What To Do When Someones Dies

A lot of people won’t know what to do when a death happens – however, there are a few official and necessary steps to go through after someone has died.

Contact a doctor
If the death occurs at home, you should telephone the deceased’s GP. If the death is unexpected, depending on circumstances, the coroner may become involved to establish a cause of death. If the death occurs in a hospital, hospice or care home, their staff will know who to contact and will generally do this for you and provide further advice, should you wish. The doctor who attends the death will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

H.M. Coroner
There are various reasons why a death may have to be reported to the coroner by a doctor or by the police. This could happen just after a death takes place or some time later after relevant medical personnel have been consulted. The coroner’s duty is to establish the cause of death when a doctor is unable to issue a medical certificate of cause of death. Procedures for registering the death differ when the coroner becomes involved. Should this be the case, we will offer additional advice and information as necessary. Find out more about the Coroner’s Service here.

Contact a funeral director
Next, you should get in touch with a qualified funeral director. Bowley & Gallagher can be reached 24 hours a day for support and advice – once contacted, we will arrange the removal of the deceased into our care. Following that, we will await your instructions and the commencement of funeral arrangements. At this point, a decision will have to be made as to whether a burial or cremation will take place.

Register the death
Deaths need to be registered with the local registrar’s office within five days of the death. There are three local registrars and we can help you determine the correct district if needs be. Appointments need to be made with the office to register the death.

Brighton and Hove Registration District
The Town Hall, Bartholomews, Brighton, BN1 1JA

Lewes Registration District
Southover Grange, Southover Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1TP

Haywards Heath Registration District
Haywards Heath Library, Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1BN

The information you will need to register the death includes:

  • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
  • Date and place of death
  • Full name of the deceased (and maiden name if deceased was a married woman)
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation (and, if applicable, full name and occupation of spouse/civil partner)
  • Their address
  • If married/in a civil partnership, the date of birth of surviving significant other
  • Their medical card

The following documents are useful but not essential:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address (council tax or utilities bills)
  • If applicable, marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Bringing along your own current passport would also be useful

It is advisable to purchase around 5 copies of the death certificate as you will have to notify various people of the passing. After registering, you will be issued with a green Certificate for Burial/Cremation, depending on choice. This should be delivered to the funeral director to enable the funeral or memorial service to take place.