What you need to do
Here are the key things you need to take care of after someone has died. It’s actually quite straightforward so try not to get stressed. Just do one thing at a time and if you need any help please speak to us.
The Essential Steps to Registering a Death
Since the pandemic, death registrations now all take place over the telephone.
- You need to register the death within five working days of the death occurring.
- The Register Office to use is the one in the same district where your relative died, which you can find here.
- Registration cannot happen until the Medical Certificate for Cause of Death (MCCD) has been received, either from the hospital doctor or the GP. Usually the hospital bereavement office or the GP surgery will inform you when they have done this.
- Most registrars require you to complete an online form and they will then call you to arrange a telephone appointment. You are best to visit their website – see the tabs opposite for useful links.
The following documentation is useful to have when the telephone appointment takes place, the registrar will also advise:
- any ID documentation for the deceased (e.g. utility bill, NHS medical card)
- any official certificates for the deceased (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate)
During the telephone appointment
- The registrar will also ask for certain additional details, such as place and date of birth, place and date of death, last address and occupation of the deceased. They will also need the full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse.
- They will also ask for details of the funeral director (we are on the system of many registrars)
After the telephone appointment
The Registrar will post to you the Death Certificate which you will need for settling their affairs, so it’s a good idea to buy extra copies at the time.
They will also give you a Tell Us Once reference number to access the Tell Us Once online service which makes it easy to report a death to most government organisations in one go.
The Registrar will email the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (known as ‘the Green Form’) directly to the funeral director.
If the death has been reported to a coroner you can’t register the death until the coroner gives permission.
For contact details of local register offices in Richmond, Kingston, Surrey and SW London read our blog Registering a death at a register office.
- Register a death in Richmond upon Thames
- Register a death in Kingston upon Thames
- Register a death in Surrey (Camberley, Farnham, Guildford, Leatherhead, Reigate or Weybridge)
- Register a death in Hounslow
- Register a death in Merton
Relevant blog articles:
A death is referred to the coroner when someone dies unexpectedly, if someone dies at home without being seen by their GP within the last 28 days, or a conclusion for the cause of death cannot be determined by the doctor who attended to them.
What will happen:
- The coroner will assign you a case officer who will liaise with you
- The coroner will decide whether a post-mortem is necessary
- If a post mortem is not necessary and the cause of death is confirmed, the coroner will sign a Form A, so the death can be registered the normal way
- When a post mortem takes place, the coroner will issue a form B which allows the body of your relative to be released and for the funeral to take place. Often they are waiting for toxicology results, in which case an interim death certificate will raised, until the cause of death can be formally confirmed and the death registered.
- You will need to give the coroner the details of your chosen funeral director so they can send the necessary release paperwork so your relative can be collected.
So far we have covered the practical steps you need to take after someone has died. These are standard processes and legal formalities that need to be completed before the funeral can go ahead.
The task of arranging the funeral is where things get personal. It is all about respecting the wishes of your loved one and organising it in a way that feels right for you and your family.
Some people want a traditional funeral, with a hearse, procession, funeral service and pallbearers, followed by the burial or cremation. Others prefer to have a more simple, yet no less meaningful, cremation service with a smaller group of mourners and then take their time to organise a commemoration of the person’s life at a later date.
Visiting a traditional high street funeral director is certainly far from your only option. At White Rose we can help you organise a Funeral involving a Cremation (see Direct Cremation, No Fuss Cremation Service or Personalised Cremation Service) or Burial (see Burial funerals or Natural Burials). We can also help you organise a separate Celebration of Life service that respects and commemorates the life of your loved one.
We are happy to visit you at home to talk through your wishes and explain how we can help to organise things for you. Please get in touch to request a home visit or read more about Arranging a Funeral.
For any questions you may have regarding what to do when someone dies, please call the White Rose team on 020 3281 1045 and we will be happy to help you.
You can find more in-depth information about what to do when someone dies at our sister website independentfuneral.co.uk including a detailed step-by-step guide.