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What to do when Someone Dies: Step by Step Guide

Most people who have just received the sad news of the death of a loved one are bound to be in a state of shock, stress and often disbelief, even when the death was expected; it is perfectly natural to react in this way.

In fact, the most immediate and typical reaction following bereavement is to ‘block out’ the inevitable list of what to do when someone dies.

But, it is important to remember, that in such times of sorrow, support and practical help is always close at hand.

Help with the Preliminary Arrangements
Depending on the circumstances, in those first few hours after death, the deceased’s GP or the staff at the hospital, care home or nursing home can all offer emotional support and advice, on what to do when someone dies.

Your chosen Funeral Directors will also guide you through the necessary preliminary arrangements, thus allowing you the space and time to grieve in your own way.

First Things First: Step by Step Guide
The following basic ‘to-do’ list should help ease you through the immediate process of what to do when someone dies:

● facilitate organ, body or tissue donation if the deceased was registered for donation;
● obtain medical certificate of the cause of death, signed by a doctor who attended the person before death, (2 doctors’ signatures required where cremation is intended);
● check for important paperwork including the existence of a pre-paid funeral plan and/or any written instructions about the deceased’s final wishes regarding the funeral, etc.;
● notify the deceased’s relatives, friends, colleagues, etc.;
● instruct a funeral director and make the necessary funeral arrangements;
● organise the public announcements of the death in the local press, other publication or online;
● locate the official copy of the will; or, if the person has died intestate, seek legal advice on the distribution of the deceased’s estate;
● gather together the documentation needed for registering the death, including: the medical certificate or notification of referral to coroner, and (if available) the deceased’s birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate, N.I. number and NHS medical card, etc.;
● note down (also required for registering the death) the deceased’s full name at the time of death, plus any previous names, last address, previous occupation, details of a surviving spouse or civil partner, whether the deceased was receiving a state pension or other benefits, etc.;
● make an appointment to register the death within 5 days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 8 days in Scotland;
registering the death and obtain the necessary certification and documentation required for settling the deceased’s affairs.

For more detailed information and detailed guidelines on any of the above issues listed in the step by step guide, please follow the individual links on this website:
Place of Death: Correct Procedures & Formalities
Official Procedures for Dealing with Death Abroad
Guide to Death Notices & Announcements
Prioritising Paperwork after Death
Which Organisations to Notify after a Death
Organ Donation: Essential Information

© Funeral Services Guide

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