Lizzy Dening

What to do when someone passes away

Lizzy Dening
What to do when someone passes away

Losing a loved one is always hard, but being prepared for the practical steps to take when the time comes can help make everything seem less overwhelming

When we lose someone we love it can be hard to think straight. Suddenly there are lots of things to organise and family and friends to tell, all while you’re dealing with the grief of losing the person you cared for. But knowing step by step what you need to do can help make the situation feel more manageable, giving you time to come to terms with what’s happened. The new updated Yours Guide to Pre-Paid Funeral Plans takes you through the issues you need to consider when someone dies and how to prepare ahead for funeral planning. Read on for just some of the advice included in the guide.

Get a medical certificate

If your loved one dies at home, call a family doctor who can issue a medical certificate showing the cause of death. For a hospital death they will provide the certificate which will be in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. In the event of an unexpected death, a post-mortem may be required.

Register the death

This has be done within five days of the person passing (or eight if you live in Scotland). It’s best to do this at the register office in the area where the person died (find the nearest at and if possible, call ahead of time as some prefer for you to make an appointment. You’ll need to take with you the medical certificate and if possible, the person’s birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate and NHS medical card. 

Tell people the news

Start with the family and friends, perhaps by going through the address book of the person who has died. You’ll then need to inform the tax office, revoke any Blue Badge and return their driving licence to the DVLA and their passport to the UK Passport Agency. Also contact their pension scheme provider, insurance company, bank, mortgage provider or housing association, utility company, GP and dentist as well as registering the name of the deceased person with the Bereavement Register  (0207 0896403 or visit

Plan the funeral

Unless the person who died had specific wishes think about what they would have wanted, from the choice of burial or cremation to what songs or hymns they might like to be played. 
If you like, contact a funeral director to help – just make sure they belong to a professional association such as the National Association of Funeral Directors or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors. 
If the person had a pre-paid funeral plan, the costs of this may already be covered. If not the money will generally come from the estate of the person who has died.

Plan ahead to give peace of mind

Every year, thousands of people pass away without having a plan in place for their family, or making their final wishes known, meaning families are left to make difficult decisions on their own. A funeral plan is the ideal way to ensure that your loved ones won’t one day be left to arrange and pay for your funeral without any guidance or  financial support.