What to do when someone dies

Knowing what to do when someone dies helps prepare for the event and can relieve further stress when the death occurs.  When a person dies there are various steps that need to be completed within certain time-frames. For example, knowing who to inform, and how to obtain a medical certificate. Our useful step by step guide explains some of the most important arrangements that need to be made when someone dies.

Obtaining a medical certificate

Obtaining a medical certificate can be a difficult task and the process can differ depending on circumstances. However, do not worry. Clevedon Funeral Services are here to make this process easier. The following options explain what to do in the different circumstances.

Obtaining a medical certificate when the death occurred at the hospital

When a person dies in a hospital it is normal procedure for the body to be taken to the hospital mortuary.  A hospital doctor will issue the medical certificate provided that the death was not subject to unusual circumstances.

sad person sitting on bench after partner has died

Obtaining a medical certificate when the death occurred at home or in a nursing home

If the death occurred at home or in a care home or nursing home you should inform a doctor at the first opportunity. The doctor will visit, and they can issue a medical certificate provided there are no unusual circumstances.

Obtaining a medical certificate when HM coroner becomes involved

If the death is very sudden or has taken place under unusual circumstances then you must contact the police and ambulance services as a matter of urgency. If the circumstances surrounding the death mean that the attending doctor cannot issue a medical certificate then HM Coroner may need to get involved. The body will then be transported to the hospital mortuary. Often a post-mortem will be requested at this stage. As a result, the medical certificate cannot be issued until the cause of death has been identified.

How to register a death

A death must be registered with the local authority where the death occurred. This must take place within 5 days in England and Wales or 8 days in Scotland. In circumstances where HM coroner becomes involved, you must inform your local authority as soon as possible because it may not be possible to register the death within the necessary timescale.

Obtaining a certificate for cremation or burial

Once the death is registered, the registrar will issue a certificate to authorise a burial or cremation (also known as a ‘green form’). Once you have the certificate you must pass it to us so that the funeral arrangements can be finalised.

Making funeral arrangements

Once death has been registered and we have received the certificate for burial or cremation, the funeral planning stage can begin.

Where to register a death

The death must be registered in the district in which the person has died, the Funeral Director will advise you which register office you will need to go to.

North Somerset Offices
Call: 01823 282 251

Town Hall
Walliscote Grove Road
Weston-super-Mare
BS23 1UJ

Opening times:
Monday – Friday:
9am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm.

Castlewood
Tickenham Road
Clevedon
BS21 6FW

Opening times:
Monday – Thursday: 9am – 2pm
Friday: 9am-12.30pm

Bristol Offices
Call: 0117 922 2800  

The Bristol Register Office
The Old Council House,
Corn Street
Bristol
BS1 1JG

Phone lines are open: 
Monday – Friday 8.30am – 6pm.
Closed Wednesday 12pm – 1.30pm

Southmead Register Office
Southmead Hospital
Brunel Building
Bristol
BS10 5NB

Phone lines are open: 
Monday – Friday 8.30am – 6pm.
Closed Wednesday 12pm – 1.30pm

Contact Clevedon Funeral Services 

For more information about what to do when someone dies, contact Clevedon Funeral Services on 01275 341478. We can offer support and knowledgeable advice relating to any queries you may have.