If a relative, loved one or friend has just passed away, you will be feeling a great sense of loss. However, you may need to deal with a number of practical matters. We have put together some information to help you at this difficult time.
You can use the Government's service for reporting a death , which will notify the Council as part of its process. Alternatively you can contact us on 01329 236100. When notified we will pass on the details of the deceased to all of the relevant departments within the Council. You will also need to register the death with the registrar .
The things you need to do immediately after someone has died will depend on where their death has happened. This might be at home, in hospital or abroad. The Citizens Advice Bureau offers a comprehensive guide about this.
Most deaths happen in a hospital or a nursing home. Hospital staff will arrange for the body to be taken to the hospital mortuary and will contact next of kin (this does not need to be a relative). The hospital will keep the body in the mortuary until it is collected by a funeral director and usually taken to a chapel of rest. The hospital will arrange for next of kin to collect any possessions. If you wish, you may ask to see a hospital Chaplain.
When someone dies at home, you should phone their GP so that he/she can issue a certificate giving the cause of death. If they were not registered with a GP, you should call for an ambulance.
If someone dies abroad, it must be registered according to the law of that country. It should be reported to the British Consul who may be able to arrange for it to be registered in the UK. The cost of returning a body to the UK is expensive but might be covered by travel insurance. If your relative was on a package holiday, the tour operator should be able to help with arrangements.
If your relative has been ill and their death was expected, you should contact the doctor who had been treating them. If the cause of death can be certified, he/she will give you:
You may want to contact a Minister of Religion and a Funeral Director. If the death followed illness from HIV or Aids, there may be special rules about handling the body.
If you discover a body or a death is sudden or unexpected, you should contact:
If you have any reason to suspect the death was not due to natural causes, do not touch or remove anything from the room. The doctor may ask relatives for permission to carry out a post mortem examination. This is a medical examination of the body to find out more about the cause of death and should not delay the funeral. The death may be referred to the Coroner.
A doctor may report a death to the Coroner in any of these circumstances:
You will be told if the death is to be reported to the Coroner. If this happens, the death cannot be registered nor can the funeral take place without the Coroner's authorisation. In these circumstances, the Coroner's Office will contact relatives. A Coroner can order a post-mortem examination without getting permission from relatives. It will try to determine the cause of death through an inquest. When an inquest is called, the Coroner's Office will contact relatives and issue a death certificate. Relatives must register the death with the Registrar but this cannot happen until an inquest ends. A certificate will normally be issued at the opening of the inquest so that the funeral can take place.
Comprehensive information on the above and more is also available on the Government Directgov website .