What to do when a loved one dies

When a loved one dies, there are many practical decisions that must be made. Unfortunately, these decisions must often be made at a time of emotional distress. When a loved one dies at home, there are two important phone calls that you will need to make. You need to inform the Doctor who will attend and once they are happy with the cause of death then you will be able to instruct a funeral director. However, we are more than happy to speak to you before this point.

When a loved one passes away in hospital, the hospital staff will ensure that the family of the person who has passed away are notified as soon as possible. You will be given the opportunity to see your loved one and also collect any belongings from the hospital. You may be able to collect the Medical Certificate (that is required to register the death) from the hospital at the same time. Once the necessary paperwork has been completed we will be able to bring your loved one into our care.

When a loved one passes away in a nursing home or hospice, the procedure is very similar to when someone dies in a hospital. It is always a good idea to check with the nursing homes and hospices what their procdures and practices are. When the death occurs, the nursing home will contact the funeral director on your behalf, but of course if you want to make this phone call yourself, you can. The funeral director will then bring your loved one into our care.

Looking after families in their time of need has been a real calling for me. It’s a privilege and an honour to be able to care for people in their time of need
— Andrew Phillips

What happens next? 

Registering the death

It is usually required when someone passes away that the death is registered within five days with the registrar's office. It is preferable that the person registering the death is a relative although the death can be registered by one of the following people:

Senior person of the establishment where the person has died
The person making the funeral arrangements
Someone who was present when the death occurred

When someone dies, the Doctor will issue a 'Medical Certificate of Cause of Death' and you will need this along with the following in order to complete the registration:

NHS Medical Card or number (does not delay registration if you do not have this)
The date and place of death
The person's full name and place of birth
The person's usual address
The person's marital status
The person's occupation of their spouse

Once the registration has been completed, the registrar will issue two form - A certificate of Registration of Death and a Certificate for Cremation or Burial (known commonly as the Green Form) - this is the only form you will need to give to the funeral director.


In certain circumstances the death may have been referred to the Coroner. When the Coroner is involved they may decide one of the following - that no further action is necessary and pass the details to the registrar, that further investigations are needed or to open an inquest.

The Coroner will keep you informed as to what you will need to do in these circumstances as these can vary. We will of course continue to liaise with you during this time and provide as much information as we can. This process can usually take between four and five days and in some circumstances this can delay any funeral arrangements.  

Dear Andrew, Tracey and all the team
Thank you so very much for all your care, sensitivity and patience with us with the organisation of Mum’s funeral service. It all came together on the day as we had hoped - a wonderful celebration of her long varied life. To know we had the knowledge of the team throughout the planning process, plus your presence, with calm professionalism, experience and attention to detail, made it free of worry. We would not hesitate to recommend you to others in the area.
Cath and family