What to do when someone dies in the UK

Channel Walters
February 28, 2024
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1. Notify the Authorities: If the death occurs at home and was expected, you should contact the deceased person's general practitioner (GP) or the attending doctor. If the death is unexpected or happens outside of a medical facility, you should call emergency services by dialling 999. The police may need to be involved, especially if the cause of death is unclear or suspicious.

2. Obtain a Death Certificate: A doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) if the death occurred at home or in a hospital. If the death was sudden or unexpected, the coroner may be involved, and the process might differ. The MCCD is required to register the death.

3. Register the Death: The death must be registered with the local registrar's office within five days in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and within eight days in Scotland. You will need to make an appointment with the registrar and bring the MCCD, as well as information about the deceased, such as their full name, date and place of birth, occupation, and usual address.

4. Arrange the Funeral: You can choose a funeral director to help you with the funeral arrangements, or you can arrange it yourself. The funeral can be a burial or cremation, depending on the wishes of the deceased and their family. Funeral costs can vary, so it's essential to consider your budget and any funeral plans or insurance the deceased may have had.

5. Notify Relevant Parties: You'll need to inform various organisations about the death, including the deceased's employer (if applicable), utility companies, banks, insurance providers, and government agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs(HMRC).

6. Deal with the Estate: If the deceased left a will, the executor named in the will is responsible for handling the deceased's estate. If there is no will, the estate will be distributed according to intestacy laws. You may need to apply for probate to gain legal authority to administer the estate.

7. Seek Support: Coping with the death of a loved one can be emotionally challenging. Don't hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or support groups for help and comfort during this difficult time. You may also consider seeking professional bereavement counselling or therapy if you're struggling to cope with your grief.

These steps provide a general overview of what to do when someone dies in the UK, but it's essential to consult with relevant authorities and professionals to ensure you fulfil all legal requirements and obligations specific to your situation. Additionally, organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau can offer guidance and support with practical matters following a death.


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