What to do after a death

Introduction

When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to be made. This information aims to give simple advice and basic guidance about what to do after a death.

Death at Home

If in doubt, call the doctor or ring for an ambulance on 999. If the death was unexpected or suspicious, contact the police. You must stay with the body until they arrive.

If the death was expected and a doctor has recently seen the deceased, call them. The doctor will then issue a medical certificate which will show the cause of death.

If the deceased is to be cremated, let the doctor know, as they will have to contact a second doctor to confirm the cause of death. The Funeral Director will get the doctors to sign the cremation certificates, for which there is a charge made by the doctors. This charge is called a disbursement and will be added to your invoice from the Funeral Director.

Death in Hospital

If the deceased died in hospital the hospital staff will contact the next of kin. The deceased will be kept in the hospital mortuary until collection of the body has been arranged.

The staff at the hospital will advise on the collection of the deceased’s personal belongings and on other formalities.

Death elsewhere

If the death occurs away from home, the authorities in that area still complete the initial formalities. If the body is to be returned home for the funeral, then all the necessary arrangements, including transportation of the deceased, can be dealt with by the Funeral Director.

If a person dies abroad the Funeral Director will advise on what options are available.

How to register a death.

Attached to the medical certificate of the cause of death is a notice of who can register the death.

One of the people on this notice should take the medical certificate to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages office, in the sub-district of where the death occurred.

The Registrars office for a person who died in Chester, Kelsall, Tarporley or surrounding rural areas is located at:

Goldsmith House,
Goss Street,
CHESTER
CH1 2BG

Telephone: 0300 123 7037

Email: chesterregisteroffice@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

The Registrars office for a person who died in Crewe and Nantwich areas is located at:

Delamere House
Delamere Street
Crewe
Cheshire
CW1 2BJ

Telephone: 0300 123 5019

Email: creweregisteroffice@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Please check when you can register the death and remember to take the Medical Certificate showing the cause of death.

The registrar will need to know the following information:

  • The date and place of death
  • The deceased’s last home address
  • The deceased’s first names and surname (and maiden name where necessary)
  • The deceased’s date and place of birth: town and county if  in the UK or country if abroad)
  • The deceased’s occupation and the name and occupation of the spouse if appropriate
  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower
  • The deceased’s medical card (this will be returned)

The registrar will give you a certificate for burial or cremation (which is known as The Green Form) depending on what service you have chosen. This form must be given to the Funeral Director so that the arrangements can proceed.

The Registrar will also give you a Certificate of Registration of Death (form DB8). This is a White Form and is for Social Security purposes only. Complete the sections that apply and then return it to your Social Security Office.

The Death Certificate

If you want a copy of the certified entry made in the Register of Deaths, this can be purchased from The Register Office.

You may need a Death Certificate for the Will and for any claims regarding pensions, insurance, savings and dealing with the deceased’s bank / building society accounts and other affairs. Additional Death Certificates can be purchased from The Registrar.

The Police

If the death has occurred suddenly or the death is unexpected or happened due to an act of violence or accident then the police MUST be advised.

The Coroner will be notified in such cases. The doctor or police will do this.

The Coroner

When a death has been reported to the coroner, this will be investigated by him to establish the cause of death. The Coroner may ask for a Post-Mortem to be performed.

The Coroner will hold an inquest in cases where death appeared unnatural, unexplained or due to violence or an accident.

Arranging the Funeral

Funeral Directors will manage funeral arrangements and give advice and support. Check if the Funeral Director you choose belongs to a Trade Association or is certified by The Council.

Do not make any funeral arrangements until you are sure that the death does not have to be reported to the Coroner, as this may affect the date when the funeral can take place. Find out if there is a will as this may give specific requests for arranging the funeral.

Remember that if you arrange a funeral you are responsible for paying the bill. It is a good idea therefore to check how the funeral will be paid for and whether there will be enough in the deceased’s estate to cover the costs.

The Funeral Director can arrange all aspects of the funeral service or you. Always ask for a written estimate of the total cost of the funeral so you are clear on what has to be paid and what for.

Council funerals

The Council may be able to help you with arranging the funeral in the following situations:

  • there are no relatives or friends able to pay for the funeral
  • the deceased has died without leaving a valid will
  • the deceased was a resident and died within the borough of Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • as long as you have not given instructions to a funeral director

Where to find help

For enquiries in relation to any crematorium or cemetery matter, please contact:

DSS booklet D49 provides detailed information and advice on everything that needs to be done following a death and procedures for administrating an estate. This booklet is free of charge and obtainable from your local Benefit Agency or Post Office.

Advice can be given on how to reduce the costs and if applicable to claim assistance from the Benefits Agency Social Fund for the funeral payments. (Claim pack SF200): The link is: ‘www.dwp.gov.uk/advisers/claimforms/sf200_print.pdf

Helpful Links:

Funeral Costs: www.funeralmap.co.uk/funeral-advice/funeral-costs

For more information please contact us on 01829 781572