When A Death Occurs

What happens when a death occurs

Depending on the circumstances of when a death occurs, different people need to be contacted. We have outlined what can happen in each situation:

Sudden or unexpected death

If the paramedics have been called, they will contact the Police who will attend and contact a Funeral Director. The person who has died will then be taken to a hospital for the Coroner to investigate. The Coroner will review the deceased’s medical history in order to determine if a post-mortem is required. 

Expected death at home or in a care home

When the time comes you will need to contact the Doctor who will then attend as soon as is possible to verify the death; if a qualified health professional is present, they may be able to do this. Once this has been done you will then need to contact a Funeral Director who will arrange for the deceased to be taken into their care.

If the death occurs at a care home, the staff will contact the Doctor to verify the death. The staff will then contact the Funeral Director who will arrange for the deceased to be taken into their care.

The family will need to contact the doctor’s surgery to arrange for the medical certificate to be issued. This certificate is what allows you to register the death. 

Registering the death

▪ The death should be registered within five days from when the death occurred, however this may be extended under some circumstances and if the Coroner is involved. The death must also be registered in the area in which the death occurred. 

▪ When you know when you can collect the medical certificate you should contact the relevant Registrar and make an appointment. You can only register the death once you have the medical certificate from the GP or hospital. If the Coroner is involved, they will contact you and tell you when you are able to register.

▪ You will need to bring the medical certificate with you when attending your appointment with the Registrar so that the death can be formally registered. It will also be helpful if you could bring the deceased’s birth certificate, marriage / civil partnership certificates, National Insurance Number or an NHS medical card.

▪ If a post-mortem is not being carried out, the Registrar will then issue three documents. These include the certificate for Burial or Cremation also known as “a Green Form” (this allows the funeral to take place), white certificate (this has to be returned to the DWP) and death certificate. The cost of a certificate is £11.00, and it is advisable to purchase more than one copy, as the cost can increase if you request more copies at a later date.

▪ Most Registrar’s now offer a ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which involves contacting Government departments on your behalf for the cancelling of state pensions, disabled badges, driving licences, passports and bus passes, they also inform other council departments.

Most deaths are registered by a relative of the deceased, the Registrar would normally only allow somebody else to register if there are no relatives.

The Registrar will require the following information about the deceased:

▪ The full name of the deceased or any other names they are known by, including their maiden name

▪ Their usual address

▪ Their date and place of birth

▪ The date and place of death

▪ Their National Insurance Number

▪ Their last occupation

▪ If the deceased is married, widowed or has a legal civil partnership, the full name and date of birth of their spouse or civil partner

▪ Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension from public funds

The Registrar will require the following information about the person who is registering the death:

▪ Your full name and usual address. Some form of identification is required

▪ Your relationship to the deceased e.g. husband, wife, son or daughter


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