What To Do Next
Many people are overwhelmed and unsure what necessary steps to take when a loved one passes away. In this difficult time, we are here to support you and offer guidance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This guide will help explain the details on what to do when your loved one has passed away.
If the death occurred at home and is expected
You should not contact the police or ambulance as the death is expected. Instead, contact the deceased’s GP’s surgery and a GP will come and verify the death. Then you can contact us to take the deceased into care. If there is no involvement of the coroner, the GP will issue a medical certificate of cause of death, which you can collect from the surgery and will need to take with you when you go to register the death at your local registrar.
If the death occurred at home and is unexpected
Dial 999 for an ambulance, and they will guide you through the next steps to take. The police will be called due to the death being unexpected and they will report the death to the coroner. Once the death has been verified, the coroner will call his chosen funeral directors who will take the deceased to the hospital mortuary. We must then await further instructions from the coroner.
If the death occurred in hospital
If there isn’t any coroner involvement, the bereavement office will be able to tell you the medical certificate of cause of death issuance details. When the certificate is ready, they will make an appointment with you so you can collect it. Each hospital has certain paperwork to be completed before we are authorised to bring the deceased into our care. We can always give you advice through this process.
If the death occurred in a nursing home or a hospice
A GP or a qualified member of staff will verify the death, given that there is no coroner involvement. The medical certificate of cause of death will be issued by the GP and the staff at the hospice/nursing home can tell you when it is completed and where to collect it from. After this step, we can then take the deceased into our care.
If the death occurred elsewhere
If the death occurred in an area away from home, the local GP, hospital or coroner will attend to the required paperwork. The registering of the death must be carried out in the district where the death occurred.
If the death occurred abroad
In certain circumstances, the medical certificate of cause of death cannot be issued by the hospital or GP and the death must be reported to the coroner, usually by the GP or the police. We offer repatriation services for those who wish to return the deceased back home. Click here for more information (hyperlink-> leading to the ’repatriation’ page)
The coroner’s involvement
The coroner may either: decide that death was natural and allow a doctor to issue the medical certificate of cause of death, or the coroner may decide a post-mortem examination is needed to determine the cause of death. A death will be reported to the coroner when:
- The cause of death was unexpected
- The death was sudden, unexplained, violent or occurred under suspicious circumstances
- The deceased was not attended by a doctor during their final illness
- The deceased’s doctor has not attended to the deceased in the 14 days prior to death or after death
- Death occurred during an operation, or before the person came out of the anaesthetic
Death due to natural causes
If the post-mortem examination shows that death was due to natural causes, the coroner will send the necessary paperwork directly to the register office. If the coroner decides to hold an inquest, the death cannot be registered until after the inquest has been completed. They will, however, issue you with an interim death certificate that will be accepted by most banks and building societies. The coroner will also issue the funeral director with the necessary forms for the funeral to take place.