What to do when someone dies
If you are responsible for making the funeral arrangements after the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know what you need to do. Besides letting family and friends know, there are practical arrangements you will need to take care of when someone dies such as registering the death and notifying certain organisations.
Simplicity Cremations are here to walk you through the first steps after death. We’ve created this guide that explains what to do when someone dies.
Has someone passed away?
When someone dies, what you need to do immediately will depend on how and where the person passed away.
The following links will explain what you need to do straight away depending on the situation:
>What to do when someone dies at home
A step by step guide of what to do when someone dies
Step 1: Get a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)
A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) includes the deceased’s name, age, place and cause of death, and will be issued by a doctor that will confirm the death, if the cause is known.
If the person died at home, their GP will issue this personally (or you may be asked to collect it from the GP’s receptionist). If the person died in hospital or a care home, the staff will provide you with the MCCD.
If a doctor is unsure about how the person died, the death is unexpected or suspicious, or their doctor had not seen the deceased in the 14 days prior to their death, the Coroner (or Procurator Fiscal if in Scotland) may be contacted so that a post-mortem or inquest can be carried out. This may take some time, which can delay funeral arrangements.
This is an extremely important step, as, without this certificate, you won’t be able to register the death at your local register office.
Learn more about obtaining a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
You will also need to find a funeral director or provider, and arrange for the deceased to be collected and brought into their care.
Step 2: Register the death
The next step in the process when someone dies is to register the death. You will need to do this within 5 days if you’re in England and Wales or 8 days if you’re in Scotland. These timeframes include weekends and bank holidays.
If the death has been reported to the Coroner, you cannot register the death until the Coroner’s investigations (a post-mortem or inquest) are complete.
In England and Wales, its best to register the death at the register office closest to where the person died, as you’ll be given the documents you need on the day. You can use a different register office, but the documents will be sent to the office in the area where the person has died before they are issued to you – which may cause a delay. In Scotland, the death can be registered in any district or council registration office.
You can find your local register office online:
The funeral can only take place after the cause of death has been confirmed and the death is registered. When you register the death, the registrar will also provide you with a green certificate that will allow burial or cremation to go ahead. You will need to give this form to your chosen funeral provider.
We have created a guide that includes more information on how to register a death.
Step 3: Arrange the funeral
The next step to take when someone dies is to decide on the type of funeral the deceased would have wanted, as you will likely have already contacted your chosen funeral provider to take your loved one’s body into their care.
When it comes to arranging a funeral, there are a number of decisions for you to make, including whether the deceased would have wanted a burial or cremation and a funeral with or without a service. The deceased may have had a prepaid funeral plan or have left details about their funeral wishes in their will, or alongside other paperwork, they have left behind. You are under no obligation to follow their wishes, but when someone has left their funeral wishes, most families decide to honour these.
Opting for a Simplicity Cremation will mean you do not have to engage with the services of a Funeral Director or visit a funeral home, saving both your time and money at what will be an emotional time for you and your family. The process of arranging a funeral with Simplicity can be started with one simple phone call to our expert team. Our funerals are available from £995 throughout the whole of mainland Great Britain.
Learn more about arranging a funeral with Simplicity.
What should I do next?
In the weeks and months following your loved one’s death, there will also be other things you may need to take care of such as commencing estate proceedings, notifying the government and relevant organisations about the death, deciding what to do with their social media accounts and even arranging a memorial service if you wish.
We’ve created a guide on what to do after the funeral to help you.
What to do when someone dies checklist
Download our free what to do when someone dies checklist to guide you through the process.