When Someone Dies

funeral services st Helens

Billinge, Prescot and St Helens funeral services.

Here is some brief information on what to do when someone dies, it is not an exhaustive list and we would advise the use of the links provided for further information relating to your own area.

Feel free to print it off, it contains a condensed version of the information here and has a useful checklist section that you can use to help you get things sorted. Many have found this very helpful.

Death at Home

It is best to inform the local doctor as soon as possible. A death certificate may be issued at the surgery for you to collect or they may issue one when they attend you.

Death in Hospital

The hospital staff will have arranged for the completion of the Death Certificate by one of the attending doctors. If you would like a cremation to take place then either inform the hospital, or us, so that an additional form (the Cremation Form B, C and F) can be completed.

The Coroner

If the deceased has not been seen by his/her doctor within 14 days prior to death or the death is sudden then it is required to be reported to the Coroner. The doctor may inform the Coroner on your behalf.

The Coroners role is to establish a cause of death, and this may be done by post mortem. Once the cause of death has been ascertained, the deceased will be released allowing the funeral to proceed. This process can take a few days or more. We will then be able to tell you when the death can be registered. Note that if a Coroners Inquest is needed (death thought to occur due to unnatural causes), this can take some time. We will be able to advise you on this.

Checklist

When someone dies there are a wide number of organisations you may need to contact depending on the circumstances. Some of these organisations will require sight of an original death certificate where as others may accept copies.

By clicking here you can download and print a copy of one of our booklets which contains this checklist for you to use.

  • Accountant
  • Bank/Building society
  • Benefits agency
  • Bereavement register
  • Car registration documents
  • Child benefit office (within 8 weeks)
  • Child's school or childcare provider
  • Church or other place of worship
  • Clubs and social groups
  • Council tax office
  • Credit card companies
  • Creditors (anyone owed money by the deceased)
  • Debtors (anyone owing money to the deceased)
  • Dentist
  • Driving licence
  • Doctors
  • DVLA (to cancel car tax)
  • Employers
  • Hire purchase/loan companies
  • Home help agency
  • Hospital clinics
  • Household insurance
  • Income tax office
  • Insurance providers
  • Internet provider
  • Landlord
  • Library
  • Local authority (rental/parking permit)
  • Life assurance
  • Mail for re-direction
  • Mortgage provider
  • Motoring breakdown policy
  • Motoring insurance
  • National insurance contribution office (self employed)
  • National savings and investments
  • Passport office
  • Pension plan provider
  • Premium bond office
  • Probate office
  • Professional bodies
  • Private healthcare provider
  • Relatives and friends
  • Solicitor
  • TV license
  • Telephone provider
  • Utilities (gas, electricity, water)
  • Vehicle registration

Please note that if the deceased owned a vehicle then it is possible there is no longer insurance cover for which to drive it.

How to Register a Death

Usually it is a family member that will register the death. However if a relative is not available the law allows certain other people to register:

  • Someone present at death
  • Someone who lived in the house where the person died
  • The person responsible for making funeral arrangements i.e. executor
  • A responsible person from the hospital or home where the person died

When a death occurs it must be registered within 5 days and at the registrar for the area in which the death took place.

Documentation you will need

The medical certificate of cause of death issued by the hospital or GP if the person died at home or in private residential care. If the coroner is involved he will issue the form for registration and send it to the register office once a post mortem has taken place.

Information you will need

  • The date and place of death
  • The full name of the person that has died
  • Any other names the person may have been known by, for example if the person has changed their name by deed poll
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation and whether they were retired
  • Their usual address
  • Their surname before marriage or civil partnership
  • The full name and occupation of the wife, husband or civil partner

You will also need to give your full name and address and state your relationship to the deceased.

Documentation provided by the registrar

  • A green form to be given to the funeral director allowing the funeral to proceed
  • A white form (BD8) to be sent to the Dept of Work and Pensions giving details of pension or benefits
  • A death certificate if required, there will be a minimal charge for this (usually £3.50)

H.M. Coroner

There are a number of reasons why a death may have to be referred to the coroner and depending on the circumstances requires special procedure. However, these should not give cause for undue alarm.

The Coroner is a judicial officer, independent of local and central government, who is required to act in accordance with certain laws. Any sudden or unexplained death must be reported to the Coroner who must then ascertain the cause of death and investigate any unusual circumstance.

Sometimes the Coroner may be able to ascertain by simple enquiry whether the death was due to natural causes and allow a doctor to issue the death certificate. If this is not the case a post-mortem examination may be held.

The post-mortem examination will usually indicate the cause of death and in this case the Coroner will issue the relevant paper work to the registrar and funeral director allowing the funeral to proceed. However, if no obvious cause of death is found toxicology may be required.

If the death is not due natural causes (for example a road traffic accident) the Coroner is obliged to hold an INQUEST. This enquiry is to determine:

  • The identity of the person
  • When, where and how the death occurred
  • The cause of death

The inquest may often be adjourned for several weeks while the relevant information is gathered. However, the Coroner will issue the relevant documentation for burial or cremation and provide the next of kin with an Interim Death Certificate until the inquest is finalised.

The funeral director is fully conversant in this area and will liaise with the Coroner on your behalf.

Probate

When someone dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money, possessions and property left) by collecting all the money, paying debts and distributing what remains to those who are entitled to it.

Probate is the court's authority; given to a person or persons to administer the deceased's estate and the document issued is called the Grant of Representation. This document is usually required by the asset holders as proof to show the correct person or persons have the probate services authority to administer the deceased persons estate.

The probate service deals with 'non-contentious' probate business and issues Grants of Representation, either:

Probate (when a deceased person has left a valid will and an executor is acting)
Letters of administration with a will (when a person has left a valid will but no executor is acting)
Letters of administration (usually when there is no valid will)

These grants appoint people known as personal representatives to administer the deceased persons estate.

For further information on this you may want to look at the Probate Service website.