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What To Do When Someone Dies?

When a loved one passes away its a stressful time for all and often people don’t know what to do or what to do first, our guild is simple and to the point. Outlining the basic things you need to do

Our making funeral arrangements information includes everything you need to know if a friend or loved one has just died or if death is expected sometime soon.We’ll take you through the steps of arranging a funeral — from making the first call when someone dies to the various matters to be handled following the funeral.

We’ll take you through the steps of arranging a funeral — from making the first call when someone dies to the various matters to be handled following the funeral.

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First Call

The deceased is still at the place of death the first call needs to be made to Inform a doctor If the death’s at home, call their GP. In hospital, there will often be a doctor or nurse present. If the death is expected, a medical certificate showing the cause of death will be given by the doctor. If it wasn’t expected, or if the deceased hadn’t seen their GP in the last 14 days (28 days in Northern Ireland) the death has to be reported to the coroner. Once all That is done you can then arrange for transportation of the deceased to a funeral home or other funeral service facility.

Key Elements

Deceased Transportation

Once you have contacted the Funeral Directors this will start the initial transfer of the deceased from the place of death to a funeral home or other facility. In some cases, a second transfer may be required either — locally to another funeral home — or to another city for ceremonies and burial.

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Funeral Services

Planning a funeral involves making many decisions concerning funeral ceremonies, funeral products and final disposition of the body. For assistance in arranging funerals people usually turn to funeral directors. 

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If the deceased had pets and lived alone, make arrangements for them to be looked after. Ask family or friends or the RSPCA for help.

If their house is empty, make sure it’s secure against burglars and cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries. If the home insurance was only in the deceased’s name, it won’t be valid, so contact the insurer as soon as you can. If it’s in joint names, it will still be valid. If you were a named driver on the deceased’s car insurance, it may not be valid, so contact the insurer and explain the situation.

Target Audience

Registering the death

You need to register the death with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for the district where the death occurred (bear in mind your local hospital may be in a different district to where the deceased lived). You’ll need the medical certificate and details about the deceased. You must do this within five days of the death (eight days in Scotland). The time limit doesn’t apply if there’s going to be a post-mortem.


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Cemetery Arrangements

If cemetery property has not already been purchased, it will be necessary to meet with a cemetery representative to purchase a burial or entombment space. In some cases, the funeral director can make these arrangements on behalf of a family. 

Key Elements

Funeral and Memorial Products

There are various options for purchasing caskets, grave markers, and other funeral merchandise. These products are available through a funeral home, cemetery, monument company, or other retailers. 

Target Audience

Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters

Following the funeral, the affairs of the deceased must be put in order. These matters range from sending death notices to filing death benefit claims to changing the title of the deceased’s assets.

Making Funeral Arrangements when Death is Imminent

If a friend or loved one is seriously ill and expected to die in a matter of days or weeks, you may want to make funeral arrangements in advance. Preparing in advance puts you in control. It will make your meeting with a funeral director more productive and likely save you money. 


There are 3 things you must do in the first few days after someone dies.

  1. Get a medical certificate from a GP or hospital doctor. You’ll need this to register the death.
  2. Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral.
  3. Arrange the funeral – you can use a funeral director or arrange it yourself.

What do you need to register a death?

  • NHS card (also called the medical card)
  • Birth certificate.
  • Driving license.
  • Council tax bill.
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
  • If possible please take the National Insurance number of the deceased and the number of a surviving spouse or civil partner.
  • Passport.
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill)

Who to tell

There will probably be quite a lot of people to tell. These include:

  • Utility providers if the bills were in the deceased’s name (don’t forget the phone, broadband, mobile phone, paid TV subscriptions).
  • The dead person’s bank(s), credit card, insurance companies, pension provider, mortgage provider or landlord, organisations, and clubs. Be aware that if you have a second credit card on the deceased’s account, the account will be frozen once you tell them about the death.
  • Government departments and the local council. In most of the UK, there is a Tell us Once service (or Bereavement Service in Northern Ireland) which means you can tell the council and all government departments (eg tax office, DVLA, Department of Work and Pensions, passport service) with one call. Ask when you register the death if your area does this.

Sort out the finances

Claim on a life insurance plan, if there is one.

If you’ve lost your spouse, you may be entitled to a bereavement allowance or a one-off bereavement payment, but generally not if you and the deceased are above state pension age. You can contact the Government’s Bereavement Service on 0845 608 8601.

If there’s a will, this will name someone as the executor of the estate. If there isn’t, this responsibility goes to the closest relative, who is known as the administrator. You’ll need to gain probate (known as confirmation in Scotland) which means you can legally deal with the estate. Any inheritance tax must be paid within six months, although if it’s on a property, you’re allowed to pay it in installments. Spouses and civil partners and charities can inherit without paying inheritance tax.

Debts or mortgages have to be paid, but only if there’s money left in the estate – debts don’t pass on to relatives. If the debt was in joint names, though, it becomes the responsibility of the survivor.

You Will Find A Lot Of Useful Information On the GOV.UK Website

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