Bereavement Advice

What to do immediately after someone dies

If your loved one has died at home and their death was expected, you should call their doctor, who will sign a medical certificate confirming the cause of death. If the death occurs outside doctors opening hours then you need to call the out of hours GP service.

A doctor cannot issue a medical certificate if they are unsure about the cause of death. In this case the death must be reported to the coroner and the deceased taken for a post-mortem examination.

If the death has happened in hospital, the doctor there will issue the certificate.

In some cases, the doctor may decide to refer the matter to the coroner. If the death was unexpected and cause unknown and the deceased hadn't been seen by a doctor recently, a post-mortem might be requested.

Sometimes a death is reported to the coroner by a doctor, or by the police, because it has been sudden or unexpected or as the result of an accident, an industrial injury or other circumstances. The coroner may request the death is investigated by means of a post-mortem. If it is then found that the person died from natural causes you will be told so and paperwork issued for you to  register the death and for the funeral to take place.

If the death was not considered to be from natural causes then the coroner will hold an inquest, (an enquiry into the circumstances of the death). Should the coroner request an inquest this will usually be opened and adjourned so the deceased can be released for the funeral to take place. The full inquest hearing is then held at a later date.


Funeral Arrangements

You should contact us as soon as possible after the death of your loved one, even before obtaining the Death Certificate as this allows us to order relevant paperwork ie Doctor's cremation forms.


Who can register the death.


A relative should register the death.

If a relative cannot register the death, you can do it if you:

  • Were there at the time of death
  • Are an administrator from the hospital (if the person died in hospital)
  • Are in charge of making the funeral arrangements.


Registering a death

The death must usually be registered within five working day where possible.

If the death has occurred in Lincolnshire it can be registered anywhere in the county-

it does not need to be registered in the district where the death occurred.



*Take the Medical Certificate showing the cause of death (signed by a doctor) with you.

*At present, due to Covid 19, all death registrations are being conducted over the telephone. The GP will email the Medical Certificate to the registrar who will then  contact you to register the death.                                      

If available (but don’t worry if not), also take the person’s:

  • birth certificate
  • Council Tax bill
  • driving licence
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • passport
  • proof of address (eg utility bill)                                                                                                                                                               You'll need to tell the Registrar:
  • the person’s full name at the time of death
  • any names previously used, eg maiden name
  • the person’s date and place of birth
  • their last address
  • their occupation
  • the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  • whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits
  • You should also take supporting documents that show your name and address (eg a utility bill) but you can still register a death without them.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Documents You Will  Get From The Registrar                         
  • a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) - gives permission for burial or an application for cremation
  • a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) - you may need to fill this out and return it if the person was getting a State Pension or benefits (the form will come with a pre-paid envelope so you know where to send it)

You can buy extra death certificates - these will be needed for sorting out the deceased's affairs.

The telephone number for the registration appointment system is 01522 782244

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© Emma Severs