What to do when someone dies

Knowing what to do when someone dies can seem overwhelming, so we’ve created a guide to help you navigate this difficult time. We’ve included information about what to do directly after the death, as well as what needs to happen in the weeks and months following the loss.

When someone dies, if they have died in hospital or in a nursing home/hospice, the death is often natural and expected. But if your loved one has died at home, the first step is to call the GP as soon as possible. The GP will normally visit the house and, if the death was expected, will issue a medical certificate stating the cause of death. If the death was unexpected, this will need to be reported to a coroner, who may request a post-mortem to be carried out.

Finding a funeral director is usually the next step; you can call your local funeral home and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options, funeral costs and answer any questions you may have.

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How to register a death

Paperwork is probably the last thing you want to think about at this difficult time, but it’s important to consider what documents and paperwork you need when someone dies. If you do not register the death straight away, you may delay arranging a funeral.

For more information about how and where to register a death, documents needed to register a death, how long it takes to get a death certificate and how much it will cost, you can read our guide below.

Letting people know

If you are the spouse or civil partner of the person who has died, it’ll likely fall to you to inform friends and family of the loss. This is a job that nobody wants to undertake, but it is, unfortunately, a necessary part of the process. If you are struggling at all it’s good to speak to people you trust that are close to you – they can help pass on the news to relevant people.

In addition to telling friends and family, you’ll need to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the deceased’s relevant building society and any relevant government departments. For a list of individuals and organisations who will need to be contacted, read our guide below.

Bereavement and compassionate leave in the UK

When a loved one or close friend passes away, there can be a lot to organise. This can make it very difficult to find time to grieve. In the UK, if there is a death in the family or a close friend dies, an employer can grant compassionate or bereavement leave; this will give you time to grieve and make necessary funeral arrangements for the deceased.

For more information like, how many days you are entitled to for bereavement leave, compassionate leave or bereavement pay and whether an employer can refuse bereavement leave, read our guide below.

Documents and certificates

When arranging a funeral for a loved one, you will need a selection of certificates which will be administered by a register office. These include: Certificate for Burial or Cremation (green form), Certificate of Registration of Death (white form) and a Death Certificate. More information about this paperwork can be found below.

NB: You can start funeral arrangements with your chosen Funeral Director while you wait to for the documentation.

Dealing with online accounts after death

Many people choose to do their banking online, or have a variety of social media accounts across multiple platforms. When a person close to you dies, you may have to consider how you will deal with/close these online accounts. Each platform will have different Terms of Service so you’ll need to check these to find out what legal documentation you’ll need.

Another option is to memorialise social media platforms after death; this may be something you want to consider instead of closing the online account straight away. Alternatively, if you want to delete a social media account, you can find useful links below.

How to pick a funeral director

After you have completed the necessary processes for registering the death of a loved one, arranging a funeral is usually the next step. It’s worth noting that you can start arranging the funeral while you wait for the documents to be sent, especially if they are taking a while. Everyone is different, so you need to find a funeral home that suits your requirements.

At Funeral Partners, we have over 200 funeral homes across the UK, overseeing over 13,000 funerals every year. We make sure that each one of our funeral homes provide exceptional client service so we can go above and beyond to cater to your needs.

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Registering a death

A death should be registered before arranging the funeral and is usually carried out by a relative.

How to pick a funeral director

You can be assured that every funeral home that is part of the Funeral Partners family will provide outstanding client service.

Documents and certificates

Certificates you will need to enable you to start arranging the funeral and sorting out the affairs of the person who has died.

Letting people know

Picking up the telephone to tell close family or complete strangers such as an employer about the death is usually difficult.

Compare Cremation Funeral Services

Cremation services usually involve a gathering of family and friends and a cremation committal to say goodbye to a loved one.

Bereavement and Compassionate Leave in the UK

Arranging compassionate leave in the UK will remove unnecessary pressure and give you space to focus on the tasks ahead.

Further Reading: Arranging a funeral

Read about how funerals are arranged and what services you can expect to get.