When someone dies it is quite usual for the family to contact a Funeral Director immediately. Most Funeral Directors provide 24hr support and can are ready to advise on the actions required for the funeral arrangements to be made.

When a death occurs at home

A death occurring at home is often the result of a long illness and although expected is still distressing. In such cases the deceased's doctor should be contacted in order for the death to be certified. If the death has occurred outside surgery hours or the deceased's doctor is unavailable, it is usual for another doctor to attend. Once the doctor has attended, the deceased can be removed and taken into care at the Funeral Director's premises.

Later that day, or the following day, the doctor will issue a Medical Certificate, which will give the cause of Death. This will usually be made available for collection from the doctors' surgery. The Medical Certificate is required in order for the death to be registered.

If the attending doctor is unable to ascertain the cause of death, or the deceased has not been seen by a doctor within the last 14 days, the doctor will refer the death to the Coroner. In this instance the Coroner's Officers will ask the nominated Funeral Director, H. D. Tribe Ltd, to attend and take the deceased to the local hospital.

When a death occurs in Hospital, Hospice or Nursing Home

When a death occurs in hospital and the family is not present at the time, the nursing staff will notify them either straight away, or first thing in the morning, depending on the family's wishes. The Funeral Director can then be contacted in order for the funeral arrangements to be made.

Sometime in the next 24 hours, the doctor caring for the deceased will issue the Medical Certificate, which will give the cause of death. In respect of a Hospital or Hospice, this will usually be made available for the family to collect from the Bereavement or Patient Affairs Office. If the death occurred at a Nursing Home, the certificate is normally left at the Doctor's Surgery or sometimes at the Funeral Directors.

When a death occurs elsewhere

If a death has occurred away from the deceased's home area, assuming the cause of death can be established, the Medical Certificate will be issued by the Doctor who was most recently giving treatment. Where the cause of death cannot be ascertained , the death will be referred to the Coroner.

Once the certificate has been issued and the death registered, or the Coroner has finished his enquiries, then your appointed Funeral Director can arrange to collect the deceased from the Hospital, or the local Funeral Directors chapels of rest. If the deceased died abroad, contact your Funeral Director immediately and he will be able to advise you on the correct course of action and what arrangements are necessary for the deceased to be returned home.


Once the Medical Certificate has been issued the death must be registered with 5 days. It is necessary to make an appointment to do this.

When you attend the registrars, you will need to know the following information:
The date and place of birth
The date and place of death
The full name, and if applicable and former names including maiden names
The usual home address of the deceased
The deceased's last occupation and if applicable, the occupation of their spouse
The date of birth of any surviving spouse.

On completion of registration the registrar will issue the following.

  • Death Certificate. These are 3.50 each and you can have as many as you require.
  • White Certificate for Social Security purposes
  • Green certificate for the Funeral Director. This will NOT be issued if the Coroner is involved and the funeral will be a cremation.
The role of the Coroner

If the death occurred in any of the following circumstances, the doctor attending the deceased may decide to report the death to the Coroner.

  • As a result of an accident or injury
  • An industrial disease is suspected
  • During a surgical operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic
  • The death was sudden and unexplained
  • The cause of death is unknown.
Where a death has been referred to the Coroner, registration of the death cannot be carried out immediately. You will be contacted by the Coroners Officer, and depending on the circumstances, will advise you on what to do. At all stages, please remain in contact with your chosen Funeral Director who should be able to liase with the Coroner on your behalf.