When someone dies, it can be hard to think straight. Add to that all the decisions you need to make about the funeral and it can feel overwhelming. Just remember, call us any time and we’ll help you decide what to do for the best, at every step. Our number one priority is 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.
Even if it was expected, a death at home can be very upsetting.
It’s perfectly ok to take a moment to yourself before you do anything else. Or you might want to ask a close friend or family member to be with you.
When you feel ready, follow the steps below. Remember, if you’re unsure about anything, just give us a call.
If the death was expected:
Step 1 – Call the doctor (the GP)
First you need to call the deceased person’s GP.
If you call during surgery hours, the GP will normally come to the house to certify the death and issue a death certificate giving the cause of death (officially called the Medical Certificate of Death).
If you call out of normal surgery hours, an out-of-hours doctor will visit the house but the certificate will be issued later, when the surgery re-opens.
We will then pick the certificate up for you, we will also make an appointment at your local Registrar's office, as you will need to attend to register the death.
If the death was unexpected (or the deceased hasn’t seen their GP in the past 14 days):
Step 1 – Call an ambulance
Call an ambulance. (A doctor can’t issue a certificate if they’re unsure of the cause of death. In this case, you need a coroner to establish the cause of death.) The deceased will be taken to the Coroner’s mortuary where a post mortem may be carried out.
Once the death is officially confirmed:
Step 2 – Call us.
We’ll talk you through what happens next and the first decisions you need to make.
Please remember you can call us at any time before this point, if you want some extra support or guidance while the cause of death is confirmed.
When someone dies in hospital, the deceased will not be released into our care until the necessary paperwork is completed. Some hospitals have a chapel of rest. This is a peaceful place, away from the bustle of the hospital.
What you need to do
You’ll need a Medical Certificate of Death (death certificate) from the attending doctor. Bear in mind that this may take a while. Doctors work in shift patterns and you may need to wait for the same doctor to be back at work.
The Certificates are usually obtained from the hospital's bereavement office and it is our usual practice to liaise with this department on your behalf, we will then make an appointment at your local Registrar's office, as you will need to attend to register the death.
Remember to collect any of the personal items, belonging to the deceased, from their hospital stay.
Give us a call so we can talk you through the first steps towards arranging the funeral and bringing the deceased into our care.
What the hospital needs to know
The hospital will ask you:
For our details (as the named funeral director).
Whether the funeral will be burial or cremation
If you decide on a burial, the deceased will be released into our care as soon as the death has been registered.
If you decide on cremation, there will be some extra paperwork that the hospital will need to complete before they will release the deceased into our care.
When someone from overseas dies in this country it’s likely their family will want the funeral to take place in their home country. Returning the deceased to their home country can be a complex process.
Depending on where they’re from, there will be different kinds of paperwork for you to complete. You’ll have to deal with their consular office as well as the coroner.
We’re experienced in these situations and can give you step-by-step help and advice. Often the best thing to do is call us and we’ll take care of everything for you.
You probably won’t feel like tackling administration tasks right away, however you do need to register the death within 5 days.
It’s fairly straightforward if you live in the same district where the death took place. You will need an appointment at your local office of Registration, Births, Deaths and Marriages. We will be happy to do this on your behalf.
If you live in another district, you can go to your local registrar who will pass the information onto the registrar in the district where the death took place. If you register the death that way, you won’t be able to get the Certified Copies of Entry of Death straight away.
Remember, you won't be able to register until you have received the Medical Certificate.
If the death has been referred to the coroner, the procedure is slightly different; give us a call and we’ll let you know what to do.
The registrar will then give you (free of charge) the following:
A green certificate called ‘The Registrar’s Certificate for Burial or Cremation’ (this enables the funeral to proceed)
A white form for the Benefits Agency called ‘The Certificate of Registration’
On the back of the white form there are a number of questions. If the answer to any of the questions is ‘yes’, you’ll need to complete the form and return it to the local DWP Office (with the relevant pension or allowance book) so they can deal with any outstanding benefits. Many Registrars now offer a 'Tell Us Once' service and are able to notify a number of central and local Government departments.
At a cost of £4.00 each, the registrar will also issue the Certified Copy of Entry of Death – four copies are normally enough to give to banks, insurers etc.
To register the death, you can go to your local registrar, even if the death occurred in a different district (as registration of death can now be done by declaration for people who have died in other areas). Remember, before you go to the registrar, you’ll need the death certificate.
You will need an appointment to see the registrar, which we are happy to make for you, or you can either give them a call in advance to arrange a time or follow the link to book online.
After you’ve told family and friends about the death of their loved one, you can start informing various agencies about the person’s death.
You’ll need to contact the following (where relevant):
Banks and building societies
The Inland Revenue
Local Council – to cancel Housing Benefits and Council Tax
Social Security (form 344/BD8 will be supplied to you by the Registrar of Deaths and you’ll need to complete it and return with relevant pension or allowance books)
Family doctor/hospital/district nurses – to cancel appointments and return any loaned equipment
Local utility companies (particularly if a property is being left vacant)
Credit card companies and store cards – to cancel and pay off outstanding balances
Insurance companies – car insurance documents may need to be changed
Employer or professional association
You’ll also need to return the following (where relevant):
Passport to the Passport Office
Driving License to the DVLA
Vehicle Registration Documents to change name of ownership
National Insurance Papers
Library books and cards
Premium Bonds – the Bonds and Stocks Office will need to be notified
"Mark and his staff are very friendly and caring. You get a very professional service. I recommend them to everyone. Mark is available 24 hours a day. You can always go in for a chat after the funeral, always ready to listen to you. THANK YOU.", Maureen Forbes.