Practical steps – when someone dies…
11 November 2019 by Jane Golding
When someone dies, there are many practical issues that need to be sorted out. This can be very overwhelming, especially when you will be dealing with many strong emotions at the same time. Some people are able to deal with lots of practical tasks when they are bereaved, while others find that they just cannot cope in the immediate period of losing a loved one. If you were the person who was the closest to the deceased, the responsibility may fall to you.
If someone dies at home, the first step is to call the GP as soon as possible. A GP will normally visit the house and if the death was expected the GP will issue a certificate giving the cause of death. If the person did not have a GP, then you should call an Ambulance instead. If the death was unexpected then it will need to be reported to a Coroner. A Coroner is a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating unexpected deaths. A Post-Mortem or Inquest to find out the cause may be required. This can take some time.
If someone dies in hospital the Hospital will usually issue a Medical Certificate and formal notice. The body of the deceased will usually be kept by the hospital mortuary until the funeral directors or relatives arrange a chapel of rest.
Registering the Death is the formal record of the death. This is done by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at the Register Office. You will need to contact them first to arrange an appointment. A death should be registered within five days but this can be extended for another nine days if the Registrar is told that a Medical Certificate has been issued. If a Post-Mortem is being undertaken then you will not be able to register the death until the Coroner’s Investigations are concluded.
You will need to take the Medical Death Certificate with you, as the death cannot be registered until the Registrar has seen this document. You will need to take the following in order to complete the Registration of the Death: the date and place of death; the full name of the person and last known address; the person’s date and place of birth; the person’s occupation and if that person was married or widowed, the full name and occupation of husband/wife/civil partner; if the person is still married, the date of birth of their husband/wife/civil partner; whether the person was receiving a pension or other benefits.
When the death has been registered, the Registrar will issue you with a certificate (Green Form) for you to give to the Funeral Director or whoever is arranging the funeral. This will enable the Burial or Cremation to go ahead. Form BD8, you will need to fill this out and return it in the pre-paid envelope if the person was receiving a State Pension or any Benefits. If you are using the Government’s “Tell us Once Service” this will not be necessary. Leaflets about bereavement benefits and the Death Certificate, for which there will be a charge of £11.00 per Death Certificate.
The person who died may have left funeral instructions in their Will or a Letter of Wishes. If there are not any clear wishes, then Executor or nearest Relative will usually decide if the body will be cremated or buried and what type of funeral will take place.
When someone dies, you will then need to get in touch with a number of organisations to let them know as soon as possible. These will include HMRC, DWP, DVLA, Banks, Pension Scheme Provider, Insurance Companies, Employer, Mortgage Provider, Housing Association or Council Housing, Social Services, Utility companies, GP, Dentist, Options.
If Fisher Jones Greenwood can assist you in an Administration of an Estate or assist you in making plans for the future, then please contact us on 01206 700113 or email [email protected] to arrange a mutually convenient appointment.