What To Do When Someone Dies

We have compiled some information so you know what to do when someone dies. However, if you need further assistance then do not hesitate to give us a call and we can offer expert support and signpost you to the correct services. The process will vary depending on where the deceased has passed away and under what circumstances:

When someone dies at home and the death was expected you must contact the deceased’s GP, or the NHS helpline on 111, who will advise you on the next steps. If the death was expected the GP will issue a medical certificate which will allow the death to be registered – this must be done within 5 days in the UK and 8 days in Scotland.

In the case of sudden or unexpected deaths, you must call 999 immediately and follow instructions. You will be kept informed throughout the process and the Funeral Director can provide guidance on the next steps and assist you with planning a funeral.

When someone dies in hospital from a known condition the hospital will issue a medical certificate. Where the cause is not yet determined, the hospital may request permission to arrange a post-mortem or contact a coroner, who may order one. You will require the medical certificate in order to register the passing. If the deceased was in a care home, the staff will be fully trained in the required steps and can offer you support and advice.

An unexpected passing can occur for a number of reasons and can have a devastating impact on those involved, their families and friends. An accident, health complication or trauma are among some of the causes of unexpected fatalities. In some cases, such as an accident or assault, you may need to contact the emergency services initially.

A coroner may be involved if the cause of death is unknown, was due to violence or because of unnatural causes. There may also be a post-mortem to investigate the death. Once complete a ‘Pink Form’ will be issued, along with a ‘Certificate of Coroner’ to allow a cremation to take place if required.

A funeral will not be able to take place until such time as the investigations are completed and the certification has been issued. The coroner should keep you informed during this process. Richardson Funeral Directors are also happy to offer further support and advice if needed, just give us a call.

When someone dies abroad, it can be very distressing and confusing for those left behind. The death must be registered in the country in which it occurred. There are also some key steps to take:

If you are both abroad


  • Contact the local British Embassy/Consulate
  • Advise your tour operator or holiday representative
  • For non-managed holidays, you may wish to call home


They were abroad without you


  • Next of kin should be contacted by the British consulate
  • Contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for advice and support

You may also need to arrange repatriation, which is the process of returning the deceased to the UK. Call us at Richardson Funeral Directors if you need more advice on repatriation.



Contact Richardson Funeral Directors

If you are still unsure of what to do when someone dies do not hesitate to contact our experienced and compassionate team at Richardson Funeral Directors. We are here to support you through this difficult time.

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