What to do after someone dies | Cruse Bereavement Care

0808 808 1677

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:

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

There are useful government guides to how to do each step in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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. You can also call the Cruse helpline for emotional support. The number is 0808 808 1677, and the lines are open Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm, and until 8pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


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 advise on how to do this. To find out more about the support they can offer, call 02070081500 or click here.


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. For NHS information about post-mortems and inquests, click here.

You will not be able to register the death until after the inquest. A free handbook to the inquest process is published by the charity INQUEST. www.inquest.org.uk.

INQUEST also offer advice by telephone or email.