What to do when someone dies

Whilst procedures vary throughout the UK, we will be able to advise you accordingly on what steps to take. It is common that people are unsure of what to do following bereavement and the following information offers some initial guidance:

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When someone dies at home or in a nursing home

the first contact should be with the deceased's doctor who, if satisfied with the cause of death, will issue the Medical Certificate of Death. In some cases you may be asked to collect the certificate from the surgery. In the case of a nursing home death, their staff should liaise with the doctor. For sudden death at home, inform both the doctor and the local police.

Contact us: After you have informed the doctor.

When someone dies in hospital

the Nursing staff or bereavement office will liaise with you if death occurs in hospital. They will arrange for a doctor to issue the Medical Certificate of Death which you will need to collect, along with any belongings, from the hospital bereavement office. Advise the bereavement staff if the funeral is to be a cremation or burial.

Contact us: Ring the Family Liaison Officer at any one of our seven funeral homes when you are ready to make the funeral arrangements.

When someone dies unexpectedly

it is normal for the Coroner (England and Wales) or Procurator Fiscal (Scotland) to be involved. There are many reasons why this can happen, for example the Coroner is automatically involved in most sudden or unexpected deaths, especially if the deceased has not been under a doctor’s care on a regular basis. The emergency doctor, or any police involved, will inform the relevant Coroner’s office or the Procurator Fiscal.

Contact us: Again ring any of our Client Liaison Officers as soon as possible. We can advise on the procedures involved and liaise with the Coroner’s office.

When someone dies away from home or abroad

either within the UK or anywhere abroad then there are extra measures to take, a local doctor will need to be contacted to provide the Death Certificate and there may be extra procedures relevant to the country involved that should be observed. Once the doctor has been notified and you have collected the Death Certificate then you can begin the necessary arrangements to bring the deceased home. If from abroad then the procedure is known as repatriation.  Check their travel insurance to see if they are covered.

Contact us: We will help and support you through the various processes that need to be followed, providing much needed guidance during a difficult time and answer any questions you have.

We can also make the necessary arrangements to take the deceased into our care and begin planning the funeral.

For information on HM Coroners Essex