Golden Leaves helped me with all the arrangements, talking me through every step. Very helpful at a very stressful time

What to do if someone dies

If someone has died and you need help right now, call us now free on 0800 85 44 48 (24 hours)

There are two essential steps to take immediately after someone dies.

  • 1. A doctor must issue a certificate stating the cause of death;
  • 2. The death must be registered with your local Registrar, who will issue a death certificate.

Click How to register a death to find out more.

This page tells you about the first stage, getting the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

When someone dies at home

Contact the deceased’s GP. They will visit and confirm that the patient has passed away and issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. If the individual has a funeral plan, call the plan provider on the emergency number provided who will inform the Funeral director shown on the plan to make arrangements for the removal of the deceased to a Chapel of Rest.

When someone dies at a nursing home

The staff will arrange for a doctor to visit. Once he or she has confirmed the death – you should advise the matron or duty nurse that contact should now be made with Golden Leaves or a funeral director to conduct the removal to a chapel of Rest.

When someone dies in hospital

Generally, the doctor attending the deceased will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. The Hospital Administrator will advise you where and when the certificate will be made available for collection. You will need to speak to the Patient’s Affairs Office – they will issue various documents which you should bring along to our offices to assist with the funeral arrangements.

When is a death reported to the corner?

In some circumstances the death must be reported to the coroner. This happens when:

  • there is no doctor who can issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
  • the deceased was not seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate after death nor within 14 days before death
  •  the cause of death is unknown
  • the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious
  • death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an aesthetic
  • death is due to industrial disease or industrial poisoning.

Once a death has been reported to the coroner, the registrar can’t register the death until the coroner has decided whether any further investigation is necessary. In most cases this isn’t necessary, however, and the registration can be completed straight away.

What the coroner can do

The coroner can take one of three actions:

  • no further action – the doctor will then issue the Medical Cause of Death Certificate and issue a form (Part A) direct to the register office.
  • conduct a post mortem to establish the cause of death – once this is completed you can register the death with a form (Part B) sent direct to the register office.
  • hold an inquest – on completion of the inquest the coroner will register the death and pass all necessary paperwork directly to the funeral director. The death certificate issued by the registrar will not be available until the inquest has been held.