Basic ‘To Do’ list

What to do following a death

  • Where relevant, facilitate body or tissue donation.
  • Obtain medical certificate stating the cause of death – signed by doctor who attended the person before death or notification of referral to the coroner. It is necessary to have 2 doctors sign when the deceased is to be cremated and there is a cost to this.
  • Check / locate formal papers – ie. will, funeral plan / wishes, life insurance policies.
  • Decide upon type of funeral required and choose appropriate funeral director or start to plan to Do-It-Yourself.
  • Inform the deceased’s family, friends, work and colleagues
  • Arrange any desired public announcements of the death for local / national press or online
  • Collect together the paperwork required to register a death:
    – Medical certificate / notification of referral to the coroner (essential)
    – Deceased’s birth certificate
    – Marriage / civil partnership certificate
    – National Insurance number
    – NHS medical card
  • Information about the deceased required to register a death:
    – Full name at time of death and any previous names
    – Last address
    – Previous occupation
    – Details of surviving spouse / civil partner and their occupation
  • Make an appointment to register the death. This is to meant be done within 5 days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 8 days within Scotland but there are sometimes delays in obtaining the medical certificates or getting an appointment at the registry office. You can find out where to register by clicking on this link: Where to register
    It is possible to notify different agencies such as DWP about the death at the same time as registration with the “Tell Us Once Service” which can save time and effort.
  • Obtain the death certificate. It is advisable and cheaper to pay for a few additional copies of the death certificate at this stage as you will need to have several copies to sort out the deceased’s personal affairs.
  • Seek legal advice where necessary – this could about the will or lack of a will.
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