ARRANGING A FUNERAL
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES
Knowing what to do when someone dies can seem overwhelming, so we’ve created this guide to help you navigate this difficult time. We’ve included information about what to do directly after the death, as well as what needs to happen in the weeks and months following the loss.
Don’t worry, we are here to guide you through the entire process of making the arrangements, including registering the death, dealing with the Coroner’s Office, medical professionals, DWP and all of the relevant documentation needed for a funeral to take place.
If you would like our help, you can contact us by telephone 24 hours a day and we’ll be able to provide clear advice and support, whatever the circumstances.
Death at home
If the death has happened at home, you first need to contact your loved one’s GP. This can be done at any time of day. If the GP practice is closed, your call will be diverted to the surgery’s on call service.
Typically, a doctor, either the deceased’s own GP (during surgery hours), or the out-of-hours doctor, will then need to come to the house to confirm that death has occurred. Occasionally, if a Registered Nurse or Paramedic is already in attendance, it may not be necessary for a doctor to attend.
If it is clear that the death was expected, the attending doctor or medical professional will give verbal permission for the deceased to be transferred into the care of the Funeral Director.
At this point, you can contact us by telephone at any time of day so we can bring your loved one into our care. Our telephones are answered 24 hours a day and we aim to attend within the hour. If for whatever reason this is not practically possible, we will give you an expected arrival time.
If the death was sudden or unexpected, the attending Doctor or Medical Professional may instead have to inform the Coroner. This will be in circumstances when further investigation may be necessary to establish the cause of death and the deceased may have to be taken into the care of the Coroner. In these circumstances, the attending Doctor or Medical Professional will be able to advise you on what will happen next, although please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.
Death in care
If the death has occurred in a Care Home, the staff will contact us to arrange for the deceased to be transferred into our care, once a doctor or attending Medical Professional has given permission for the deceased to be transferred into the care of a Funeral Director.
We will liaise with the Care Home staff on your behalf and make the necessary arrangements for your loved one to be transferred into our care.
Death in hospital
When someone dies in hospital, the process for releasing the deceased into the care of a Funeral Director can vary, depending on the size and type of hospital.
It normally takes 1 – 2 working days for the hospital to be in a position to make any necessary arrangements with the family, following the death. This may take longer if the doctor has to speak to the Coroner before completing the paperwork. We generally recommend families contact the hospital on the working day after the death to make an appointment to discuss next steps.
Death of a child
The death of a baby or child is always a tragic event – for the parents and their wider family and friends.
We will do everything we can to advise and support the family during this time, and help to provide a fitting tribute to their short life.
If a baby dies at home, the process for certifying and registering the death is the same as for an adult.
If a newborn baby dies in hospital or is stillborn, the hospital may offer a simple funeral service, which will often be held in conjunction with other families who have lost a baby. If you prefer to make your own arrangements for an individual funeral of your choice, you are free to do so with any funeral director
Sudden or unexpected death
If someone dies unexpectedly at home or in a care home, or if the likely cause of death may be related to their job, the deceased may need to be taken into the care of the Coroner.
This may happen straight away on the instruction of the attending doctor or medical professional or the deceased may be transferred to a funeral home, awaiting a discussion between the Coroner and the deceased’s GP on the next working day.
It may be necessary for the police to attend before the deceased is transferred – the police are working on behalf of the Coroner and this does not mean that a criminal investigation is taking place.
Dying abroad and repatriation
If someone dies whilst travelling abroad, and has a valid insurance policy, the Deceased’s travel insurance provider will contact and pay for the services of a specialist company. They will attend to the practicalities involved in bringing the deceased back to the UK, so the funeral can take place close to home.
The deceased’s passport is normally essential to this process and should be located as soon as possible and kept somewhere safe. If there is no valid insurance cover in place, the cost for the repatriation will need to be paid for by the deceased’s family. If this is the case please contact us and we will obtain estimates of the costs involved.
In most circumstances, the deceased is returned home to the UK to our premises. From that point, we liaise with the necessary authorities, including the local Coroner, to obtain permission to proceed with the funeral. The funeral arrangements can then be finalised in the normal way.
The death certificate will be issued in the language of the country where your family member died. If you want us to, we can arrange for the death certificate to be translated from any language into English.
We can also arrange for the repatriation of someone who has died locally, either to another country or another part of the UK. Please contact us, and we will advise you on the most appropriate arrangements and an estimated cost.
View our repatriation service.
We are here to help
If you’re unsure, we’ll be happy to run through the various options. For more information and advice please contact us.