What to do when someone dies


It is usual for people to be unsure of what to do after a bereavement. We will take you through the initial steps and provide advice on things you need to think about when someone passes away.

When death occurs at home you should first contact the deceased's Doctor, or whichever Doctor is on duty. The Doctor will need to certify that death has taken place. If the deceased has been seen by the Doctor within the last fourteen days a death certificate can normally be issued, and the Doctor will advise as to the availability of it. After the Doctor has visited, it may be your wish that the deceased be taken to your chosen funeral director's Chapel of Rest. This can be arranged by telephone at any hour, day or night by calling the telephone number at the bottom of this page.

If the death has occurred in a Hospital, Nursing or Residential home, most of the procedures mentioned will have been carried out, and with your consent, the deceased can be taken to the Funeral Director's Chapel of Rest. A member of staff will be able to advise you upon the availability of the death certificate. In all cases the death certificate must be taken to the registrar of births, marriages and deaths. Once the doctor has said that they are able to issue a cause of death certificate, please contact us as soon as you feel ready for your loved one to be taken into our care.

H.M Coroner

H.M Coroner

Sometimes it is not possible for a doctor to issue a death certificate, the death may have been sudden or unexplained, the result of a road accident, or soon after admission to Hospital. These are just some of the reasons why a death may be reported to the Coroner.

The Coroner is a judicial officer whose function it is to determine the cause of death in all cases where a Doctor has not been able to issue a death certificate. The fact that a death has been reported to the Coroner should not give cause for undue alarm, it is simply the process by which the cause of death must be established in cases where a normal death certificate cannot be issued.

Sometimes the Coroner may be able to deal with the case by consultation with the Doctor. The Coroner may then agree that the Doctor may issue a death certificate and registration of the death can then take place in the normal manner, after the registrar has received a form from the Coroner's Office and the death certificate (which the Doctor will have made available to the next of kin or personal representative of the deceased).

In cases that cannot be resolved by consultation between the Doctor and Coroner, the Coroner will require a post-mortem examination, which usually shows death was due to natural causes, in which case no inquest will be held, and the Coroner will send a form to the Registrar of Deaths indicating that registration may take place, (no death certificate will be issued by the Doctor).

Where the death was not due to natural causes, for example a road traffic accident, the Coroner will hold an inquest. The purpose of an inquest is to establish the identity of the deceased, when and how the death took place, and the actual cause of death. Following the inquest the Coroner will issue a certificate for either burial or cremation, to allow the funeral to take place. He may then adjourn the inquest and reconvene it at a later date, having gathered relevant information relating to the death, and finally close.

H. V. Taylor & Son Limited are fully conversant with all the Coroner's procedures and can advise you fully.

Registering a death

Registering a death

In most cases you will need to register the death within five days in the district in which the death occurred. This can help avoid delays getting the necessary documents.

If the Coroner is involved you will be advised when to register the death.

We can advise you on the procedure for registering a death. Below is a guide that can help, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. The following people can register a death:

  • Any relative of the person who has died
  • Any person present at the death
  • A person who lives in the house where the person died
  • The person arranging the funeral (this cannot be a Funeral Director)

A simple interview with the Registrar to register the death is carried out at the Register Office.

You should take with you the Medical Certificate issued by the doctor showing the cause of death and the deceased’s Medical Card. You will also require the following information about the deceased:

  • Full name
  • Home Address
  • Marital Status
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Occupation (if any)
  • Maiden Name (if female and married)
  • Spouse’s Name
  • Spouse’s Date of Birth
  • Spouse’s Occupation

The registrar will issue you with:

A Certificate of Registration of Death, which you should fill in and send to the social security office for the area where the person died.

A Certificate for Burial or Cremation (known as a green form), which you should give to your funeral director as soon as possible.

Certified copies of the entry of death can also be issued by The Registrar, you will need these for official purposes such as Insurers, closing Bank Accounts and Pension Schemes etc.

  • Special copies are issued for Friendly Societies.
Caring for the deceased

Caring for the deceased

Given approval by the authorities, we can convey your loved one to our chapel of rest at any hour of the day or night. Once you have entrusted your loved one into our care we will look after them with respect and sensitivity.

We can provide gowns or some people like to provide us with items such as a favourite outfit. Other items such as flowers, soft toys, photographs and messages may also be placed we the deceased.

Viewing the deceased

Viewing the deceased and personal effects

Some people find it comforting to see the person who has passed away. Others find it upsetting and prefer to remember them in other ways.

Please remember, it really is a personal choice and we aim to help in any way we can.

We have a chapel of rest located in our office in Ryde. They are purpose built and well appointed should you wish to visit your loved one. You may spend as much time as you wish and come as often as you wish.

If you would like personal items to be placed with the deceased, and find this too upsetting to do yourself, our staff would be happy to help.

Part of our duty is to confer with you regarding any jewellery, for instance a wedding ring, or items of clothing remaining with the deceased when received on our premises. We will seek your instructions and ensure they are carried out.

Telling others

Telling others about the death

You may wish to tell people about the death and the details of the funeral, by putting an announcement in the press. We can help you with drafting and sending a death announcement to a newspaper.

We can also assist after the funeral with placing a message in the newspaper to thank those who attended and sent flowers or donations.