What to do when someone dies?

There is a lot to take in when someone dies with shock, panic and emotional grief flooding in. Here are some practical support guides of what needs to be carried out over the first few days.

  • A trained medical professional will need to verify the death, if at home and you are with no medical assistance this will need to be a paramedic, nurse or GP. This document is known as ‘formal verification of death’ If you in any doubt always please call 999 for an ambulance.
  • You will need to appoint a funeral director, if using one. The simplest way to this is by using The Farewell Guide funeral planner. The funeral director and service comparison tool will deliver prices, reviews and more straight to your inbox.
  • A doctor, coroner or your local GP will need to certify the death by completing and supplying a ‘medical certificate of the cause of death’ please note this is different from the formal verification stated above.
  • You or a loved one (on occasion the funeral director could do this) will need to take this medical certificate to the local registrar to register the death. You can use this link to locate your nearest registrar and during the pandemic this service has been moved online and over the phone, so check the best way to proceed with your local registrar.
  • To register the death, you will need some or all of the following documents and they can be copies but ideally original:
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
    • Passport
    • NHS medical card
    • Driving licence
    • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill or council tax)
    • Accompanied by the ‘medical certificate’

You’ll need to tell the registrar:
  • the person’s full name at the time of death
  • any names previously used, eg maiden name
  • the person’s date and place of birth
  • their last address
  • their occupation
  • the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  • whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits

Documents you’ll get from the registrant

When you register a death, you’ll get:

  • a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) - gives permission for burial or an application for cremation
  • a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) - you may need to fill this in and return it if the person was getting a State Pension or benefits (the form will come with a pre-paid envelope so you know where to send it)

You can buy extra death certificates - these will be needed for sorting out the person’s affairs.

You will need to pass the green form to your chosen funeral provider to collect the body.

The hospital and medical staff should assist you with this information and be there to support you.

To start your funeral plan click here.