The death of someone close to you can bring an arrangement of strong emotions, some of which you may have never experienced before.

This can make the next stages of grief even more stressful, especially when you’re unsure what to do next.

If you’re going through a difficult time and wondering what to do when someone dies, this article will run through what usually happens once a death has taken place.

First Steps

Be assured that there are people and services out there open 24 hours a day to offer advice and help to those grieving. No matter whether the death you have experienced is sudden or expected, you will be met with understanding and reassurance.

If you find yourself really struggling, the best thing to do is to get help and speak to someone. You will find the process even more difficult, so it will really help to speak to someone as soon as you find yourself suffering in silence.

Registering The Death

You will need to register the death within 5 days, however there are special circumstances where this can be extended to 14 days.

Who can do this? You need to have legal responsibility to register a death, this can include a relative, a person who was there at the death, the occupier of the place where the death took place, the individual arranging the funeral.

Once the death has been registered you will be sent the death certificate, you will need this to give to your funeral provider.

Important Details

There will be some forms needed to be completed during the time after someone has died. For this, you will need certain information listed below. Keep this information safe and somewhere easy for you to access:

  • The deceased NHS Number
  • Their National Insurance Number
  • Birth date and place of birth
  • Tax reference number
  • Date of marriage or civil partnership if applicable
  • Child benefit number if applicable

Does A Coroner Need to Be Contacted?

If you believe the death needs further investigation, you should get in touch with a coroner.

Report the death to a corner if:

  • The death looks violent, unnatural, or suspicious
  • The cause of death is still unknown
  • The death took place in prison
  • The death happened whilst in surgery
  • The death happened due to an industrial disease

If the coroner is unsatisfied, they will request a post-mortem to identify the cause of death which you will not be able to object to.

Arranging The Funeral

A funeral can be arranged any time once someone has passed. If a post-mortem needs to take place, or an inquest, this can delay the funeral. Anyone close to the deceased has the right to arrange the funeral, but it is usually their most close relatives.

If the deceased no longer has relatives or close friends, the local authority will take care of proceedings.

The Will

If someone dies suddenly without a will in place, a close relative is able to apply to the probate registry to sort out the estate and assets of the deceased.

You’ll need to apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’ to make yourself ‘administators’ of the estate. If you get accepted, you’ll legally able to deal with the deceased’s assets.

Are They an Organ Donor?

If the deceased was an organ donor, check if it is official on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Be aware that you may be asked for consent for the organ donation to go ahead.

If they wished to leave their body for medical purposes, this would have had to be arranged before their death.

Seek Help If Needed

During this process you need to make sure you take care of yourself. If it becomes too overwhelming at any point, there are people you can speak to.

Especially if you are taking care of the funeral, there are specialists such as the funeral directors who will be able to offer advice, or just a caring ear to listen to, to help you get through this difficult time.

Taking care of yourself is one of the most important parts of this process, as your loved ones will need your care and support also.