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What to Do When Death Happens

Documentation

When someone dies, it may help to gather the following documents when registering the death:

  • Medical certificate of death
  • The deceased person’s birth and marriage certificates
  • The deceased person’s NHS medical card

In addition to the official documentation, it can help to compile some information about the deceased:

  • The deceased person’s date and place of death
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their full name, including the maiden name
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • Details of any pension or benefits they were in receipt of at the time of their death.

The death needs to be registered within five days of it occurring, including weekends and bank holidays.

Depending on whether the death occurred at home, abroad or in hospital, there are certain things you may need to do. We’ll go through them here.

If the death occurred in hospital

The hospital staff will be able to provide you with a medical certificate of the death, and this will need to be given to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (whether by you or hospital staff). You will also need to collect the deceased’s belongings from the hospital.

During the registration process, you will be asked if you have instructed a Funeral Director – make sure that you have our details on hand, as they may need our telephone number or email address. Your loved one can only be moved from the hospital when the ‘green certificate’ or ‘coroner’s order’ is received at the funeral home.

For cremations, we would then need to organise the completion, collection and payment of the doctor’s paperwork. Only when we have all the documentation can we book the funeral.

If the death occurred in a nursing home

If the death was expected, the nursing home would most likely have already asked you which funeral director you would like to use. After the passing, a doctor would then have to certify the death and then we would receive the call from the home to take them into our care.

From there, the registration process would take effect as per above and we would arrange the completion of the required forms.
If the death is unexpected, please see the heading below “When Someone dies at home”

When someone dies at home

This process varies depending on if the death was expected or unexpected.

If the death is expected, you would need to call the GP or Out of Hours number – a doctor would then come out and certify the death. Once this has been completed we would be able to come and take them into our care. Unless there are unforeseen circumstances, we will be there within the hour, but would ask that you give us a phone call when the death happens so we can organise to be with you as soon as possible. However, if you did want your loved one at home with you for longer, we can arrange a time that suits you.

Once we have taken your loved one into our care, the registration process would take place as stated above and we would organise the necessary paperwork.

If the death is not expected, you would need to call 999. Most likely an ambulance and police would be in attendance, please do not be alarmed by this, as this is normal. When the time comes, you will be asked if there is a funeral director you would like to use – this is when you would ask for Ivor Thomas Funerals and then the police will contact us directly.

The coroner may need to be involved in this instance which can put a delay on when the funeral can take place, but this isn’t always the case. When the coroner has investigated, they would then send the necessary paperwork directly to ourselves.

When someone dies abroad

A death abroad should be registered in accordance with that country’s laws. It also needs to be reported to The British Consulate – not only can they give help and advice but it also means it can be registered in the UK and the country it occurred in.

When the deceased is repatriated, you will need to notify the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the district where the funeral will take place as well as the local coroner. The Home Office may also need to be contacted.

It may be possible for repatriation costs to be covered by the deceased’s travel insurance.

We know that this can be extremely confusing and a lot to do, but we will guide you through every step of the process.

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FAQs & Advice

A burial is when someone is laid to rest within a grave. Cremation is when the person is cremated.
We understand things can change so as long as you let us know ASAP, we will always endeavour to make any changes you request.
Disbursements are essentially third party costs, the most common within a funeral being the burial or cremation fee, minister and doctors fees. Unlike most funeral directors, we include these within our fee to simplify the costs.
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