First Steps After a Death

We have provided a guide of the steps to follow after someone dies, whether that is a close family member or friend. The procedures to be followed vary based on the circumstances surrounding the death, for example if it was expected or sudden, and based on the location the deceased passed away

See what to do when the death
is expected and occurs
See what to do when the death
is unexpected and/or sudden

If the death was expected...

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If the death happens at your home

Even when the death of your loved one is expected to occur, it can still be distressing and a shock when the time sadly comes. It is therefore extremely important to establish a support network to ensure you have someone to turn to; if you do not have family or friends to support you, there are UK-based bereavement support charities and groups (listed below) where you can speak to someone online, on the telephone or to arrange an in-person meeting

Make sure you take your time - you may wish to spend some final moments with your loved one and call any other loved ones to let them know of the death.

All deaths must be verified by a trained medical professional - this may be a GP, paramedic, medical practitioner or a registered nurse. Make sure you call the deceased's GP surgery, or 111 out-of-hours, to inform them of the death. They will arrange to send a medical professional to verify.

 

It is advisable to call your chosen funeral director once the death has been verified, or beforehand if you wish to. The funeral director cannot attend the deceased until death has been verified

We will take some preliminary information about the deceased on the telephone callincluding their name, date of birth and address. We understand you may not know if the wish is for burial or cremation yet

We will always aim to be at the property within 90 minutes

When we arrive at the address, we will introduce ourselves and collect the deceased into our care with the upmost professionalism, dignity, care and respect

 

We will answer any immediate questions you may have and support you in every capacity we can, leaving information and our brochures so you can make an appointment with us to arrange the funeral when you are ready to

If the death happens in Hospital

The Hospital staff may be able to let you know that the death is imminent, depending on the circumstances, and may allow close family or friends to be with their loved one

The death will be verified by a Hospital GP, medical practitioner or registered nurse

All local Hospital Trusts have a bereavement office, who will be in touch with the next-of-kin to offer their support and guidance. They will ask you if the desired committal will be burial or cremation

If cremation is chosen, the statutory cremation four document will be completed by a Hospital doctor and will be collected by the funeral director upon collection of the deceased

We will collect the deceased from the Hospital once we have received official clearance - we will contact the next-of-kin to inform them the deceased is resting in our care

You may contact the funeral director at any point to make an appointment to begin arranging the funeral service. It is your choice if you would like to make an arrangement with us upon the first call, or to wait a few days until you are ready

If the death happens elsewhere

You may experience your loved one passing away elsewhere, possibly including in a care or nursing home, or in a public place

If the death occurs in a nursing home or a care home:

  • Inform the staff of your chosen funeral director - this may have already been established in their care plan

  • Once the death has been verified, the funeral director will be notfied  we will attend within 90 minutes

  • It is the choice of each family whether they would like to stay with their loved one until the collection into care has taken place - you may wish to meet the funeral director to ask any immediate questions

  • Once the collection of the deceased into our care has taken place, you may wish to arrange with the residential or nursing home some days in which you can collect all items from their room. This may include any clothing that you wish them to wear once in our care, which can be delivered to us at any time

 

If the death was expected and occurs in a public place:

  • If an accident has happened, regardless as to whether the death was expected, the police must be called on 999 as the coroner may have to determine the cause of death

  • If the death occurs naturally, it would be advisable to call the GP surgery of the deceased (111 for out-of-hours) or 999 and inform them of the circumstances. They will send immediate assistance

The GP surgery of the deceased must be notified - they may have already been contacted to request a doctor to verify the death

Death registration must be done within five working days - you can make an appointment with the Registrar for a face-to-face appointment. See Death Registration below for more information

 
 
 

If the death was unexpected or sudden...

If the death happens at your home

Losing a loved one to a sudden death can be extremely difficult to comprehend, especially because of the shock and sometimes unexplained nature of their passing. There can be additional emotions you may experience when dealing with a sudden death, such as anger, denial and a lack of motivation. It is normal to feel a range of emotions. You may feel like you require additional support to cope with your loss. There are dedicated support groups set up to guide those bereaved, which are accessible online, on the telephone and in-person.

Take time for yourself - you may feel overwhelmed, tired and stressed by the circumstances. You may feel people are more attentive and supportive, whilst others may keep their distance from you - this is often because people find it difficult knowing what to say without upsetting the bereaved person. Talking is extremely important and often makes you realise you are not on your own with your grief

Once a death occurs at a home address, the police must be informed immediately. If ambulance staff are present, they will do this for you. If you are alone, call 999 and explain the circumstances

 

The funeral director contracted by the coroner will attend the scene within one hour of being called - there will be at least one police officer present until the deceased is collected into their care

You will remain informed by the coroner's office - the deceased may require a post mortem examination to determine the cause of death, which will take place within a Hospital mortuary. Once all examinations have taken place, and the coroner has concluded their investigations, the deceased will be released for the chosen funeral director to collect

The coroner's office will ask you to nominate a funeral director so they can be informed once the deceased may be collected from the mortuary

We will answer any immediate questions you may have and support you in every capacity we can, leaving information and our brochures so you can make an appointment with us to arrange the funeral when you are ready to

If the death happens in Hospital

A sudden or unexpected death in Hospital may occur, in which case the next-of-kin will be notified immediately. The bereavement office will be in contact to offer support and guidance signposting, and explain the following steps.

The coroner may be involved in investigating the cause of death, in which case a post mortem examination may be required. Depending on the circumstances, an inquest may be opened. The deceased will be released to be collected by the funeral director once all examinations on the body have taken place.

You will be informed by the funeral director once the deceased is in their care

You may contact the funeral director at any point to make an appointment to begin arranging the funeral service. It is your choice if you would like to make an arrangement with us upon the first call, or to wait a few days until you are ready

If the death happens elsewhere

You may experience your loved one passing away elsewhere, possibly including in a care or nursing home, or in a public place

If the death occurs in a nursing home or a care home:

The staff will be there for immediate support, and may be able to signpost you to access additional guidance, perhaps to specialised bereavement services. You can also call your chosen funeral director for bereavement support, and to answer any questions you may have

The deceased will be collected by the funeral director contracted to the coroner - they will remain in their care until it is established if a post mortem is required.

 

Death Registration

 

We will talk through the process of death registration and support you 24/7 upon request. To register a death, you must make a face-to-face appointment with the Registrar, which for Dereham is within the Breckland Business Centre, and they can be contacted by 0344 800 8020

 

This must be done within five working days of their death

 

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

Relative of the deceased    Someone who was present at the death   Owner of the property the death occurred  

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:

Full name at the time of their death including any past names

 Last address     Date & place of birth     Occupation (last occupation if retired)     Full name of spouse

  Details on 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

You will be asked how many copies of the death certificate you wish for

Three or four copies are usually advisable for the organisations such as the bank who may wish for a copy

Death certificates are £11 per copy from the Registrar

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.

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