Common Questions and Answers

We have listed below some questions that you may have with some information that could be beneficial. If you have any specific queries about what to do after somebody passes away, where to access bereavement support or anything else, please go to the 'message us' tab on this site or contact us directly by phone or email.

What are the first steps after somebody has died?

It can be extremely overwhelming when someone you know and love passes away, which is why it is essential to seek support through anyone that is close to you. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to grieve as everybody experiences differing emotions; you may find that communicating your feelings eases a lot of the burden, which may be friends and family or someone else such as ourselves, bereavement support groups or your GP.

The first steps after your loved one passes away vary depending on if the death was expected and the surrounding circumstances. 


If the death occurs at home, including at care homes, and is expected, you may wish to notify close family members of their death and spend some moments with the deceased. You must call the registered GP surgery of the deceased to inform them, and they will send a doctor, district nurse or paramedic to verify the death.


It is advisable to call your chosen funeral director within hours of the death - we always ensure to be at the property within 90 minutes of the first call. The funeral director will arrive and offer immediate support and guidance; we understand how difficult it is for the family when we arrive to collect the deceased into our care, so we ensure nothing is rushed and everything is done when the family is ready. We ensure dignity, respect, care and professionalism upheld at all times and is of paramount significance.

If the death occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, you must call the police on 101 or 999 and report the circumstances of what has happened. They will arrive promptly and offer immediate support, and answer any immediate questions you may have. The funeral director contracted by the Coroners Office will arrive within one hour to collect the deceased into their care, and a post mortem may be held in the days afterwards to establish the cause of death. Once this has been completed, the family will be notified and are able to choose their preferred funeral director. Funeral arrangements may then commence.

When a death occurs in a Hospital, the bereavement office will be in touch to answer your questions and offer relevant and specific support. If it has been established that a post mortem examination is not necessary, the funeral director will be notified and collect the deceased into their care at the earliest opportunity.

Has the way people report deaths changed since the pandemic and are you able to assist with this?

We will talk through the process of death registration and support you 24/7 upon request. Registration of deaths now takes place via a telephone appointment; an appointment may be made by calling the local registry office, which for Dereham is within the Breckland Business Centre, and they can be contacted by 0344 800 8020.


To register someone's death you must be one of the following:

a relative of the deceased, someone who was present at the death, the owner of the property or an official from the public building (such as a Hospital) where the death occurred, or the person making the funeral arrangements with the funeral director.

There are certain questions the registrar may ask when you report a death, and certain information you must have with you. These include the following:

Their full name at the time of their death including any past names, their last address, date and place of birth (if abroad just the name of the country), occupation or last occupation if retired, the full name of their spouse or civil partner, details about any state pension they were receiving.

Documents you may require for registration:

Birth and marriage or civil partnership certificate

NHS medical card

Proof of their address, such as a utility bill

Documents relating to receipt of government pension or allowances

Driving Licence and Passport

Tell Us Once Service: This informs all Government departments that a death has occurred, it is free to use and saves having to inform each department individually. In most cases, the registrar will offer you a Tell Us Once appointment immediately after the registration appointment.

Contact: 0800 085 7308

You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.