Dealing with a death – What to do when someone dies
Please accept our sincere condolences on your loss.
When a death occurs, there are certain legal procedures that need to be followed. The information below is designed to help you through these difficult times.
Should the death occur at home, contact the General Practitioner who attended the deceased during their last illness – usually the family Doctor. Provided that the person has died from ‘natural causes’ the Doctor should be able to confirm death and subsequently issue a ‘Cause of Death Certificate’. There is no fee payable for this and the certificate may be issued immediately or alternatively, be made available for collection later from the surgery.
If the death occurs in hospital, it is usually the Doctor who was in attendance during the deceased’s last illness that will issue the ‘Cause of Death Certificate’. Locally, at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, you will collect this certificate from the Cashiers Office along with any personal belongings. You will be advised to either telephone them before you leave home or advised of a time to call and collect the certificate.
In the case of a sudden but ’natural causes’ death, the Coroner may be called upon. It may be that after consultation with the Coroner, a Doctor can issue a certificate of cause of death supported with an additional certificate from the Coroner (Coroners ‘A’ certificate). In this case a post mortem will not be held and the Coroners certificate will usually go direct to the Registrar of Births and Deaths at the Register Office.
However, in the event of a sudden death where the Doctor is unable to advise the Coroner on the medical history of the deceased, the Coroner may deem it necessary to hold a post mortem to establish the cause of death. In these cases the Coroner will issue a certificate stating what the cause was found to be. This certificate is referred to as the Coroners ‘B’ Certificate and is required by the Registrar of Births and Deaths to register the death. If you intend for the funeral arrangements to be a cremation, you should advise the Coroner of this, as he/she will issue Form 6 for Cremation, which you pass to the Crematorium. All of these certificates are free of charge.
If the death is unnatural, attended by suspicious circumstances, violence, suicide, neglect or as the result of an accident or industrial disease then the Coroner will insist that a post mortem is conducted and an inquest held. Once the inquest has been officially opened the Coroner will supply you with either the cremation form, Form 6 or a Burial Order so that the funeral may proceed. Again, no fee is charged for these certificates.
There is a legal requirement for each and every death that occurs within England and Wales to be registered with a Registrar of Births and Deaths. This should be done within 5 days of the date of death, with the Registrar for the district in which the death occurred but if it is difficult to attend at that office in person, it is possible to provide the information to another Registrar (still in person) nearer to you. That Registrar will then post the details onto the appropriate Registrar of Births and Deaths. Please be aware that this process will take a little longer and to allow time for the postal service.
Inform us of your loss on our Register a death page.
Traditional funeral patterns do not have to be followed irrespective of whether or not a funeral director is involved. You may wish to involve a Minister of Religion or other recognised religious person, a humanist or similar independent celebrant or you may prefer to devise your own service with or without any religious content.
Find out more about cremation, burial and woodland burial options in North East Lincolnshire.
You do not have to use a funeral director, but can organise a funeral yourself.
If you choose to use a funeral director, you can easily find details of by searching online or in the local phone book.