What to do when someone dies
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What to do
If someone dies in their own home or yours or a nursing or residential home then their G.P or the doctor who was last in attendance should be contacted. If the doctor has recently seen the deceased (by law within the last fourteen days) and if the death was expected and due to natural causes then the doctor will now in most cases instruct the informant to contact the funeral director of choice and will NOT attend to certify the death.
If the death is sudden, unexpected, accidental, due to an industrial disease, due to suicide or violence then the police should be called who in turn will call the coroners office and they will explain what will happen (see coroners section).
If someone dies in a hospital or hospice they will be removed to their own mortuary (or another local mortuary). Then the next working day the relative support officer or patients clerk or administrator will contact the last attending medical practitioner to establish if they can issue an acceptable medical certificate of cause of death. You should therefore contact the relevant office (please call us for the number) and wait to be told if and when you can collect the doctors certificate.
Once you have collected the “medical certificate of cause of death” (the doctors death certificate) from either the hospital, hospice or surgery you can then make an appointment to register the death. The number you need to call is 03000 415151 and lines are open every day except bank holidays, between 8am and 8pm. If you need to speak to a registrar it is the same number but they are available only on weekdays between 9am and 5pm (exc. bank holidays).
Deaths in Kent can now be registered at ANY KCC run library in Kent but you must ring for an appointment. Take to the registrar the “Medical certificate of cause of death” (The doctors certificate) and also the deceased’s medical card if available. You do not need to take birth and marriage certificates as long as you know the details contained on these.
1 – The deceased’s full name and address
2 – If the person has died was a married woman or widow, her maiden surname and the full names and occupation of her husband
3 – Date and place of birth
4 – Occupation and usual residence
5 – If the deceased was in receipt of any public pension or funds
1 – A relative of the deceased, present at death
2 – A relative of the deceased, in attendance during the last illness
3 – A relative of the deceased, residing or being in the sub-district where the death occurred
4 – A person present at the death
5 – The occupier (e.g. owner, governor, master or matron) if they knew of the happening of the death
6 – Any inmate if they knew of the happening of the death
7 – The person causing the disposal of the body (e.g. the person responsible for the funeral arrangements and payment of the account)
When cremation is chosen (and the coroner is not involved) there are statutory legal forms, known as the cremation certificates, that need to be completed by two medical practitioners. These forms are the funeral directors responsibility to organise and therefore we will liaise with the necessary office/doctors to have these completed and collected. Please note that we cannot collect the deceased from a hospital or hospice until these are completed and this can sometimes take several days.
The coroners office will contact any doctors who last attended the deceased and if possible see if they can issue an acceptable death certificate. if not possible a post-mortem examination will need to be carried out and there will be three possible outcomes. The first and most usual will confirm that the deceased has died of a natural cause; the coroner will then release the deceased and issue the relevant paperwork to the registrars, crematorium or funeral director. If the death is found to be not from a natural cause or further tests are needed to conclude a cause, then an investigation or inquest will be opened and the coroner will normally require a formal identification of the deceased by a relative. If any one is to be prosecuted for the death then usually there will be a second post mortem carried out for the defence.
Funeral arrangements should not be finalised until the coroner gives permission, although when a date for the post mortem has been confirmed a provisional funeral booking can usually be made. In all cases one of the coroners officers should keep you informed of what is happening and when it is happening. If an inquest is necessary this will be opened and then adjourned so that further investigations and enquiry’s can take place. The deceased will be released so that the funeral can take place.
To register a coroners death (non-inquest or investigation) you should telephone the registrars 03000 415151 the day after the post mortem to see if they have received the paperwork from the coroner. This replaces the doctors death certificate. If they have received the forms then you can make an appointment to go and register the death – you will not need any paperwork from the doctor. If the funeral is a cremation then you do not have to register the death before the funeral as the coroner sends another certificate directly to the crematorium (or funeral director) which allows 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 or investigation into the death then you will not be able to register the death until after the inquest or investigation has taken place and a verdict recorded (NB this may take months). In these cases the coroner will issue you an ‘Interim Death Certificate’ and to us either a cremation or burial order which allows the funeral to take place. The interim death certificate should be presented where necessary to any banks, solicitors etc and if you have any problems regarding this you should refer them directly to the coroner.
Please take your time in deciding on what type of funeral you would like and do not hesitate to ask us for any advice about anything. You can get an instant estimate on our COSTS page. Our office hours are 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday (exc. Bank holidays) but the phone is always answered at other times and we promise that you will always receive a personal response, usually from Paul or Alex. Once you have decided on burial or cremation and where you would like the funeral to take place please give us a call 01304 201322 and we will confirm as soon as possible a mutually convenient date and time for the funeral. Please remember that along with our diary commitments, the crematorium or cemetery may already have bookings and vicars/ministers have their diary commitments as well. We will always do our best to accommodate your wishes but some flexibility is appreciated.
All other details and forms for the funeral can be discussed and completed at your convenience either in our office here at 12 Beaconsfield Road, Dover, in the comfort of your own home, or if necessary by post. Please remember that cremation and cemetery forms need completing as soon as possible so we can forward them in time for the funeral. If you would like a FREE home visit please do not hesitate to ask, call us any time 01304 201322.
Once arranged you will be given an immediate verbal estimate of the total cost of the funeral. We will confirm this by email or in writing asap along with details of the funeral arrangements. Any changes can be made or additional services requested and we promise an extremely respectful and professional service no matter what the total cost is.