, so contact the person’s solicitor as soon as you can.

There are many organisations and companies that you will need to get in touch with and you may find it less daunting if you can get someone to help you do this. Remember that many companies will ask for a copy of the Death Certificate.

Here are some of the organisations you will need to contact:

  • Their current employers
  • Their bank, building society and/or credit union
  • Their insurance company
  • The companies that supply their gas and/or electricity
  • Their credit and store card companies
  • Their pension provider
  • The Inland Revenue
  • The companies that provide their phone and broadband (including mobile phones)
  • Their landlord or mortgage provider
  • Their dentist
  • The local authority that they pay Council Tax to
  • The DWP
  • TV Licensing

You should also get in touch with any clubs or organisations they were a member or; any company that they may owe money to or have hired/rented something from; any organisations who may have provided support services to them (home helps, carers etc.); and any individuals or companies who provide general services (such as window cleaning or gardening).

You may find it useful to go through their diary or calendar to see if there are any holidays, outings or events that should be cancelled or whose organisers need to be contacted.

Letting friends and family know

As well as contacting family and close friends, you may also want to let others know when and where the funeral will take place. An obituary or death notice is an easy way to do this and is something that we can arrange on your behalf.

Registering the death

You will need to go to the local Registrar’s Office and register the death before the funeral can take place.

Registering the death can be difficult as it can make things seem more real. For this reason, you may want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. We understand that this may not be possible and if you would rather not deal with this alone, speak to us and we arrange for someone to go with you.

The Registrar will need the following information:

  • Their full name, occupation and postal address
  • The name and address of their doctor
  • Their date and country of birth
  • The full name and occupation of their father and the full name and maiden name of their mother
  • Whether they received a pension or an allowance from public funds
  • The full name, occupation and date of birth of their surviving widow, widower or civil partner (if applicable)
  • The Registrar will need the following documents:
  • The Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (Form 11)
  • Their National Health Service medical card
  • Their birth certificate
  • Their marriage or civil partnership certificate

The Registrar will then give you:

  • A Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) – you will need to give this to us so that the funeral can go ahead
  • A Social Security registration or notification of death certificate for use in obtaining or adjusting Social Security benefits
  • An abbreviated extract of the death entry

You can also obtain a full extract of the death entry for a fee (£10 each). You may need this to get information about the person’s assets such as pensions, insurance policies, and savings/bank accounts
There are some cases – such as when a death has been referred to the Procurator Fiscal – when the registration process may vary. If this is the case we will guide you though things as required.