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When Someone Dies

A step by step guide

This guide will walk you through what needs to happen when someone passes away. Most things are quite simple and can be done over the phone or online. As your appointed funeral director it is our job to be your side every step of the way, so first and foremost, don't panic, pop the kettle on and call us on 01522 754154. We'll be with you soon and you'll be just fine. 


Was the death expected or unexpected?

If the person was expected to die you first need to contact the deceased doctor who will attend to verify the death. If the person was under a home care plan such as Marie Curie or Macmillan, the nurse present might do this instead. 

If you can't reach a doctor for any reason simply call '111' and the operator will assist you. 

If the death was not expected you will need to can 999 and ask for an ambulance. Explain the details of the situation as clearly as possible to the operator, they may decide to send a police officer too. This is normal procedure and nothing to worry about, they are there to help. 

If the death occurred in a hospital or a care home, the staff there will take care of all the paperwork at this stage and simply need to be notified who your appointed funeral director is. 


Contact your chosen funeral director. 

Once the death has been verified, the body of the deceased can be released and taken to the funeral home. 

Where death was not expected the coroner may wish to see the body following advice from the attending paramedic. In this instance, the coroner will take the deceased into their care and your funeral director will contact them to make further arrangements in due course. You will be kept up to date throughout this process. 


Contacting the Registrar. Once the death has been verified by the doctor, the doctor will notify the registry office of the death. This usually happens within 48 hours. After this time you should contact the registry office and make an appointment with them to register the death. This part of the process should happen within 5 days of the death occurring, however, this can sometimes take a few days more depending on circumstances. 


Registering the death. 

The registrar will let you know beforehand what information they require you to bring to the appointment. If you do not have everything, don't panic, they can usually work around it and are there to help you. 

Once the registration is complete you will be asked how many death certificates you would like to purchase. 

We normally advise that 3 is enough but you may choose to purchase more or less. Death certificates cost £11 each and can be paid for by cash or card. The registrar will ask you during your appointment to assign a funeral director they can deal with. 


Arranging the funeral. 

Once the death is registered the registrar will forward what is known as the 'green form' to your assigned funeral director. Once we have this we can begin to plan your funeral and book the crematorium or burial ground, dependent on your wishes. You can visit our dedicated web page for more details regarding Arranging a Funeral.


Burial or Cremation?

If you have opted for a burial, this can now go ahead just as soon as is possible. The main considerations are when the gravediggers are available and when is most convenient for you and other attendees. 

If you opt for cremation, your funeral director will help you to book this online. It is important to remember that there are 3 key pieces of paperwork that need to be submitted no less than 3 working days before the funeral is due to take place. 1) Application for cremation which you will need to sign, 2) MCCD issued by your doctor, 3) Green form. Once again, your funeral director will take care of this for you. 

Whichever you opt for the funeral will typically take place within 14 days. 


Tell Us Once.

Now funeral arrangements are underway it's time to deal with all the other official stuff such as their driver's license, pension, state benefits, etc. 

The registrar will have issued you with a reference number you can use to log on to the tell us once website.

Once logged on you'll be asked a series of questions, it takes around 40 minutes and once done takes care of all matters relating to the State. Please note this done not include things like private pensions, bank accounts, stocks& shares, private property etc. These will need to be notified separately and may require a copy of the death certificate as proof. 

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