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50 Baker Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3AQ.
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What To Do When Someone Passes

When someone close to you passes, it can at first seem almost impossible to consider all of the practical things that need to be done. Yet, even when bereaved there are in-escapable activities. Here at the elms funeral directors, we understand the stress and spectrum of other emotions you are feeling at the moment, which is why we have compiled a guide on what to do when someone passes, to help lighten the load.

What You Need to Do Straight Away

If Someone Passes at Home, Yet the Death Was Expected

If your loved one has passed away expectedly at home, for example, due to a terminal illness, the doctor will usually issue a medical certificate of the cause of death to allow the death to be registered at the Registry Office.

A death certificate will then be provided to you.

If Someone Passes Unexpectedly

An unexpected passing needs to be reported to a coroner. A coroner can include a doctor or lawyer who will be responsible for investigating an unexpected death. They will call for a post-mortem, or inquest, which will find out the cause of death. This may take some time and can delay the funeral.

If Someone Passes in Hospital

Should someone pass away in hospital, a medical certificate and formal notice of death will be issued. The hospital will also be able to provide you with the support you need to take all the relevant next steps.

Typically, the deceased will be kept in the hospital mortuary, until either you or your chosen funeral directors arrange a chapel of rest, or should you wish, for them to be taken home.

If Someone Passes Abroad

If your loved one has passed away abroad, you will need to register the death in line with the regulations of the country. You should also register with the British Consul in the country, so you can get a consulate death certificate and records can be updated in the UK.

Registering the Death

Within 5 days of the deceased’s passing, you will need to register the death. This will include;

  1. Finding a Registry Office
  2. Collect the Relevant Information

When you attend the registry office, you’ll need to take the medical certificate stating the cause of death, signed by a doctor. You may also need:

  • A birth certificate,
  • NHS medical card or number,
  • Certificate of marriage or civil partnership,
  • Driving licence
  • Proof of their address.

You will also need to provide the registrar with:

  • Your loved one’s full name,
  • Their date of birth and place of birth,
  • Their date of death and place of death,
  • Their address,
  • Their most recent job title,
  • Whether or not they received benefits, including a state pension.
  • The name, job title and date of birth of their spouse or civil partner.
  1. What You’ll Receive

Once you have provided all of the above information, the registrar will provide you with:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation, also known as a Green Form,
  • A certificate of registration of the death,
  • Leaflets regarding bereavement benefits,
  • A death certificate, for which there will be a charge.
  1. Extra Certificates

You may also wish at this point to buy extra death certificates, which will be needed for the Will and to claim any pensions, savings etc. It’s best to get these at this point as, in the future, extra copies may be more expensive.

Many organisations will not accept ordinary photocopies.

  1. Update Records

You may wish to opt for the tell us once service that can be used to report a loved one’s death to several government departments at once. This service will typically be offered by most local authorities.

You’ll have the choice of either arranging an appointment to take place when your register the death, or similarly, you can access the service online or via phone. The registrar should provide you with a Tell Us Once reference number.

Who Do You Need to Tell?

When someone passes away, you must get in touch with the right people to let them know, as soon as possible.

The following government departments can be contacted in one go:

  • Local services include libraries, electoral services, council tax services,
  • Tax office,
  • DVLA,
  • UK Passport Agency,
  • HMRC for taxes.

Should your local authority not provide a Tell Us Once service, you will need to tell each department individually.

You may also need to contact:

  • Pension scheme provider,
  • Insurance companies,
  • Bank or building society,
  • Employer,
  • Mortgage provider, housing association or council housing office,
  • Social services,
  • Utility companies,
  • GP, dentist, opticians, and anyone else who provided the deceased with medical care,
  • Any charities, organisations or magazine subscriptions the deceased made regular payments to,
  • The Bereavement Register.

Arranging the Funeral

You may find that the deceased has left funeral instructions in their will, or a letter detailing their wishes.

However, if there aren’t any clear wishes, their nearest relatives may wish to decide whether the body is cremated or buried, and where the funeral takes place.

At this point you may also wish to ask your local funeral director for an itemised quote on:

  • The funeral director’s services,
  • A coffin,
  • Transfer of the deceased from the place of death, and care prior to the funeral service,
  • A hearse,
  • All necessary arrangements and paperwork.

From this, you will be able to decide how you wish to pay for the funeral, whether that’s with the help of a family member, a sum from a life insurance policy or pension scheme, a pre-paid funeral plan, or the deceased’s estate.

You may also be able to get a funeral payment from the social fund if you are on a low income or meet the listed criteria.

Knowing what to do when someone passes can seem rather overwhelming, yet we hope the above has given you some insight and guidance at a time when you need it most. It would be our privilege to help you and give you the advice you need at this time, so should you wish to discuss further funeral arrangements with our team, we’re only a phone call away on 01934 616 996, or similarly, please feel free to send us an email.

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