When Someone Dies

We Have Put Together A Checklist To Help At This Difficult Time

The First Steps To Take When Someone Has Passed

Where to start?  What not to do when losing a loved one.  Things you may be unaware of.    Your choices.

What to do when someone dies

When someone dies, there are several things that need to happen.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you understand what you need to do.

1: Get a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is a legal document that explains how someone has passed away.

If the cause of death is clear, this is usually issued by a doctor immediately.

If the cause of death isn’t clear or the person died suddenly, this will be referred to the coroner and may require a post-mortem.

Without a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, you will not be able to register the death or start the process of arranging a funeral.

2: Register the death

After you’ve got the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, you will then need to register the death.

• If you’re in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will have five days to register a death

• If you’re in Scotland, you will have up to eight days

To register a death, you will need to contact the local register office where the person passed.

You will receive a death certificate, which will allow you to start dealing with things such as banks, housing and mortgage companies, or to start the probate process.

3: Arrange the funeral

[ This advice can also be found on the gov.uk website]

The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. You can pay for a funeral director to arrange the funeral or do it yourself.

You should check if the person who died had made arrangements for their funeral – this could include prepaid funeral plans or life insurance.

4: Arranging yourself

Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.

Some local councils run their own funeral services for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association and Institute of Civil Funerals can also help with non-religious funerals.

5: Choose a Funeral Director if you are not arranging the funeral yourself

Choosing an experienced and professional funeral director will help ease the burden and stress of arranging a funeral for your loved one. You should choose a member of http://www.nafd.org.uk/funeral-advice/funeral-arrangements/choose-a-funeral-director.aspx

Or http://www.saif.org.uk/members-search/

These organisations have codes of practice – they should give you a price list when asked.

What you should expect from a Funeral Director.

· As much time as is necessary from funeral experts and someone always available on the phone 24 hours a day

· Facilities and transport that enables them to deliver the best service for your loved one.

· Personal, face to face contact to discuss your individual requirements and take instructions either at their premises or your home

· Advice and guidance on all aspects of the funeral, including liaising with third parties on your behalf such as Minister or Celebrant led service.

· It is up to you to decide on a religious, semi religious or non religious service.

· Booking and managing the timings of all aspects of the funeral service which will include venues, transport and required personnel – to a time and day that suits you

· Consultation on choice of coffin and any lasting memorials that you may wish to have

· They should prepare, collect and distribute all the required documentation and coordinate ‘external payments’ for you that are necessary for the funeral to legally proceed

· Collection and administration of charitable donations

· Co-ordination of music for the service, floral tributes, service, stationary, obituaries and any other special requirements


You should have an experienced, professional and fully trained Funeral Director to personally oversee your chosen arrangements.

They will guide and support you through every step.

They should

· Meet with you prior to the day of the funeral to ensure all your requirements are met, confirm arrangements and ensure all instructions are correctly recorded and any changes noted and acted upon

· Be present at your side on the day to supervise the occasion and direct all in attendance

· Ensure sufficient pallbearers are available and instructed to escort the coffin with dignity and respect

· Prepare all locations for the service and committal also to guide you on your choice of minister or officiant/celebrant and to liaise with them

· Personally see to every detail, including the collection of cards from floral tributes, charitable donations, book of remembrance and other memorials from the day for you to treasure and keep


they should bring your loved one into their care at the soonest available time using fully trained, regulated people, specialist vehicles and equipment

· They should provide continuous care for as long as they are in our protection, resting in modern climate controlled mortuary facilities

· They should prepare the deceased in accordance to your wishes, dressing them in their own clothes if you wish or a suitable gown. We will also follow any instructions regarding hairstyles and make-up care for any personal effects in accordance with your instructions

· They should prepare a private Chapel of rest and allow you to spend some private time with your loved one by agreed appointment at any time, or bring them back home for you to pay your last respects

6: Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:

· funeral director fees

· things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death

· local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quote. You can get quotes from several funeral directors to see what is available within your budget. The Money Advice Service has information about funeral costs and how to reduce them.

Paying for a funeral

The funeral can be paid for:

· from a financial scheme the person had, for example a pre-paid funeral plan or insurance policy

· by you, or other family members or friends

· with money from the person’s estate (savings, for example) – getting access to this is called applying for a ‘grant of representation’ (sometimes called ‘applying for probate’) You can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment if you have difficulty paying for the funeral

7: Moving a body for a funeral abroad

You need permission from a coroner to move a body for a funeral abroad. Apply at least 4 days before you want the body to be moved. Find a local coroner using the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales website.

There is a different process for: · moving a body abroad from Scotland · moving a body abroad from Northern Ireland