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What to do when someone dies

A list of practical steps which need to be taken following a death.

This includes:

Collecting the Death Certificate
Registering the death
Arranging the funeral

You may have many things to deal with in the next few days and beyond. Please feel free to contact the Hospice’s clinical staff who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Collecting the ‘Cause of Death Certificate’

Please ring Sylvan Ward on 01284 725700 to make an appointment. On arrival at the Hospice, please ask the receptionist to contact Sylvan Ward. The nurse will then give you the Cause of Death Certificate and any personal property, and will assist with any further questions that you may have. You will then be able to register the death.

Registering the Death

The death must be registered at a Register Office. The closest one to the Hospice is:
7 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1UZ

You need to make an appointment to register the death by phoning the Register Office on 01284 741221.

The death has to be registered within five days, unless the Coroner has been advised. Should any difficulties arise with registering the death in this period, please inform the Register Office.

What to take to the Register Office

In order to register the death, you will need to take with you:
The deceased’s full name, home address, date of birth and place of birth
The deceased’s birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable)
If the deceased was a married woman: her maiden name; her husband’s full name and her husband’s occupation
The medical certificate of Cause of Death
The date and place of death
The deceased’s NHS medical card and pension documents, if available.

Death Certificates

The Registrar will issue one Death Certificate for you to take with you when you visit the Funeral Director to arrange the funeral. You will need additional copies of the death certificate for several purposes: if the person’s Will needs to go through probate; for banks, building societies, insurance companies and pension providers; benefit agencies and savings accounts like premium bonds or national savings. Each certificate currently costs £3.50 if requested when registering, and £7.00 if ordered thereafter, so make sure you order enough copies when registering the death. By registering the death, the Register Office will inform all other County Council and government bodies for you.

Some deaths, irrespective of age, may be subject to a Coroner’s investigation. In these cases, the Coroner’s Officer will contact you directly. If you have any queries, they can be contacted at Bury St Edmunds Police Station on 01284 774167.

Arranging the Funeral

The Funeral Director will help you decide upon the service that you require and will assist you with all the funeral arrangements. Please ask them anything you wish to know – they are very helpful and problems that may seem very complicated normally can be solved very simply by the Funeral Director.

St Nicholas Hospice Care can provide a list of Funeral Directors on request. Your local minister or the Hospice Chaplaincy Team will also be pleased to help and advise you about funeral arrangements.