What to do when someone dies

When someone dies it is very common to telephone the Funeral Director. We offer a 24 hour service providing advice on what needs to be done and by whom. The following information is intended to help by guiding you step by step through a very difficult time.

When death occurs at home.

If the death was expected, as the deceased had been ill for some time, it would be normal to contact their Doctor who would then visit to certify that death had occurred and determine the cause of death. This may not happen immediately as the Doctor may be in his/ her surgery, or death may happen in the middle of the night, in which case you may decide to wait until morning before calling out the Doctor.

Later that day or the next, the Doctor will issue the relatives a form called the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. This contains a list of who can register the death, known as Informants, at the local Registry Office and what information the Registrar will require.

If you are uncertain whether someone is dead then call the Doctor or dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. If the cause of death cannot be determined then the Doctor will refer the death to The Coroner.

When death occurs in hospital.

Unless present when death occurs, the relatives will be notified by the nursing staff as soon as possible. Arrangements can then be made with the Hospital Administrative staff to deal with the formalities. These will include collecting the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (issued by a Hospital Doctor) and personal possessions of the deceased. The Hospital may also issue a ‘Release Form’, which needs to signed by the next of kin, releasing the deceased into the care of the chosen Funeral Director.

When death occurs elsewhere

If death occurs away from home then the initial formalities listed above will be completed by the Doctor or Hospital staff in that area. If relatives wish to bring the body home for the funeral then we can take care of the arrangements in both areas, including transport.

When death occurs abroad

Should death occur abroad then our staff can advise accordingly as to what options are available.

Registering A Death

Once the Doctor or Hospital has issued the Medical Certificate, the Informant must register the death within 5 days at the Registry Office for the sub-district in which the death occurred. If this is not possible the Registrar must be informed in writing.

The Medical Certificate and the deceased’s Medical Card (if available) must be given to the Registrar.

The person registering the death will be asked for the following information about the deceased:

  • The date and place of death
  • The full name and usual address (and maiden name if applicable)
  • The date and place of birth
  • The occupation (and name and occupation of her husband if applicable)
  • Details of any pension or allowance from public funds
  • The date and place of birth of any surviving spouse
  • The full name and usual address of the Informant
  • The qualification of the Informant

A Death Certificate can then be obtained on payment of the prescribed fee. This will be needed for obtaining Probate or Letters of Administration, closing bank accounts and making claims on insurance policies.

The Registrar will also issue a green Registrar’s Certificate for Burial or Cremation which will be needed by the Funeral Director, and a white Certificate of Registration of Death – Form 344/BD8 – which is for Social Security purposes to cancel the payment of pensions and allowances from public funds.

Without a Cause of Death the Registrar cannot allow the death to be registered.

Other important matters

When someone dies, there are a lot of arrangements to be made as well as a considerable number of administrative procedures. We will be glad to advise and assist in any of these. The information below will help you through the process.

M&J Didcock Funeral Service

15-17 Park Road Didcot Oxfordshire OX11 8QL 01235 510 292 
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