What To Do When A Loved One Dies?

What To Do When A Loved One Dies

When a loved one dies it is a devastating experience and there is obviously a huge sense of loss and shock and you will naturally be very upset and there all sorts of emotions. It is important at this difficult time that you seek the support of others and that you are able to express your feelings.

Ways of coping with loss include:-

– Allowing yourself to grieve and to express whatever feelings are there
– Talk to others about how you are feeling
– Ask for help if you need it
– Trying to keep to your daily routine so you don’t feel overwhelmed
– Get enough sleep and eat normally
– Avoid alcohol

Grief is a normal, natural reaction to loss and however you feel it is important that you give yourself time to come to terms with your loss in whatever way you feel is right.


If a loved has died in hospital then you will need to contact the Bereavement Office at the hospital and arrange for the medical certificate of cause of death to be collected. At the same time you can also arrange for the collection of any of the deceased’s belongings. As soon as you have been given the medical certificate of cause of death you will then be able to register the death. Deaths usually have to be registered within five working days.


Sometimes it might not be possible for the hospital doctor to issue a medical certificate of cause of death. There are various reasons for this but in general it is when death has been sudden, unexpected or due to an accident. In these circumstances you will need to contact the Coroner’s office. The Coroner may decide that a post mortem examination is necessary to determine the cause of death and in certain circumstances may even order an inquest.


Sometimes families believe that the donation of tissues such as corneas, heart valves, cartilage, skin and bone can be a source of comfort and something positive that can result from something sad. Tissue and body donations are used to help save and enhance the lives of people with debilitation conditions. Corneal donation is life enhancing and heart valves can be used to help children born with heart defects. If you feel that your loved one would have liked to have helped others in this way then you need to raise this with the staff at the bereavement office and they will arrange for somebody to get in touch with you.


The death needs to be registered at a local registration office. The death can be registered usually by a relative of the deceased or in certain circumstances a person who was present at the time of death or the person arranging the funeral.

Information Needed to Register Death:

In order to register the death you will need certain information including the deceased’s full name, usual address, main occupation, date and place of birth, date and place of death, whether your loved one was receiving a pension from public funds and whether they were married or in a civil partnership and if so, the date of birth of the surviving spouse or civil partner and whether your loved one is being buried or cremated. For deceased married women, additional information will be needed including maiden name, husband’s full name and the husband’s main occupation.

It is important that you take along with you to any appointment with the registrar the medical certificate of cause of death along with any forms that were given to you by the Coroner and if possible, the medical card.

Registration of Death Paperwork

When you register the death you will be given various certificates including a green certificate for notification of burial or cremation. You will need to give this certificate to the funeral director so the funeral can take place. You will also be given a death certificate and you will probably need extra copies of this for pension and insurance purposes. Finally you will be given a white certificate of registration of death (a form BD8) which you will need to complete and send to your local Department for Work and Pensions.

Arranging the Funeral

Once you have registered the death then you will be able to arrange the funeral. You will find details of local undertakers in the Yellow Pages or at www.yell.com. Once you hand to the funeral director the registrar’s green certificate they will be able to take your loved one to their own chapel of rest where you, your family and friends will be able to visit. The funeral director will usually arrange everything including helping you decide where and when the funeral will take place, what you wish to be included and whether a burial or cremation is to take place.

Seeking Legal Advice

If you are uncertain or unsure as to what to do then contact a solicitor that specialises in these matters. There are a number of firms (including ourselves) who are very happy to have a free initial no obligation chat. If you would like to contact ourselves then call us on 01536 276300 and we would be happy to help. We are specialists in estate administration and can sort everything out for you quickly and easily and at low cost.

Informing People and Organisations of Death

There are obviously many places to notify when somebody dies. These include the following:-

– Family and Friends
– Banks/Building Societies
– Employers
– Department for Work and Pensions
– Insurance Companies
– National Savings
– Passport Office
– Royal Mail
– Local Council
– Local Housing Department
– Solicitors
– Accountants
– Utility Companies
– TV Licencing.

If you need help administering a loved one’s estate, please call us on 01536 311690 or use our online enquiry form.

COVID-19 Information

We would like to reassure our client’s that it is business as usual and as a firm we intend on supporting our clients through this difficult time. Our priority is to be able to progress client matters whilst protecting both staff and clients. As a precautionary measure to limit the risk to everyone our preferred communication is by telephone and/or email and/or post. Given the government announcement we may take a little longer to respond to enquiries and deal with matters. Please bear with us in these unprecedented times.