What to do when somebody dies


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This is a list of the steps you need to take when someone dies.

1. Notify the appropriate people

Who you will need to notify when someone dies depends on how and where they passed away.

If they died at home and their death was expected (for example, after a terminal illness) – call the family Doctor. The Doctor will give you a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and information on how to register the death.

If you are not the closest relative, you should contact the next of kin. You may also want to contact friends and family to support you through the arrangements.

If they died at home unexpectedly – Call 999 immediately and ask for advice. An unexpected death may need to be reported to a coroner.

Contact closest relatives and next of kin as soon as you can.

If they died in hospital – The hospital will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and information on how to register the death. At this stage you should notify the next of kin, as well as any close friends or family who can support you.

Usually the hospital will care for your loved one until you arrange for a Funeral Director to take them to the funeral home.

Find out what to do if your loved one dies abroad.

2. Contact a Funeral Director

If your loved one had a funeral plan, you should contact the funeral plan provider to make arrangements with their nominated Funeral Director. You can call Avalon on 0161 486 2020.

If your loved one did not have a funeral plan, you will need to contact a Funeral Director yourself. When you are ready, they will take your loved one to the funeral home and care for them until the day of the funeral.

Be aware that if your loved one died unexpectedly and their death has been reported to a coroner, you will have to wait for the coroner’s decision before you can begin making arrangements.

3. Register the death

After you have received the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, you will need to register the death with your local register office. This must be done within five days, or eight days in Scotland, unless the coroner is investigating the death.

After registration, you will receive the Death Certificate. You will need this to be able to arrange the funeral.

Find out more about registering a death.

4. Arrange the funeral

If your loved one had a funeral plan, certain aspects of their funeral will already be arranged and paid for. The nominated Funeral Director will be able to explain to you exactly what is already covered. Things like arranging the wake may still need to be organised, which the Funeral Director can help you with if you wish.

If your loved one did not have a funeral plan, you will need to make decisions about what their funeral will be like. Find out more about arranging a funeral.

5. Inform organisations and government departments

You will need to inform various organisations when someone dies. This can be done in the days and weeks after they pass away.

The Tell Us Once service lets you contact multiple government departments at once, including:

  • Electoral services, council tax services
  • The tax office
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • UK Passport Agency
  • HMRC

Other organisations you may need to inform are:

  • Pension scheme providers
  • Insurance companies
  • Bank and building societies
  • Employers
  • Mortgage providers
  • Social services
  • Utility providers
  • GP and dentist
  • Any subscription services (such as magazines or monthly charity donations)

You can also notify the Bereavement Register, which will remove their information from some mailing and contact lists. This will reduce the amount of advertising mail sent to them.

Find out more about arranging a funeral for a loved one.