What To Do Next

We understand that losing someone you love can be overwhelming, which is why our friendly team at Heart of England are here to offer you support and advice during this emotional time. If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, let us guide you through the necessary processes that immediately follow a death, including arranging a funeral.

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What to do when someone dies

Dealing with loss is difficult, especially if the death was unexpected, as there are many practicalities that need to be arranged following a loss whilst also trying to grieve. Knowing what to do next when someone dies also varies depending on where the person passed away and what plans were laid out prior to their passing regarding a funeral. 

To find out more about what to do next and the steps you need to take for a variety of circumstances, keep reading for advice. Your local Heart of England funeral directors are also available to share more information and guidance and can be reached by phone at all hours of the day and night. To get in touch, find your nearest funeral home to get our contact details.
We also offer a helpful Bereavement Checklist detailing the necessary steps to take following a death, as well as a detailed blog on ‘What to do when someone dies’ for further information. You’re not alone in coping with loss, and our teams are here to give you all the support you need to get through this difficult time.

What to do immediately after someone dies? 

The first things that should be done after a loved one passes away are to get a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), organise for the deceased to be taken into suitable care, register the death and organise the funeral. How these steps are completed will depend on where the death occurred. Below, we have outlined the three most common places death may occur and what this means for the next steps you should take.

Where did the death happen?

What to do if someone dies at home?

  1. Call the person’s doctor or NHS 111

    In the case of an expected death that takes place at home, your first port of call should be to call the deceased’s doctor or the NHS helpline on 111, as well as any close relatives you wish to notify. The doctor will then be able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), which details the cause of death and will allow it to be legally registered.

    After this, you may begin to contact a funeral director to begin making any necessary arrangements regarding moving the deceased and funeral planning. This is, understandably, a very emotional task to undertake, so we urge you to do this at a time you feel ready, to allow yourself time to process the loss first..

    Unexpected Deaths

    If the death that occurs at home is unexpected, the first thing you should do is call 111 and ask for advice, they will then be able to guide you through what to do next. In most cases of an unexpected death, it may need to be reported to a coroner so that they can conduct an inquest or post-mortem to identify the cause of death.

    It’s important to note that this process can often take some time, so a funeral may be delayed slightly longer than usual. However, during this difficult time, you can rely on funeral directors to offer all of the support and guidance you may need, as well as answer any questions you have regarding this process.

  2. Arrange for the person to be taken into our care

    Once the death has been verified, the next step is to get in touch with your chosen funeral home to arrange for the deceased to be taken into their care. There are many funeral homes to choose from and in some cases, the deceased may have made arrangements for which funeral home they would like prior to their passing, by way of a pre-paid funeral plan.

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    Should you decide to choose us here at Heart of England Co-op Funerals, our team of professionals are available 24/7 to arrange a convenient to bring your loved one into our care. We will ensure they are looked after according to any wishes you may have. We also offer the option for you and any other family members to come and visit them before the funeral.

  3. Register the death

    Once the deceased has been taken into care, it’s now time to register the death. In England and Wales, it is necessary to register any death within five days and in Scotland, within 8 days.

    In order to register a death you must contact your local registrar’s office, which will require you to provide the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) from the doctor, along with the deceased’s birth certificate, passport, proof of address and marriage certificate (if applicable).

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  4. Arrange The Funeral

    Once you’ve registered the death and chosen a funeral director, you will then be able to set up a meeting to discuss what wishes you have for the funeral. Our funeral directors are here to listen to the wishes your loved one had for their funeral and to learn more about them, ensuring we work with you to give them a loving send-off. This is the time to discuss all necessary decisions that need to be made, outlining the different funeral options and costs whilst supporting you through this process.

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What to do if someone dies in a care home?

If a loved one passes away expectedly whilst in a care home, the steps on what to do next are similar to those detailed in the ‘At Home’ section above. The primary difference, however, is that the care home will be the one responsible for contacting the doctor to verify the death. Once informed of their passing, the doctor will then be able to issue a death certificate, which you will then need to register before contacting your chosen funeral director, as detailed in steps 2, 3 and 4 above.

Unexpected Deaths

If the death is unexpected in the care home, then emergency services must be contacted first. Once the emergency responders have confirmed the death, they will contact the coroner who will then investigate what the cause of death may be. The coroner will also be responsible for arranging a local funeral director to collect the deceased and take them to the hospital mortuary, where they will be kept until the investigation into the death has concluded. It is from this point on that you then may choose to have them taken to your chosen funeral home and begin making funeral arrangements.

What to do if someone dies at the hospital?

If your loved one passes away whilst at the hospital, the doctor there will be able to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). From this point, you will then be able to call your chosen funeral director to start making the necessary arrangements. Before your loved one is taken into the care of the funeral home, the hospital will require you to register the death. The rest of this process will be the same as it would be in the case of an ‘At Home’ death mentioned above.

When should you start arranging a funeral?

As soon as possible, you do not have to wait until the death has been registered. We understand that this is an emotional time, and that’s why our funeral directors here at Heart of England Co-op Funerals are here to support you every step of the way if you choose us to arrange the funeral. 

From deciding on the type of funeral you wish to have to picking out floral arrangements, choosing the right music and more, we’re here to offer our knowledge, expertise and care to guide you through this difficult process. Funerals are a celebration of life, and we do all we can to ensure your loved one gets the perfect send-off to honour their life.


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Talk to an Expert

Contact your local funeral home

If you are confused about what to do and need some extra-support during this hard time, talk to your local funeral care team to help you understand what steps to take next. We are here to try and make things as easy as possible for you and your family.

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