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What to do when someone dies

When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements which have to be made. The following information may help you with this process at such a difficult time of grief.

If a death occurs in a hospital, the hospital staff will inform you if you are the next of kin. They will also arrange for the nearest relative to collect the deceased’s belongings. The hospital mortuary will keep the body until the executor arranges for it to be transferred. The hospital doctor will give you a medical certificate confirming the cause of death along with a note telling you how to register the death.

Often, deaths that occur at home or in a nursing home will have been expected. If this is the case, you should contact the doctor who has been treating the deceased. He or she will then attend to confirm that death has occurred, or will give permission for the deceased to be transferred to a funeral director’s premises if you wish.

The doctor will also give you the medical certificate. You can then contact a funeral director of your choice, who will arrange to transfer the deceased to their premises. You can use the find a funeral director search to locate your nearest NAFD accredited funeral director.

If the doctor is unsure about the cause of death, the death must be reported to a coroner. In this case, the deceased's body will be taken to a hospital mortuary and a post mortem may be held before a medical certificate is issued. Once you have the medical certificate, you need to register the death.

Important information about the person who has died you may also require:

  • National Insurance number

  • NHS number 

  • Date and place of birth 

  • Date of marriage or civil partnership (if appropriate) 

  • Tax reference number

Who to inform in the event of a death

If a death occurs at home, you should contact the deceased’s GP. If you don’t know who the GP is or if the deceased didn’t have one, you should call an ambulance.

You may also want to inform:

  • the deceased’s minister of religion

  • relatives 

  • friends 

  • the deceased's executors - they may hold information regarding the deceased's funeral wishes 

  • the deceased's solicitor - they may hold information regarding the deceased's funeral wishes either in a will or funeral plan 

  • the deceased’s employer

Once you have the medical certificate, you need to register the death.

For more information or advice on what to do when you have lost a loved one, please call us to find your nearest NAFD-accredited funeral director.

Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited (EPSL) Reg. No. 2644860. EPSL is an Appointed Representative of Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Limited (EFAS) Reg. No. 2046087. EFAS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 738805 (EPSL) and 126123 (EFAS). Both companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ.
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