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When someone dies


In life, when presented with any situation, breathe, take your time, focus and then decide what to do.

- Rickson Gracie

Losing someone you love is one of the most painful and stressful things you will experience in your lifetime.

Even when the person’s death has been expected, the end can still bring a feeling of shock and, in all circumstances, you will likely experience a range of emotions.

I am here to guide and support you, so please do not hesitate to call and I will assist in whatever way we can.

This section describes the next steps to take.

An expected death at home

If the death was anticipated, family and friends may already be present but if you are at home alone with the person who has died, you may want to call someone to come and support you.

You will need to call the person’s GP to inform them that the person has died.

A doctor (or sometimes a nurse or other trained healthcare professional) will visit you at home to verify the death.

The doctor will then certify the death and will issue you with the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

Other than informing the doctor and family and friends, please just take your time. It is important that you practice self-care at this time also, so please consider your own needs.

Do not feel that you have to rush in to making any decisions or that you need to call someone to come and collect the person who has died.

Spending time with your loved one, at home in familiar surroundings, can be incredibly beneficial and healing and allows you to proceed at your own pace.

You can choose to spend a short time, to enable you and others to say your goodbyes, or for longer if you feel you want to care for them at home, or hold vigil.

If you do feel you would like your loved one to stay at home for a time, please contact us as soon as possible so I can help to facilitate this.

An unexpected death at home

If the person has died suddenly and unexpectedly at home and they have not seen a Doctor in the past 14 days, you should call 999. Police and paramedics will then attend.

Again, if you are alone with the person who has died, you may want to call someone to come and be with you.

The case will then be referred to the Coroner, who will try to establish the cause of death. The Coroner may or may not feel a post mortem is required.

Try not to disturb the space where the person has died, as this may provide vital information for the Coroner.

It can take some time for the Coroner to complete their enquiries and I can liaise with them on your behalf and support you throughout the process.

I can also begin to make tentative plans for the funeral whilst the Coroner’s investigation takes place.

Once the Coroner is satisfied, their office will issue the documents to enable the death to be registered.

Hospital and Hospice deaths

If your loved one has died in hospital or at the hospice, the ward staff or bereavement team will guide you in what to do next.

If you wish to appoint us as your funeral director, I will contact the hospital or hospice and make the necessary arrangements.

Please know that, in most cases, it is still possible to have your loved one brought home, to allow you to spend time with them prior to the funeral.

As always, I will support you to do what feels right for you and provides the greatest emotional benefit to you and your family.

Care home deaths

When a person dies in a care home, the care home staff will support you and advise you on what to do next.

A doctor will be called to certify the death. This may be the person’s own GP or an on-call doctor.

The doctor will then issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death unless the cause is not apparent, in which case the death will be referred to the Coroner.

As care homes do not usually have the facilities to care for someone who has died, they may request that we collect the person fairly quickly.

However, we will liaise with the care home and respond accordingly. Again, it may be possible to have your loved one brought to your home from the setting where they have died, so please do discuss this with us if it something you feel you would like to do.

Registering the Death

When someone dies, you must register their death within 5 days.

In some cases, such as if the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is not readily available, this time frame can be extended, so please do not worry.

Registration is done at the Registry Office, local to where the person died.

You will need to book an appointment with the Registrar in order to attend and register the death.

For York Registry Office, you can call 01904 654477

Alternatively, you can use this link to make an appointment.

Who can register a death?

In most cases, the person who registers the death will be the spouse or a relative.

However, it can also be someone who was present at the death, a hospital administrator or the person responsible for arranging the funeral.

What you will need:

You must take with you the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and you will need to know the person’s full name, address, date and place of birth and the date and place of death.

It is also helpful to know (if applicable) their occupation, married name, details of their spouse and details of any state benefits they may have been receiving.

If you have any other documents relating to the person who has died, such as Birth Certificate, Passport, Driving Licence, Medical Card, Marriage Certificate or even utility bills, do take these along but please do not worry if you do not have these to hand.

Once the death has been registered, the registrar will give you:

It is advisable to purchase additional copies of the Death Certificate as you will likely need these for banks, building societies, insurance companies and other organisations.

This form gives permission for the person who has died to be buried or cremated and should be handed to the funeral director as soon as possible, in order for the funeral to proceed.

If the person who has died was in receipt of a state pension or any other benefit, you will be given this form and you can either post the certificate to the Department of Work and Pensions (address will be on the reverse of the form) or hand it in at your local Job Centre.

I know that this process can feel confusing and overwhelming, particularly when you are grieving, but I am here to advise and guide you.

My aim is to demystify the process and make it as simple and straightforward as possible for you, ensuring that you are kept informed and feel in control throughout.

And, as always, you can be assured of my dedicated and compassionate support at all times.