What To Do When Death Happens

You’re not alone if you don’t know what to do when death happens – it’s an overwhelming time, but there are official and necessary steps that must be taken once someone has died. Taylor & Wallis are here to break down what needs to be done.  

If a person dies at home

When someone passes away at home, the first thing you will need to do is contact the deceased’s doctor or call 111 if the death occurs out of surgery hours, so a doctor can attend to verify the death.  This may or may not be the deceased person’s personal GP. Once the death has been attended and verified, you are able to call the funeral director 24 hours a day and we will take over the care of your loved one. The deceased’s doctor will certify the death and produce a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. This can be collected from the deceased’s surgery. If there is to be a cremation, the doctor will arrange for cremation paperwork form 4 and 5 to be completed.

If a person dies in a hospital or a nursing home

In places such as hospitals, hospices or nursing homes, the death can be confirmed by personnel such as a doctor or nurse. If the person dies in hospital you will need to collect the medical certificate of cause of death from bereavement services at the hospital by appointment and also any belongings that may have been left by your loved one. The hospital will also give you a release form to be given to the funeral director so we are able to take over your loved one’s care.

If a person dies suddenly/unexpectedly 

If a death occurs unexpectedly, suddenly, or without any natural causes – it must be reported to a coroner who will first send a uniformed officer to record the details. The body will be taken to a hospital mortuary designated by the coroner. Please try not to worry as this can happen for a number of reasons and quite often, is just a formality. Even if the death was expected, unless the person was seen by a GP during the last 2 weeks, the death will be referred to the coroner.

If a person dies overseas 

When a death occurs overseas, you may be unsure how to proceed – especially since different countries vary in the way they report a death. Firstly, a local doctor should be contacted to confirm the death and to produce a death certificate – this may need to be translated into English. 

To assist with arranging a local burial or cremation, or to arrange for the body to be repatriated, it is worth informing the British Consulate who can assist you with this. Should your loved one’s body be repatriated, the registrar for the location of the funeral must be informed and we can assist you with all the aspects.

Registering a death 

Whilst it may be difficult to collect your thoughts at this time, it’s important to register a death within 5 days, and at a registry office in the local area. You will need to make an appointment at the registrar’s office to be able to register the death. The contact details will be on the envelope you received the medical cause of death certificate in.

Documentation and information you will need, includes:

  • Medical certificate issued by the GP (if the coroner is involved this is not also issued)
  • Your loved one’s birth certificate, medical card, marriage/civil partnership certificate (if applicable), driving license, passport, council tax bill and proof of address e.g. utility bill
  • Key details about your loved one: date, time, and place of death, full name, any maiden names, occupation, address, birthplace and date 
  • Personal details of dwelling partner or spouse
  • Details of any social security benefits the deceased received

The registrar should then issue a certificate for burial or cremation to give to the funeral director, along with the death certificate.

Once you entrust the body of your loved one into our care, they will be treated with the utmost dignity and professionalism. Throughout this difficult time, we listen carefully to family members to ensure the process is reassuring, and exactly what you’re looking for. We offer our services across Portsmouth, Portchester, Fareham, Cosham, Paulsgrove, and beyond – simply contact us today for some compassionate advice.