What to do when someone diesWhat you need to do straight away
Call 111 immediately and ask for advice.
An unexpected death may need to be reported to a coroner. A coroner is a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating unexpected deaths. They may call for a post-mortem or inquest to find out the cause of death. This may take some time, so the funeral may need to be delayed.
If someone dies in hospital The hospital will usually issue a medical certificate and formal notice. They will support you with the next steps you need to take.
The body will usually be kept in the hospital mortuary until the funeral director or relatives arrange a chapel of rest, or for the body to be taken home.
You need to register the death within 5 days. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do that:
When you go to the register office, you will need to take with you the medical certificate showing the cause of death, signed by a doctor. If possible, also take the person’s:
You will have to tell the registrar:
When you have provided the required information, the registrar will give you:
If you need to you can buy extra death certificates – these will be needed for the will and any claims to pensions, savings, etc.
It is best to pay for several copies because copies requested later may be more expensive. Ordinary photocopies are not accepted by some organisations, such as banks or life insurance companies.
The “Tell Us Once” service can be used to report a death to several government departments in one go. The service is offered by most local authorities. You can arrange for an appointment to take place when you register the death, or you can access the service online or over the phone.
You will need to get a “Tell Us Once” reference number from the registrar.
When someone dies, you must get in touch with certain organisations to let them know as soon as possible.
(TIP: You may be able to use the “Tell Us Once” service to do some of this if it is available in your area)
The government departments that can be contacted in one go include:
If your local authority does not offer the “Tell Us Once service”, you will need to contact these departments yourself.
You will need to return their driver's licence to the DVLA and the passport to HM Passport Office.
You may need to contact other organisations as well, such as:
You should send any Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney they had back to the Office of the Public Guardian, along with a death certificate, if you were their attorney.
Find out more about Power of Attorney
A power of attorney may include specific wishes
The person who died may have left funeral instructions in their will or a letter about their wishes.
If there are no clear wishes, the executor or nearest relative will usually decide if the body will be cremated or buried and what type of funeral will take place.
Go Direct Cremations is a subsidiary of Aquatorium Ltd. They specialise in arranging cremations without ceremony, or known as direct cremation.
Arranging a funeral without a funeral director
You do not have to use a funeral director if you do not want to. If you prefer you can have a ‘do-it-yourself’ funeral. This may involve a direct cremation or cremation without ceremony.
Go Direct Cremations specialise in this type of service and will arrange this for you. They may be contacted on 0333 4444 524
Arranging a funeral can not only be stressful - it can also be expensive. If you are paying for the funeral, think carefully about what you can afford.
The funeral can be paid for by:
You may be able to get assistance from the Government if you are on a low income and meet the criteria.
There are strict rules about who can get help and how much you will receive. You must be claiming Pension Credit or certain other means-tested benefits and had a close relationship with the person who died – for example, you may have been their partner. For full details go to:
If you do not qualify for a Funeral Payment - or it does not cover the full costs of the funeral, you may be able to get a Budgeting Loan from the Social Fund. These are interest-free loans of between £100 and £1500 that you repay from your benefits.
During COVID19 it is not possible to conduct funerals and cremations as before. Attendance at funerals either in church or at a crematorium is limited to 25 persons.
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