Practical Help

It is important to know what to do when someone dies, it can be a shocking and bewildering process but there are various steps that need to be completed in a timely manner.  Knowing what to do when a death occurs can relieve further stress at a difficult time.

  • The main things you need to do when someone dies include the following:
  • Obtain a medical certificate – this is required to register the death
  • Register the death – this must happen within 5 days in England and Wales
  • Make funeral arrangements

Step 1 – Obtaining a medical certificate:

This is a process which is necessary in order to register the death of a person. The circumstances in which someone dies can influence the way a medical certificate is obtained.

The following list describes how the process can differ depending on the circumstances:

  • When the death happens in a hospital – If a person dies in a hospital, the body will be taken to the hospital mortuary.  A doctor at the hospital will issue a medical certificate which you will need to register the death. Once you have received the medical certificate you can inform us that the body is ready to be transported to our Chapel Of Rest.
  • When a death occurs at home or in a nursing home – If a death occurs at home or in a nursing home, and you were prepared for the passing, you will need to inform a doctor as soon as possible. The attending doctor will issue a medical certificate. When you have received the medical certificate you can inform us so we can arrange transportation of your loved one to our funeral home.
  • What happens in the case of a sudden or unexplained death and the coroner becomes involved? – If a death is sudden or unexpected, you should contact the emergency services by dialling 999 immediately. The police and an ambulance will attend. If a doctor cannot issue a medical certificate then HM Coroner becomes involved. The police will arrange for the deceased to be moved to the hospital mortuary on behalf of the coroner. The coroner may request a post-mortem if the cause of death is unknown or unexplained. If this happens a medical certificate will not be issued until the cause of death has been established.

Step 2 – Registering a Death

UK law dictates that the death of a person must be registered within 5 days, usually at the Registry Office closest to the place of death. A relative or the executor of the will should register the death, other people are permitted if a close relative is not available: a person who was present at death, a co-occupant of the house or a  hospital official.

Please be aware that many Registry Offices require you to make an appointment, we can do this for you and arrange collection of the death certificate. Once you have registered the death, we can handle all the arrangements for you.

Step 3 – Obtaining Certificate for burial or cremation

Once the death is registered, the registrar will issue a certificate to authorise burial or cremation. This form is also known as a green form.  We will need this certificate to be passed to us so that the funeral arrangements can be finalised.

Step 4 – Make the funeral arrangements

If your loved one held a valid a pre-paid funeral plan, then the funeral will be planned according to their wishes. If no prior arrangements have been made then we will arrange a funeral planning consultation with the next of kin. This can be at your own convenience in your home or our funeral site in Cardigan.

Dying Abroad and Repatriation

At Colin Phillips and Daughters, we will work with you and advise you by contacting an overseas funeral director and the British Consulate or Embassy to organise the necessary documentation and transport of the deceased to the UK.

Who to Notify After a Bereavement

This list will assist you in completing the necessary tasks that need to be undertaken, following a loved ones’ passing:

  • Contact the deceased’s solicitor regarding the will, this may contain instructions regarding the funeral arrangements
  • Contact the deceased’s employer or professional association together with the Inland Revenue
  • Inform Local Government; cancel housing/tax benefits/Social Services
  • Social Security: cancel any direct payments into bank accounts etc
  • Contact banks/building societies/credit card companies etc. (joint accounts require a change of name)
  • Car insurance: you are not legally insured to drive if the policy is in the deceased’s name
  • DVLA to return the driving licence, cancel or return car tax, change car registration documents
  • Contact pension providers, investment and life insurance companies, and mortgage providers
  • Inform utility companies if accounts are held in the deceased’s name and TV/internet companies
  • Return passport to the UK Identity and Passport Service
  • If there is no will, you may wish to apply to the Probate Registry for Letters of Administration – you can do this yourself or appoint a solicitor to help you

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