What to do when a Death occurs

Caring advice and guidance

What happens when someone dies? 

A death, even when expected, can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unsure of our next steps. We hope this guide will help ease the stress a little by outlining some key considerations and steps you should take when death happens. 

Most deaths are likely to occur in a hospital, nursing home, hospice or at home where your loved one has been in the care of a palliative team. In these aforementioned circumstances, the doctor will issue a Certificate of Cause of Death to the next of kin, who must then contact the local council registrar (whose jurisdiction covers where the death occurred). A Green Certificate will then be sent electronically to A France to allow us to bring someone’s loved one into our care and start making funeral arrangements

If the death occurs in a hospital

In the case of a hospital death, it should be registered at the register office for the district in which the hospital is located, and should be registered within five days – though exceptions can be made. 

If the death occurs at a nursing home or hospice

Should a death occur at a nursing home or hospice, then it must be registered in the district that the building is located in. The staff at the premises will assist you with the application for a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. 

If the death occurs at home

When a death occurs at home, your GP should be the first person informed, who will then issue a Medical Certificate detailing the cause of death – they can only issue this if they are certain about the cause of death. If a GP is unsure about the exact cause of death to be noted on the Medical Certificate, they may ask that the coroner becomes involved to help ascertain the exact cause of death.  

If the death occurs suddenly

A sudden death can be hard to cope with, but it’s important to take the right steps should it occur. Your doctor may choose to report the death to a coroner in the case of a sudden death, who will determine the cause of death before issuing a certificate of death.

If a death happens abroad 

The rules of a death occurring abroad are a little different. The death should be registered according to the law of that particular country, and should also be reported to the British Consulate who may arrange for the death to be registered in the UK,  too. 


Registration is not required for a miscarriage. However, should the baby live for a short while after birth, you could be required to register both the birth and death.


It’s in the hands of a doctor or midwife to issue a medical certificate of stillbirth, which should be submitted to the Registrar of Births and Deaths within a 42-day timeframe after the delivery of the baby. 

Registering a death with a registrar

The caring team at A. France & Son are here to advise you on how to register the death with a registrar, taking you through the paperwork so nothing is missed. To find out more, please get in touch

What a registrar will ask you about the deceased

  • The person’s place of birth
  • The person’s date of birth
  • The full name and address
  • If the deceased is a married female, her maiden name will be asked 
  • Their last known occupation
  • Whether or not the deceased was receiving pension or state benefits 
  • Full name, address and occupation of whoever is making the registration
Call us on 020 7405 4901 Arrange an appointment

Let us help you create a fitting tribute for a loved one

Call us on 020 7405 4901 or request a callback using the form below