Death of a loved one

We know that dealing with the death of a loved one is a very difficult time and there can be a lot to organise. You don’t have to do everything yourself – always ask for support from family and friends and health and social care professionals.

To help make things as easy as possible for you at this difficult time we have created the following checklist. Please note that not every section may be relevant. Each link will open in a new tab so the original list remains open for you.

When someone dies at home, you should call their GP immediately (or an ambulance). If the death was in a hospital or hospice you should tell the doctor.

The next of kin has to collect a medical certificate with the cause of death written on it (the death certificate). You will need this to register the death of your loved one.

It’s important to remember that everyone should respect any wishes the person had about how their body should be cared for. The next steps include:

  • A trained healthcare professional will need to verify the death
  • Family or friends should call a funeral director, if they are using one
  • The funeral director will then usually come and collect the body
  • A doctor will need to certify the death by completing a ‘medical certificate of cause of death’ (this is different from a death certificate)
  • Look for a Will to see who the named executors are (the people who sort out the person’s affairs) and if the person left instructions for their funeral Car Park Permit.

One of the first things you will need to do is register the death. You cannot finalise the funeral date until you have registered the death, so it's an important step.

You can register a death if you are a relative, were present at the death, a hospital administrator or if you are the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.

Deaths are required by law to be registered within five days in the town or city where they occur. The exception is if there is to be a coroner’s post mortem, inquest or other coroner involvement, even if this is not where the person lived. If the death you wish to register took place within Runnymede then an appointment should be booked at Surrey Register Office.

You may find it useful to acquire several copies of the death certificate, as you may need to send them to various organisations.

The links below explain how to register a death along with the documents you will need.

The registrar will then issue the ‘death certificate’ and ‘certificate for burial or cremation’. These need to be given to the funeral director.

The registrar’s office will give you a certificate for burial or cremation, depending on what the deceased requested, or what you decide to do.

Most people choose to go through a funeral director to help arrange the funeral, however you can arrange the burial or cremation direct with us. If you decide to use a funeral director, it can help to choose someone you feel comfortable with. It’s also important to think about the cost of the funeral, and make sure you are able to pay for their services.

While most people will have to fund their loved one’s funeral, if you're the surviving partner, you may be entitled to funding from government bereavement support.

During the registration we will also set up the Tell Us Once service for you, which reports a death to most government organisations in one go. The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies. To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away. You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.

Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

You might have to deal with the will, money and property of the person who's died if you're a close friend or relative, or the executor of the will.

When someone dies, if they had any outstanding debts to settle, or any assets to distribute, someone else will need to take charge. Banks and other institutions will normally only take instructions from the person appointed in the will to carry out the deceased's wishes, or if no will was left the next of kin.

There may also be a number of other things you need to consider, such as:

As the circumstances for every bereavement are different, more advice may be needed. Below are some useful links to assist you,