When someone dies

When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to be made.

Unfortunately these often have to be made at a time of personal distress. What needs to happen first will depend on the circumstances of the death and where death has occurred. This will also affect the type of documentation that you will need.

You can contact us at any time to instruct us as your funeral director. We will be able to explain the next steps and liaise with the other parties involved.

*Due to Covid-19, the registration process has changed and everything will be done over the phone. Please contact our office for further details.

What do you do when someone dies at home?

When someone dies at home and the death is expected, you will need to call the deceased’s GP Surgery who, if satisfied with the cause of death, will issue the Medical Certificate of cause of Death. You will need to contact the surgery to find out when the certificate will be available to collect.

If the death occurs outside of the surgery’s hours then you should call 111 for the on-call doctor. They will then attend and certify the death. They will not be able to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death as this will be completed by the deceased own GP.

What do you do when someone dies at home unexpectedly?

If someone dies at home unexpectedly you will need to contact the emergency services on 999 and request an ambulance and the police.

The paramedics will carry out resuscitation or will confirm the death. The police will arrange for the deceased to be moved to a mortuary by a funeral director acting for the coroner. The coroner may order a post mortem examination to determine the cause of death and then issue the documents allowing the death to be registered.

Our staff are on call at all times, day or night, to help you through this process and can be contacted on 01304 380914 or 01304 812300

What happens when someone dies in a Care Home?

Care home staff will liaise on your behalf in the event of the death occurring in the care home.

If the doctor is unsure about the actual cause of death even if it was clearly from natural causes, or if the deceased died suddenly and had not been under a doctor’s care during the past 14 days, or the death is unnatural, they will contact the coroner.

The coroner will arrange for the deceased to be moved to a mortuary by a funeral director acting for the coroner. The coroner may order a post mortem examination to determine the cause of death and then issue the documents allowing the death to be registered.

What happens when someone dies in a Hospice or Hospital?

If the deceased has died in hospital or hospice and you are the named next of kin, the nursing staff will inform you.

Most hospitals have bereavement staff who coordinate the issue of documentation and will explain the procedures to you.

In other places this may be done by the ward staff. In some cases the hospital staff will have to refer the death to the coroner. This means they will not be able to issue the Medical Certificate and the coroner’s office will give you further information about when you can register the death.

Once the relevant certificates have been issued our staff will be able to remove the deceased to our chapel of rest.

If the person who has died had registered for organ or tissue donation and they are eligible, the transplant coordinator at the hospital will talk to you regarding the arrangements.

What happens when someone dies overseas?

If the death occurs overseas, the registration process in that country must be followed in order to obtain a death certificate.

You can arrange to have the funeral overseas if you wish. However, if you would prefer to return the deceased back to the UK please contact us and we will be able to advise you on the practicalities.

This will include obtaining necessary documents from:

  • The Registrar of Deaths and sometimes the Coroner in the UK
  • The documents needed from the country of death
  • The British Embassy or High Commission

If covered by an insurance policy the repatriation will be arranged directly by the insurance company

If the repatriation is your responsibility then please check with us regarding the costs involved before confirming arrangements as all repatriation specialists require prior payment.

The process has temporarily changed due to Covid-19.

The cause of death will now be sent directly to the registrar who will call you to register the death over the phone.

A death should be registered as soon as possible, by law within five days. To do this you need to firstly establish if the deceased’s doctor, or the doctor who was last in attendance, is able to sign a death certificate.

When this has been completed you will need to call the GP surgery to establish where and when you can collect the certificate. (If the deceased has died in a hospital you should call and ask to speak to the Relative Support Office who will give you an appointment for you to collect the certificate.)

When you have the certificate or know when you will have it, you need to telephone the registrars call centre to make an appointment to register the death.

They can be contacted on 03000 415151 or by using their website

Deaths can be registered at the following locations which operate on an appointment only basis.


Ashford Gateway,
Church Road,
TN23 1AS


Wellington House,
St Stephen’s Road,


The Library,
Broad Street,
CT14 6ER


Dover Discovery Ctr,
Market Square,
CT16 1PH


The Library,
Guildford Lawn,
CT11 9AY

If it is more convenient deaths can now also be registered at: Broadstairs, Cranbrook, Dartford, Faversham, Folkestone, Gravesend, Herne Bay, Hythe, Lydd, Maidstone, Margate, New Romney, Pembury, Sevenoaks, Sheerness, Sittingbourne, Swanley, Tenterden, Tonbridge, or Tunbridge Wells.

Who can register a death?

• a relative of the deceased
• a person who was present at the death
• an administrator from the hospital where the person died
• a person arranging the funeral with the funeral director

What do I need to bring?

• the medical certificate of cause of death issued by the doctor. If there has been a post mortem, the coroner will send this directly to the registrar
• birth and marriage or civil partnership certificates if these are available
• disabled parking ‘Blue Badge’ and concessionary bus pass if applicable
• a method of payment for copies of the death certificate – cash, credit or debit card, cheque book. Any copies of death certificates will be charged at a rate of £11 per document.
The accuracy of the registration can be improved by bringing some extra identification documents with you. This might be a passport or driving licence.

What do they need to know?

They need to know some information about the person who has died and your relationship to them to be able to complete the death register

After the registration entry is complete, the registrar will give you:

• a certificate for burial or cremation (form 9) a green form to give to the funeral director. If the death has been referred to the coroner and the funeral is a cremation, the equivalent form will be sent by the coroner to your funeral director
• a certificate of registration of death (BD8 form) a white form to be completed and sent by you, with any benefit or pension details to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Deaths reported to the Coroner

lf the deceased’s doctor is unable to issue a death certificate the death is referred to the Coroner for investigation. A Coroner’s officer should now inform you of what will happen. In most cases a post-mortem examination will need to be carried out and in some cases an inquest will be opened afterwards.

Funeral arrangements should not be finalised until the Coroner gives permission, although when a date for the post-mortem has been fixed a provisional funeral booking can usually be made.

Registration of a Coroner’s case

To register a coroners death (non-inquest) you should wait for the coroner to inform you that you can make an appointment with the registrars.
If the funeral is a cremation then the Coroner sends a cremation certificate directly to the crematorium allowing the funeral to take place. You should however register the death as soon as possible.

If the funeral is a burial then you must register the death before the funeral and you will be given a green certificate which you should give to us.
If the Coroner opens an inquest into the death then you will not be able to register the death until after the inquest has taken place. The Coroner will issue you an Interim Death Certificate and to us either a cremation certificate or burial order to allow the funeral to take place.