Practical Information when a death occurs

What to do after a death occurs

At Home – If the death occurs at home the family G.P should be called. The G.P (or on call doctor if it is outside normal working hours) will come to the house to confirm that the person has died. Once this is confirmed you may call your chosen funeral director. We operate a 24hour service including weekends and bank holidays and would endeavour to come to you as soon as is possible ( our aim is to attend a call within 90 minutes) and take the deceased to the funeral home. You will need to contact the doctors surgery (usually the next day) to ascertain when the death certificate will be ready for you to collect so you can register the death at the local registrar’s office.

Nursing Home – If the death occurs in a nursing home the staff there will contact the doctor and liaise with the funeral director of your choice, you will then need to contact the doctors surgery as above.

Hospital – If the death occurs in hospital the staff there will inform you of when and where to collect the death certificate. The deceased will be required to remain at the hospital until all the necessary paperwork is completed, therefore it is not necessary to contact the funeral director immediately, but it is advisable to inform them of the death at the earliest opportunity during normal working hours.


The death should be registered at the, registrar of births,deaths and marriages office covering the geographical area that the death occurred. It is normal in most registrars offices to ring to make an appointment, they will normally require the death certificate number, name of the deceased and informant.

When registering the death you will need to provide:-

The death certificate, full name, date & place of birth of the deceased and surviving spouse, occupation or former occupation if retired. The deceased’s medical card if available should be returned at this time.

You will be issued with:-

A white certificate for the Department of Social Security, which should be completed and returned to them.

A green certificate which should be handed to the funeral director.

Certificates for insurance purposes may be obtained from the registrar at this time (fee applicable).For deaths involving the coroner please read the section below.


In some circumstances the doctor may not feel he is able to issue a death certificate, the reason may be that he or she has not seen the deceased within the last 14 days (by law reportable to the coroner), he cannot accurately give a cause of death or there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, if this is the case he will report to the coroner. In the first instance if the death has occurred at home or a nursing home he would contact the local police station, a police officer would come to the home and take some details before instructing the funeral director to transport the deceased to the local hospital mortuary, pending a possible post mortem examination.

If the coroner is involved the procedure for registration is slightly different, you will receive a call from the coroners officer after the post mortem examination has taken place to inform you of their findings, they will then instruct you as to when and where you can collect the death certificate and make an appointment at the registrars.

If there is a need for an inquest they will let you know when and where to attend the coroners court, an inquest will open, brief details confirmed and then the inquest will be adjourned to be reconvened at a later date, this allows for an interim death certificate to be given to allow the funeral to go ahead.

Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangements are normally made after the death has been registered, but it is possible to do this prior to registration, although it must be noted that the day and time of the funeral could not be confirmed at this point.

Funeral arrangements are normally made during office hours, it is your choice as to whether you would prefer to conduct the arrangements at your home or make them at the funeral home. Our professional staff will guide you through all aspects of the arrangements but it would be advisable to have decided prior to the meeting whether the funeral will be a Burial or Cremation.

When arranging a funeral certain decisions have to be made, the funeral director will guide you through these, here are some of the questions you will be asked:-

Is the funeral to be a Burial or Cremation?

Would there be a service in church, the family home or chapel of rest?

Minister to officiate at the service, what religion was the deceased, or would you require a non religious service?

How many limousines would you require (up to 7 people per limousine)?

Do you have family or friends to act as bearers?

If you are having hymns would you require hymn sheets to be printed, if you do the funeral director will discuss the content and design before ordering them for you?

Obituary notices for local and or national newspapers can be prepared and worded together at this time.

If the funeral is to be a cremation we will discuss the options available to you regarding the final resting place of the cremated remains of the deceased.

If the funeral is to be a burial and the interment is to take place in a new grave we will discuss the option of having a temporary grave marker , we will also inform you of the general rules regarding new memorials. If it is a family grave with a memorial on it we will arrange to have this removed, this has to be done to allow the opening of the grave, and inform you of the procedure regarding the refixing of the memorial.

The type of coffin will also be discussed at this time.

After completing the arrangements or as soon after as possible we will give you a fully itemised estimate of the funeral costs.