WHEN A DEATH OCCURS
When someone passes away it can come as a huge shock. Sometimes the death may be expected, but nothing prepares you for all the different emotions and stages of grief which follows losing someone close to you.
Let J H Clark and Son advise you in this difficult time.
What do I do & who do I contact when a relative dies?
When someone passes away at home or in a nursing home, and it has been expected, the doctor who has been treating the deceased should be contacted first. Provided the deceased has seen the doctor in their final two weeks, the doctor or a colleague will either attend to confirm that death has occurred or will give permission for the deceased to be transferred to the funeral director of your choice. Once you are ready to do so, you can then contact the funeral director who will attend to transfer the deceased and care for them at their premises.
If a relative has passed away whilst in hospital, the doctors who have been treating the deceased will usually be able to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
You can ask the ward staff or doctor what you’d need to do to collect this certificate. Alternatively, you can ring your local funeral service for any advice or necessary contact numbers.
Most hospitals will give family members the opportunity to sit with the deceased before transfer from the ward or private room. In certain hospitals there is also a chapel of rest specifically for this purpose. The deceased will later be taken to the mortuary from where they will be collected by your funeral director of choice.
Registration of the Death
The following information and documents are required:
Medical certificate of cause of death (issued by the hospital, hospice or GP if the death has occurred at home).
Medical card of the deceased and their birth certificate if available.
The full name of the deceased, their date of birth, place of birth, marital status and occupation.
If applicable, their maiden name and the name and occupation of their husband.
If the deceased was married, the date of birth of any surviving partner.
Type of funeral (burial or cremation).
The Registrar will issue you with:
A green certificate of burial or cremation. This needs to be given to your Funeral Director as soon as possible.
A white certificate of registration. There are parts of this form which need to be completed by the family and sent to the DSS.
The opportunity to buy copies of the entry of death which will be needed for legal purposes such as private insurances, banks etc.
The death will need to be registered at the Registrar’s office for the area in which the death has occurred. The death should be registered within 5 days if possible, unless the Registrar extends the period or the coroner is involved.
In some circumstances the doctor may be unable to issue a medical certificate to establish the cause of death. The doctor can only complete the Medical Certificate if they know the cause of death, due to having seen the deceased for this illness in the 14 days prior their passing.
If the doctor can not issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, it is usually because the circumstances surrounding the death mean it should be referred to HM Coroner for further investigation.
Usual reasons for this are that the person has:
Died a violent or an unnatural death;
Died a sudden death of which the cause is unknown;
Died in prison or in such a place/ circumstances which would require an inquest under any other Act.
If the death does not fall into any of these categories- but the deceased underwent an operation shortly before death, or suffered a possible industrial disease- then it is probable the doctor will not complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, and instead refer the death to HM Coroner for investigation.
If a death is referred to HM Coroner, their office will arrange for the deceased to be taken to their mortuary to carry out their procedures, and, if necessary, an inquest will be opened.