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What To Do When Someone Dies

The procedure to follow after a death will depend on the circumstances surrounding the death. A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death must be obtained from a doctor. This certificate will enable you to register the death and obtain the death certificate.

What To Do When Someone Dies At Home (At Night Or Otherwise)

Inform the family doctor as soon as possible that death has occurred. He or she may write out the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death upon visiting the home, or request you to attend the surgery for this purpose.

What To Do When Someone Dies In A Nursing Home

The staff of the hospice or nursing home will inform you of the death of your loved one and will help you obtain the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. They will also be available to help you with advice until you contact us to make the funeral arrangement.

What To Do When Someone Dies In Hospital

The hospital staff will inform the next of kin or named person of the death. The deceased will be transferred to the hospital chapel. The general office will arrange for the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to be issued.

When The Death Is Referred To The Coroner

Sometimes the coroner will need to be informed when a doctor cannot issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. In these circumstances the coroners registrar’s office will produce a certificate once the coroner has determined the cause of death. This will be sent by the coroner’s office to the registrar’s office in the district where the death occurred allowing you now to register the death. 

How To Register A Death

Who can register a death? If the person died in a house or a hospital, the death can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • An occupant of the house
  • An official from the hospital
  • The person arranging the funeral

Deaths occurring anywhere else can be registered by;

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • The person who found the body
  • The person in charge of the body
  • The person arranging the funeral

Most deaths are registered by a relative. The registrar would normally only allow other people if there are no relatives available 

Documents And Information You Will Need 

What Documents Do I Need To Register A Death?

  • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and if available
  • Council tax bill
  • Driving license
  • Passport
  • Proof of address
  • Birth certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Marriage/civil partnership certificate

Information you will need to tell the registrar;

  • The person’s full name at time of death
  • Any names previously used (e.g. maiden name)
  • The person’s date and place of birth
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation 
  • The full name, date of birth, and occupation of a surviving spouse, late spouse or civil partner
  • Whether they were receiving a state pension or any other benefit. 

Tell Us Once

Tell us once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. Tell us once will notify:

  • HM revenue and customs (HMRC)
  • Department for work and pensions (DWP)
  • Passport office
  • Driver and vehicle licensing agency (DVLA)
  • The local council
  • Veterans UK

Documents You Will Receive

If a post mortem is not being held, the Registrar will issue you with:

  • Certificate for burial or cremation (green form) given to the funeral director as soon as possible
  • Certificate of registration of death (white form) Known as a BD8, this form is for DWP purposes
  • Death certificate – a certified copy of the entry into the register

If a post mortem is being held to determine the cause of death and the deceased is to be cremated the coroner will issue: form Cremation 6 Certificate of Coroner.

You will be able to buy one or more death certificates at this time; these will be needed by the executor or administrator when sorting out the personal affairs. 

Other Things That Need To Be Done 

Not everything can be done straight away, particularly as this is a very difficult time for people to cope with, but it is important to:

  • Make sure everyone who needs to know is told.
  • Arrange to see the deceased’s solicitor and read the will as soon as possible, this will tell you if there are any special funeral requests and who the executors are. 
  • Start arranging the funeral.
  • Collect all the information and documents you need.