Useful Information

In Event of Death

What To Do When A Death Occurs

The procedure to follow after a death will depend on the circumstances surrounding the death. A Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death must be obtained from a doctor. This Certificate will enable you to registered the death and obtain the Death Certificate.

When the death occurs at home.

Inform the family doctor as soon as possible that the death has occurred. He or she may write out the Medical Certificate of the cause of Death upon visiting the home, or request you to attend the surgery for this purpose.

When the death occurs in a hospice or nursing home.

The staff of the hospice or nursing home will inform you of the death of your loved one and will help obtain the Medical Certificate of the cause of death. They will also be available to help you with advice until you contact us to make the funeral arrangements.

When the death occurs in hospital.

The hospital staff will inform the next of kin or named person of the death. The deceased will be transferred to the hospital chapel / mortuary. The general office will arrange for the Medical Certificate of the cause of death to be issued.

When the death is referred to the Coroner.

Sometimes the coroner will need to be informed when a doctor cannot issue the Medical Certificate of the cause of death. In these circumstances the Coroners Registrars Office will produce a certificate once the coroner has determined the cause of death. This will be sent by the Coroners Office to the Registrars Office in the district where the death occurred allowing you to register the death.

Legal Matters

When a death occurs, it is very important to ascertain whether or not the deceased left a will. This may contain instructions regarding details of the funeral arrangements, a will may be with a solicitor or bank for safe keeping or among personal papers.

It is advisable to consult a solicitor at this time. The solicitor will be able to help with probate, take care of the many issues surrounding the deceased's estate, wills and other related services

Registering A Death

Who may go to register?

If the person died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • The person who found the body
  • The person in charge of the body
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral director

Deaths occurred anywhere else can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • The person who found the body
  • The person in charge of the body
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral director

Most deaths are registered by a relative. The registrar would normally only allow other people if there are no relatives available.


A stillbirth normally needs to be registered within 42 days and at the latest within 3 months. In many cases this can be done either at the hospital or at the local register office.

Documents and information you will need


When registering a death you will need to take the following:

  • Medical Certificate of the cause of Death (signed by a doctor)

And if available:

  • Birth certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Marriage / civil partnership certificates


You'll need to tell the registrar:

  • The person's full name at time of death
  • Any names previously used, including maiden surnames
  • The persons dare and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad)
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • The full name, date of birth, and occupation of surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Whether they where receiving a state pension or any other state benefit.

Documents you will receive

If a post-mortem is not being held, the registrar will issue you with:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation (called the "green form"), giving permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made
  • A certificate of registration of death (form BD8) issued for social security purposes if the person received a state pension or benefits (please read the form on the back, complete and return it, if it applies)
  • A Bereavement Registration Form

If a post-mortem is being held to determine the cause of death and the deceased is to be cremated the Coroner will issue:

Form Cremation 6 certificate of Coroner.

You'll be able to buy one or more Death Certificates at this time; these will be needed by the executor or administrator when sorting out the personal affairs.

The Registrar will also give you a booklet called "what to do after a death." This offers advice on probate and other administrative issues that will need to be done around this time.

Other things that need to be done

Not everything can be done straight away, particularly as this is a very difficult time for people to cope with, but it is important to:

  • Make sure everyone who needs to know is told
  • Arrange to see the deaceased's solicitor and read the will as soon as possible, this will tell you if there are any special funeral requests and who the executors are.
  • Start arranging the funeral
  • Collect all the information and documents you need
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Ascension Funerals and Memorials
5 & 6 Pringle Court, Thomas's Weind, Garstang, Lanc's PR3 1LN
Head Office Tel: 01995 605548 Email:

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