What to do When Someone Dies
Witnessing a death or encountering a dead body can be a very stressful time, but it’s important to deal with the practical and legal matters quickly. If you believe that the deceased has been murdered or killed in dangerous circumstances, you should move to a safe location and call the emergency services on 999 immediately.
What do I Need to do Right Away if…
Someone dies at home and their death was expected?
You should contact the family doctor (or the local GP) and nearest relative. An ‘expected death’ could be due to a terminal illness or other known risk factors and should be registered as soon as reasonably possible. In most cases, the doctor will issue a certificate of the cause of death, allowing you to register for a death certificate.
Someone dies at home and their death was NOT expected?
You should call 111 and ask for advice immediately. Unexpected deaths may need to be reported to a coroner if they don’t warrant an investigation, and the coroner may call for a post-mortem examination or inquest to determine the cause of death. Investigations can take a good deal of time, so you may have to delay the funeral.
Someone dies in hospital?
In most cases, the hospital will issue a medical certificate and formal notice. They should support you with the next steps, or at least refer you to someone else who can help. The body is usually kept in the hospital mortuary until a funeral director or relative arrange transport.
Someone dies abroad?
You should register the death according to the regulations of the country and notify the British Consul in the country, so you can get a consulate death certificate and keep record of it in the UK.
For more advice and guidance on how best to proceed after a death, contact a member of our Will and Probate team directly on 0115 824 1700 today.