When someone dies, it can be a very stressful time for the whole family friends and colleagues. Many questions come to mind – what do we need to do now? Who do we need to inform? What do we need to do next? Who do we need to contact? What documents do we need? Is there somebody we can phone to help us? What is a post-mortem? Below, we have tried to put together essential material to help you know what to do if a loved one has passed away.
You will need to get the death certificate.
If the patient died at home or in the community and it was an expected death then the GP should be able to issue a Death Certificate. Contact the practice and speak to the receptionist who should be able to give you some indication of when the certificate will be ready. If the death certificate is needed urgently then please speak to the receptionist and inform them so that the doctors can be alerted and ensure this is done in a timely fashion and there is no unnecessary delay.
If the patient died in a hospital then you will need to speak to the nurse on the ward who should be able to provide you with relevant information on the procedures to be followed. Remember to collect your relative / friend’s belongings. You will need to write a letter if you have nominated another person to attend on your behalf to collect the belongings. This must be signed by the next of kin.
If the death is unexpected or the cause of death is not known or it was as a result of an accident or injury, an industrial disease, during a surgical operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic then your loved one will need to be transferred to the hospital mortuary and may need to be reported to the Coroner who may arrange a post-mortem examination. Your doctor should be able to advise you if you are unsure what to do. In such cases an interim certificate as to the fact of death will be issued direct to you but only in inquest cases from the Coroner’s Office and the relatives must then go to the Registrar’s office to register the death. The Coroner can be contacted on 0161 474 3993 for further details.
You will need to register the death next
The death must be registered within 5 days (unless the death has been reported to the Coroner). A relative of the deceased, or the person arranging the funeral (not the undertaker) can register the death. If there are no relatives the death may also be registered by the occupier of the building where the death occurred or the person accepting responsibility for making the funeral arrangements and paying for the funeral.
You will need to provide the following information about the deceased:
- Full name, surname
- Date and Place of Birth (if known)
- Occupation or last occupation if retired (if known)
- Maiden surname, if applicable
- If the person who has died was married, widowed or in a Civil Partnership the full names and occupation of the spouse / partner
- Remember to bring the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death Certificate. The coroner’s office will tell you what to do if the death has been referred to them.
You will receive the following from the Registrar
- Certificate of Burial or Cremation (usually green in colour and is required by the Funeral Director)
- Social Security Certificate (Form BD8): this may need to be sent to the Social Security Office and is provided free of charge.
- The Death Certificate: this is the copy of the entry in the Death Register. Each copy costs £3.50. After 3 months time, the charge is £7.00 instead. The Registrar will be able to help you to decide how many copies you may need.
Links to other useful websites
- Tameside Metropolitan Borough: Dealing with a death in the family
- Tameside Metropolitan Borough: Questions people ask about burial and cremation
- Direct.gov.uk: What to do when someone dies checklist
- Age UK : what to do when someone dies
- Bereavement Advice Centre: Click here
- Shelter: When someone dies
- Citizens Advice Bureau: What to do after a death
- Cruse Bereavement Care: What to do following a death
- Cruse Bereavement Care’s Youth Involvement Project: click here
- Cruse Bereavement Care: About Grief
- Organising a Funeral – everything in one place: Click here
- Post-MortemThe Money Advice Service – what to do when someone dies
- Dying Matters – Resources
- Beyond Goodbye – a website in celebration of Josh and learning beyond Goodbye!