What to do when Someone Dies

It is perfectly normal to be unsure of what to do following the loss of a family member, loved one or close friend. We are here to support you through the process and guide you through the various steps that are involved following a bereavement.

When a Death Occurs at Home
You will need to contact the deceased’s own G.P. (or the doctor on duty) who will certify that the death has taken place and, if he or she is able to, issue a death certificate. It is most likely that this certificate will need to be collected from the doctor’s surgery when completed. (If the doctor has referred the death to the Coroner – see below).

Once the Doctor has given permission to proceed, you are then able contact us.  A member of staff will always be available to respond sensitively and efficiently to your call. We will attend at a time convenient to you and then arrange for the deceased to be taken into our care and to our premises. It is imperative that this emotional event is handled with care and respect.  Edd will see to this personally. Please do not feel that the conveyance must take place immediately; some families, having informed the funeral directors, may wish to wait until other family members have had an opportunity to say their goodbyes at home. You are then welcome to visit our Chapel of Rest at a later date once an appointment has been arranged with the Funeral Director.

It is advisable to contact the Funeral Director as soon as you feel able to discuss the funeral arrangements but only when you feel ready to.  Preliminary and provisional arrangements may be made, if so required, in advance of the registration of the death.  Edd, or a member of his team, is more than happy to attend to you in the comfort and familiar surroundings of your home where decisions and choices can best be made by the family in your own more familiar surroundings.  Alternatively we would be pleased to welcome you to our premises which has been carefully designed to create and calm and peaceful environment in order for families to feel relaxed and at ease in what can be a highly emotional and uneasy time.

To contact us please telephone us on 01295 40 40 04, we are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

When a Death Occurs at a Nursing or Residential Home
The above procedure is likely to have been carried out, with your permission, by the Matron or Warden of the Nursing or Residential Home who will advise you of when and where to collect the Medical Certificate from when prepared by the doctor.

When a Death Occurs in Hospital
If a death occurs in hospital, the deceased is normally conveyed by the hospital staff to the hospital mortuary.  The deceased will rest there until the necessary paperwork has been completed which will then allow the deceased to be conveyed to our premises. You will be contacted by the hospital bereavement officer, who will assist you with arranging registration and will be able to help you with any other queries at that moment in time.

When someone dies, the doctor who was treating the deceased will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to the relatives. The person who will be registering the death must take this certificate to the Registrar’s Office.

Every death in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which it takes place within 5 days of the date of death. The person registering the death gives information for the registration to the Registrar.

If it is inconvenient for the person registering the death to go to the district where the death took place, the information for the registration may be given to the Registrar in another district by declaration. Please contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office if you need to follow this route. You should be aware that if the declaration procedure is required it will take longer for the document allowing the funeral to proceed to be issued.

Who Can Register a Death
The people who can register a death are as follows:

•           A relative of the deceased, related by blood, marriage or civil partnership.
•           Person present at the death.
•           The occupier of the house or hospital if he or she knew of the death.
•           Person arranging the funeral.

The Registrar would normally allow one of the other listed persons to register the death only if there were no relatives available.

When a Death is Reported to the Coroner
In some cases a death has to be reported to the Coroner before being registered. These cases are:

•           Where there is no doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death.
•           Where the death is sudden or the deceased has not been seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate after death or within 14 days of the death.
•           Where the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious.
•           Where the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic.
•           Where the death is due to an industrial disease or industrial poisoning.

Once the death has been reported to the Coroner, the Registrar must wait until the Coroner has decided whether any further investigation into the death is necessary before the registration can proceed.

Information Required That Must Be Supplied to the Registrar When Registering a Death

•           Date and place of death of deceased
•           Name and surname of the deceased
•           Maiden name, if the deceased was a woman who had married
•           Date and place of birth of deceased
•           Occupation of deceased
•           Name and occupation of spouse, where the deceased was married
•           Home address of deceased
•           Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
•           If the deceased was either married or a civil partner, the date of birth of the surviving partner will be required

If at all possible it would be helpful to present the deceased’s medical card to the Registrar

It is important that the information entered into the register is correct.  Please be advised to check the details VERY CAREFULLY in the death register before you sign it.

Should English not be the first language of the relative or person registering the death, and assistance is needed, it would be helpful for someone else to accompany him or her to the Registrar’s Office and act as an interpreter. Please remember that the relative or the person qualifying to register the death must register the death personally, as the interpreter or friend cannot register instead.

Where can I get further advice?
If after reading this information, you have further questions or need more advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at our offices on 01295 40 40 04 where we will be pleased to help you.

What to Take When Attending the Registrar’s Office

•           The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (usually collected from the deceased’s doctor’s surgery)
•           The Deceased’s National Health Medical Card
•           The Deceased’s Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate

The Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificates contain all the information required by the Registrar.

What the Registrar will Give You

•           A Green Certificate – This must be handed to the funeral director and it is advisable to do this as soon as possible in case it is mislaid and so that the funeral can take place at the earliest possible convenience to the family.

The Registrar will give you the opportunity to purchase Certified Copies of the Death Certificate at a cost of £4.00 per copy.  It is advisable to think beforehand how many copies you require as the cost to purchase further certified copies at a later date is considerably more.

You will require Certified Copies of the Death Certificate for administering the following services:

•           The Will/Solicitor
•           Bank Accounts
•           Any Pension Claims
•           Insurance Policies
•           Savings Bank Certificates
•           Premium Bonds

Contact Details for Local Register Offices

It is important to inform you that appointments must be made before visiting any Registrar’s Offices


Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury, Oxon OX15 4AA
Tel: 0845 129 5900
Monday – Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm

The Garth, Launton Road, Bicester, Oxon OX26 6PS
Tel: 0845 129 5900
Monday – Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm

1 Tidmarsh Lane, Oxford, OX1 1NS
Tel: 0845 129 5900
Opening Times:

Monday – Thursday 9.00am – 4.30pm
Friday 9.00am – 4.00pm



Sunny Banks, 55 Brackley Road, Towcester, Northants NN12 6DH
Tel: 0300 1261000
Opening Times:

Monday 9.30am – 12.30pm 1.00pm – 4.00pm
Tuesday 9.30am – 1.30pm CLOSED
Thursday CLOSED 12.30pm – 4.30pm
Friday 11.30am – 3.30pm


Council Offices, Lodge Road, Daventry NN11 4FP
Tel: 0300 1261000
Opening Times:

Monday 9.00am – 12.00pm  12.30pm – 2.30pm
Wednesday 11.00am – 1.00pm 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Friday 9.00am – 12.00 noon 12.30pm – 2.30pm


The Guildhall, St. Giles Square, Northampton NN1 1DE
Tel: 0300 1261000
Opening Times:
Monday – Friday              9.00am – 5.00pm

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