What do I do if a loved one dies at home?

The loss of a loved one at home can be an upsetting experience, even if their death was expected. Below is a guide on what to do next if your loved one dies whilst at home. 

An unexpected death 

If your loved one has passed away unexpectedly you should call 999 and ask for the police and ambulance service. If their cause of death is unknown the police will arrange for the body to be moved on behalf of the coroner, so that a post-mortem examination can be carried out. 

When a death is expected 

If your loved one’s death was expected, perhaps due to an illness, you’ll need to call the family doctor or NHS helpline (111). In most cases, the doctor will issue a Death Certificate so that it can be registered. You’ll also need to contact a Funeral Director so they can arrange moving your loved one’s body into their care. 

What’s next? 

A death must be registered within five days in England and Wales and within eight days in Scotland. To register a loved one’s death, you’ll need to contact the Registrar’s Office that is local to the person who passed away. If their death was unexpected then you’ll be able to register after the coroner has completed their investigation. 

Anyone can register a death but, if possible, it should be done by a family member. You can register a death if you’re: 

  • A relative
  • Executor of Will 
  • The Police or social workers 
  • You were present at the death 
  • You’re making the funeral arrangements 

To register a death, you will need the following information: 

  • The Death Certificate 
  • The deceased’s 
  • Full name 
  • Place and date of birth 
  • Home address 
  • Most recent occupation 
  • If they were receiving a State Pension or any other benefits 
  • Name, occupation, and date of birth of spouse or civil partner (surviving or late) 

If possible, you should also take their: 

  • Birth Certificate 
  • National Insurance card or number 
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate 
  • Driving licence 
  • Proof of address 
  • Passport 

Can I arrange the funeral? 

In order for a funeral to take place, the death must be registered otherwise you won’t receive a Certificate for Burial or Cremation. However, if you are waiting for the coroner you can begin to plan the funeral arrangements. 

Suggested reading

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How can I make my funeral more eco-friendly?

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