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Independent family-owned funeral directors since 1969

When a death occurs

What to do following a bereavement

When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, there are many things to consider that you should take into consideration. In order to help you navigate this difficult time in the days and months following the death of your loved one, we have prepared a guide for you.

When a death occurs, what are the first steps to take?

  • Get a medical certificate – if your loved one died in hospital, the hospital will usually issue the certificate for you, otherwise you should contact their family doctor.
  • Register the death – deaths must be registered and this will provide you with the necessary paperwork for the funeral arrangements. You can read our guide on how to register a death for more information.
  • Plan the funeral – Once you have selected your funeral director, you can contact by phone, email or by visiting the funeral home where one of our expert arrangers will discuss your needs. It’s important to note that you can begin funeral arrangements while you await legal documentation.
  • Notify people – If you are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, you must inform their friends and family about the death. Bereavement support can help during this difficult time.
  • Notify relevant organisations – A number of organisations need to be informed about the loss. Departments such as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and other relevant government agencies participate in this process.
  • Deal with online accounts – You must deal with any online accounts your loved one may have, including online banking and social media accounts. Platforms may have different Terms of Service, so you will need different legal documentation to access them.
  • Organise the estate – The executor of the Will is usually tasked with organising the deceased’s money and property.

What happens when a death occurs in the hospital?

When a loved one dies in hospital, the hospital staff will provide you with support in the early stages of the grieving process. A medical certificate will be issued, and the body will be stored in the hospital mortuary until the funeral director or family members are able to arrange for the body to be transported.

What to do when a death occurs at home?

If a loved one has passed away at home, the first thing you should do is contact your family physician or general practitioner. If the death was expected, a medical certificate stating the cause of death will be issued. The death should then be registered at the Register Office, where a death certificate will be issued.

In the event of a sudden death, a coroner will need to be contacted and a post-mortem examination may be required – this could delay funeral arrangements.

What happens when a death occurs abroad?

If someone dies abroad, the death must be registered with the local authorities. Also, the British Consul will need to be notified so that a death certificate can be issued by the consulate.

What to say when a death occurs?

When someone dies, there is no definitive “right” or “wrong” thing to say, but people deal with grief differently. As mourning can feel isolating or lonely, it is important to reach out to those who are grieving – a phone call or card can go a long way to comfort them.

How long until a funeral when a death occurs in the UK?

Generally, a funeral is held within one to three weeks of the death, but this may vary depending on the religious beliefs of the bereaved family. Some religions require that a loved one be buried within 24 hours of death, while others require that a certain set of rites and rituals be observed before burial.

Who is the next of kin when a death occurs?

Next of kin refers to a person’s closest living relative or relatives. Priority is usually accorded in the following order:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings

If you would like more information about the services we offer or would like to speak to a member of staff, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01827 713240 or you can send us a message using our contact form and we will contact you as soon as we can. We are here to help and support you.

Register a death

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We cover all areas of the United Kingdom including England, Scotland and Wales.

(We do not cover Isle of Wright, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and Scottish Islands)

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