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What to do when someone dies

In the days immediately after someone dies, you may be feeling numb, or experiencing intense emotion. But there are also some practical things that need to be done.

When someone dies there are three practical things that need to be done in the first few days:

  • Get a medical certificate - you'll get this from a doctor (GP or at a hospital). You need the certificate and to register the death
  • Register the death within five days - you’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral
  • Arrange the funeral - most people use a funeral director, but you can do it yourself 

If you need support during these early days it’s important to ask for help. Talk to family or friends who might be able to offer practical assistance, as well as emotional support. 

If the death occurred abroad

If someone dies overseas, the death must be registered in the country where the person has died. The British Consulate in that country will be able to give advice on how to do this.

If there is a post-mortem or an inquest

If the death was unexplained or unexpected, there may need to be a post-mortem or an inquest.

You will not be able to register the death until after the inquest.

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