What to do when someone dies What should i do next? (2023)

When someone dies, it can be hard to consider practical things. We can help you consider next steps.

  • What do I have to do immediately?
  • How do I record a death?
  • Who do I inform of the death?
  • What do I do if the deceased had a power of attorney?
  • How do I organize a funeral?

What do I have to do immediately?

What you should do when someone dies depends on the circumstances of their death.

When someone dies at home and their death was expected

Call the GP and the next of kin.

If death was expected, for example due to an incurable disease, in most cases the doctor will issue a medical certificate stating the cause of death so that the death can be registered at the registry office. A death certificate will then be issued.

After consulting with your family doctor's office and if you feel ready, you may contact a funeral director

When someone dies unexpectedly at home

Call 999 immediately and explain what happened.

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If the cause of death is unclear or unnatural, such as an accident, or if the person was not seen by a doctor during their recent illness, the death may need to be reported to a medical examiner. A coroner is a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating unexpected deaths. The coroner may request an autopsy. This may take some time, so the funeral may have to be postponed.

When someone dies unexpectedly, the police are called in for a routine visit. They ask questions about the circumstances of death that can help the coroner understand the cause of death.

When someone dies in the hospital

The hospital usually issues a medical certificate and a reminder. They support you with the next steps you need to take.

The body is usually kept in the hospital morgue until next of kin arrange for it to be delivered to their home by a funeral director or to bring the body home.

When someone dies abroad

If someone dies abroad, you must register the death according to the country's rules.

In the UK, a local death certificate can usually be used. If it is not in English, you may need a certified translation when dealing with the person's business. You can also choose to register the death with the UK authorities. To do this, contact theForeign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

You can find out more about what to do if a British citizen dies abroad on the GOV.UK website

How do I record a death?

The law requires reporting a death within five days. A burial or cremation cannot take place until the head has been registered.

Here is a step by step guide on how to do it:

Step 1: Find a registry office

It is best to use the one closest to the area where the person died. Most offices will require you to make an appointment, so it's best to call ahead to verify.

Find a registration office on the GOV.UK website

Step 2: Prepare the information

When you go to the registry office, you must take the certificate of the cause of death signed by a doctor. If possible, also take from the person:

  • birth certificate
  • NHS medical card or number
  • Marriage certificate or civil union
  • Driver's license
  • proof of your address.

You must show the registrar, or say:

  • the medical certificate signed by a doctor stating the cause of death
  • the person's full name (and any other names they had, such as maiden name)
  • the person's date and place of birth
  • his date and place of death
  • your usual address
  • their last occupation and if they are retired
  • whether or not they received benefits, includingstate pension, as well as the name, occupation and date of birth of the spouse or life partner.

Step 3: What you get

If you have provided the required information, the registrar will notify you of the following:

  • a burial or cremation certificate (known as the green form)
  • a death certificate (form BD8). YIf the person received benefits or a state pension, you can use this form to make sure those payments are adjusted. This is not necessary if you are using the Tell US Once service.
  • bereavement brochures
  • a death certificate for which a fee is charged. This is a certified copy of what is on the death record and is required to handle the person's property and financial affairs.

Step 4: Obtain additional certificates

If necessary, you can purchase additional death certificates, as they may be necessary to clarify the estate of the deceased.

(Video) What can be seen immediately before and after a person dies

It is better to pay for multiple copies, since copies ordered later can be more expensive.

Some organizations, such as banks or life insurance companies, do not accept regular photocopies.

Step 5: Update records

Hetell us onceThe service can be used to report a death to multiple government agencies at once. The service is offered by most municipalities. You can make an appointment when you register the death, or you canaccess online serviceor by phone.

You will need a Tell Us Once reference number from the registrar.

Who do I inform of the death?

When someone dies, you should contact certain organizations to let them know as soon as possible.

You may be able to use the Tell Us Once service to do some of this if it's available in your area.

Government agencies that can be contacted immediately include:

  • local services such as libraries, voting services, and municipal tax services
  • the tax office
  • the Driver and Vehicle Registration Office (DVLA)
  • the british passport authority
  • HMRC for tax purposes.

If your local authority does not offer the Tell Us Once service, you will need to contact those departments yourself.

You must return the person's driving license to the DVLA and their passport to the HM Passport Office.

You may also need to contact other organizations, such as

  • pension insurance institution
  • insurance company
  • bank and building society
  • Employer
  • Mortgage provider, housing association, or local housing authority
  • social services
  • utilities
  • your family doctor, dentist, optician, and all other people who provide health care
  • any charities, organizations, or magazine subscriptions to which the deceased made regular payments
  • Bereavement Registration, which removes your data from mailing lists and stops most promotional emails.

What do I do if the deceased had a power of attorney?

The power of attorney can cover decisions related to your property and financial matters, or your health and care, or both.

If the decedent had a power of attorney, it is automatically extinguished upon death. The attorney must return the permanent or durable power of attorney document and all certified copies to the Office of the Public Guardian along with a copy of the death certificate.

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Learn more about powers of attorney

How do I organize a funeral?

The deceased may have left funeral instructions in their will or a letter detailing their wishes.

They may also have purchased a prepaid funeral plan. This usually means that all burial or cremation arrangements have already been made and paid for. The paperwork they have will tell you which funeral home to contact.

If there are no clear wishes, it is usually the executor or next of kin who decides whether the body will be cremated or buried and what type of burial will take place.

You must verify that the funeral homes you are speaking with are registered with eitherNational Association of Funeral Directorsor theNational Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors(or both).

Ask funeral homes for quotes to help you decide which one to use. Request a detailed offer that includes:

  • funeral home services
  • a coffin
  • Transfer of the deceased from the place of death
  • Care of the deceased before burial
  • a hearse to the nearest crematorium or cemetery
  • all the necessary arrangements and procedures.

Additional costs may apply to third parties such as crematorium, clergy, celebrants, and physicians. Funeral directors may require that these fees be paid in advance.

The funeral home will ensure that you and other professionals, such as B. the person's physician, complete all required forms. There are fees for some of these - the funeral home pays for them and then includes them in your fee.

Organizing a funeral without a funeral director

You don't have to hire a funeral director if you don't want to; you can do it yourself.

DIY funerals can be less expensive and more personal and intimate.

This type of funeral is often held when someone makes their wishes clear before their death and plans it themselves, as it can require lengthy planning.

Please contact your local authority if you wish to arrange a burial in your local cemetery or crematorium.

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(Video) Who can be seen immediately before and after a person dies (Deathbed Visitors).

pay for a funeral

Organizing a funeral can be expensive and stressful. When paying for the funeral, think carefully about what you can afford.

The funeral can be paid for by:

  • You or other family members or friends
  • a lump sum from a life insurance policy or pension fund to which the person has contributed
  • a prepaid funeral plan that the person has completed
  • the person's estate (any money, property, or wealth left behind). Funeral expenses take precedence over other debts
  • Money the person had at a bank or building society, although they are not required to release the money until probate (the legal process of distributing the deceased person's money, property, and possessions) is made. If there is a delay, you may need to pay the costs in the meantime.

Assistance with funeral expenses

If you are responsible for arranging the funeral and have a low income, you may be eligible for payment of funeral expenses from the Social Fund.

A funeral payment covers the cost of a simple and respectful funeral in the UK, including up to £1,000 for things like the coffin and flowers.

There are strict rules about who can get help and how much they get. For example, you must claimpension creditor certain other means-tested benefits and must have had a close relationship with the decedent, e.g. B. to your family member or partner.

More information about paying funeral expenses

If you are not eligible for a funeral payment, or if it does not cover the full cost of the funeral, you may be able to get a budget loan or budget advance from the Social Fund. These are interest-free loans between £100 and £812 that you pay back with your profits over time.

Learn more about loan budgeting and advance budgeting

Would you like more information?

Information guide When someone dies (PDF, 3.6 MB)

Grief Information Guide (PDF, 2.9 MB)

Instructions for the executor (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Learn more about bereavement benefits

What to do when someone dies What should i do next? (2) We are here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. The phones are available 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. We also have specialist advisers in over 125 Age UK locations.

(Video) Timeline: Human Body After Death

Via the Age UK Advice Center Find your local Age UK


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