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What to do when someone dies

It is perfectly normal to be unsure of what to do when someone dies. Simplicity Cremations are here to walk you through the process of what to do when someone dies, so you can get things done the right way. Don't forget, we are available to talk at all hours should you need us.

When someone dies, particularly someone you were close to, it can be a very emotional and confusing time. If you are responsible for making the funeral arrangements it can be difficult to know what you need to do. Besides letting family and friends know, there are practical arrangements and steps to take when someone dies such as notifying certain organisations. We’ve created a guide that explains what to do when someone dies.



What to do when someone dies


Step 1: Get a medical certificate

When someone dies at home and the death was expected, a GP should be called. If this is not possible call 111 and ask for an ambulance. A medical form will be issued by a doctor that will confirm the death. If the person who has passed away is to be cremated, another doctor will need to separately certify the death and provide a second medical death certificate. If a doctor is unsure about how the person died, or the death is unexpected or suspicious, a coroner may be contacted so that a post-mortem can be carried out.


Step 2: Register the death

The next step in the process when someone dies is to register the death. You can use the UK Government website to begin to register a death. You will need to do this within 5 days (or within 8 days for Scotland). In most cases you will need to be a relative of the deceased or someone with recognised authority over the proceedings. You can go to any registry office but if you use the one in the area where the person has died you’ll be given the documents you’ll need on the day. If you use a different registry office, the documents will be sent to the office in the area where the person has died before they are issued to you.

Take the following documents belonging to the deceased:

- birth certificate
- marriage or civil partnership certificate
- NHS medical card

The registrar will need to know:

- the person’s full name
- maiden name (if applicable)
- their date of birth
- their place of birth
- their last address
- their occupation
- the full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse
- if they were receiving a state pension or benefits


Step 3: Contact your chosen funeral provider

One of the next steps to take when someone dies is to choose and contact your chosen funeral provider. The funeral can only take place after the death is registered.

Opting for a Simplicity Cremation will mean you do not have to engage the services of a Funeral Director or visit a branch. The process can be started with one simple phone call to our team of funeral professionals.


Step 4: Notify the government and relevant organisations

In the week’s following the death, you’ll need to start advising various organisations.

Government departments
You can notify several government offices in one go using the Tell Us Once service. This is a free service and available in most areas of England, Wales and Scotland. If this service isn’t available to you, you’ll need to contact the relevant departments directly.

If you're notifying organisations individually, contact:

- HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC)
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- Passport Office
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
- Local Council

Financial organisations
It’s important to inform banks and other financial providers of a death. The Death Notification Service is the simplest way to do this as it notifies a number of banks and building societies at the same time. 

Property and bills
You will also need to notify organisations with which the person was a named account holder. Including:

- Mortgage providers or landlord
- Utility and communications providers
- Insurance providers
- Private pensions
- Employer

You may also consider redirecting the post of the person who has died by filling in a Special Circumstances form and taking it to your local Post Office.


What to do when someone dies checklist

To help you, we've put together a simple checklist to guide you through the process.

File download

Download our 'what to do when someone dies' checklist

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Why choose Simplicity Cremations?

Not everyone wants a traditional funeral, and many do not see the value in some of the more ceremonial aspects.

At Simplicity, we offer you an alternative, with a range of funerals to suit your needs and budget. Read more about our direct cremations, attended and intimate funerals.

For more help on what to do when someone dies or to arrange a funeral, contact us

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Arranging a Funeral

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