Losing a loved one is a difficult and overwhelming experience. You may feel confused and unsure of what to do next. London Funerals is here to help guide you through this challenging time. We have created a resource to help you navigate the practical arrangements that need to be made, such as organizing a funeral and handling the personal affairs of your loved one. This guide covers what to do in the event of a death occurring in a hospital, hospice, care home, private residence, or elsewhere. We will help you through the necessary steps and answer any questions you may have.
If you would like to speak with us directly, please call 0208 191 2050. We are here to support you.
If your loved one dies in a hospital
When someone passes away in a hospital, the staff will contact the next of kin and keep the body in the hospital’s mortuary until funeral arrangements can be made. The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be created by the hospital staff and will be sent directly to the local registry office. In some cases, a post-mortem examination or inquest may be needed to determine the cause of death, in which case the coroner will oversee this.
The death must be registered within five days in the UK. A relative of the deceased should register the death, but if this is not possible, a witness, hospital administrator can do it instead. The hospital will send the Medical Certificate to the registry offices but you may need other documents such as a birth certificate and proof of address. Once the death is registered, you will receive a death certificate and a Certificate for Burial or Cremation, also known as a green form, which is required for the funeral to take place. Please see here for a list of registry offices in London.
If your loved one dies in a hospice
After the death occurs, hospice staff will contact the next of kin to offer support and assistance. A doctor or nurse at the hospice will confirm the death and, if it was expected, will typically issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). This will be sent directly to the local registrar. If you are responsible for organising the funeral, you will need to arrange for a funeral director to collect the deceased from the hospice. Many hospices have an on-site mortuary, but if the hospice does not have one, an additional fee will be required for collection as our staff need to respond immediately.
You will also need to arrange to collect your loved one’s personal items from the hospice at some point.
In the United Kingdom, it is necessary to register a death within five days (eight days in Scotland). To do so, you will need to provide the registrar with the deceased person’s birth certificate, NHS number, and other relevant documents. Once the death has been registered, the registrar will provide you with a death certificate. They will also ask if you have chosen a funeral service, as this will be necessary in order to issue the Certificate for Burial or Cremation. It is important to complete this process as soon as possible in order to move forward with making funeral arrangements and addressing any legal matters. For a list of registry offices in London, please see here.
If your loved one dies in a care home
When someone dies in a care home, the staff will contact their next of kin and call a doctor to confirm the death. The doctor will usually issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), which details the official cause of death and is sent to the local registrar. It is necessary for registering the death and arranging a funeral. If the cause of death is uncertain, the doctor may call a coroner to open an inquiry and potentially perform a post-mortem examination.
Care home staff are trained to care for the body after someone passes away, and friends and family are usually allowed to visit for a few hours. The care home staff will ask you if you have chosen a funeral director, and if you would like London Funerals to be your chosen provider, you can give them our phone number (0208 464 7277) and instruct them to call us. Our team is available 24/7 and will take your loved one into our care immediately. It’s important to note that if your loved one has been collected from a care home without your permission, you have the right to change funeral services without incurring any charges.
It is important to register the death within five days (eight days in Scotland). You will need to provide the person’s birth certificate, NHS number, and other documents to the registrar. Once the death is registered, you will receive a death certificate and the registrar will ask if you have selected a funeral service in order to issue the Certificate for Burial or Cremation. A list of registry offices in London can be found here.
If your loved one dies at home
If the death was unexpected:
If your loved one dies at home unexpectedly, it is important to call 999 immediately. Both an ambulance and the police should be contacted in this situation. It is possible that the cause of death may not be immediately apparent to the medical professional who arrives at your home. In this case, they may need to call a coroner to investigate. The coroner will collect your loved one and take them into their care until they are satisfied that the cause of death is clear.
If the death was expected:
If your loved one was seriously ill and their death was anticipated, the first step is to contact their GP or the doctor who was providing their care. If you are unable to reach the GP, you can call the NHS helpline at 111 and arrange for a medical professional to come to your home. The GP or another doctor will need to verify the death and provide a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Once this has been done, you can call us at 0208 133 7961 to arrange for your loved one to be taken into our care.
Registering the death:
Once the cause of death has been confirmed by a doctor, the next step is to register the death. If the coroner is involved, there is no need to do this, as the coroner will register the death on your behalf. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the death must be registered within five days of the confirmation of death. In Scotland, you have eight days to complete this important task. Click here for contact details of every registrar in London.
Find your local registry office
When it comes to registering a death in London, it is important to be aware of the various options available to you. Each borough in London has its own registry office where deaths can be registered, and it is generally recommended to register the death within the borough where it occurred. However, it is also possible to register by declaration at your local registry office, regardless of where the death took place. To do so, you will need to book an appointment and visit the registry office in person. In order to assist you during this difficult time, we have compiled a list of contact information for registering a death in any borough of London.
Help with funeral costs
If you have recently lost a loved one and are struggling to afford the costs of their funeral, you may be eligible for government grants to help cover expenses. The UK Funeral Expenses Payment is a financial aid that can help towards paying for the funeral, although it may not cover all of your costs.
In order to qualify for the payment, you must be the individual responsible for arranging the funeral, be a close relative, partner, or friend of the deceased, and also be receiving certain benefits or tax credits, such as Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Universal Credit. However, you may not be eligible if another close relative of the deceased is currently employed.
The UK Funeral Expenses Payment is typically £1000 plus the cremation fee. While it may not fully cover the cost of a traditional funeral, it will cover all of our costs for a direct cremation or approximately 75% of the cost of our simple funeral. If the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you may receive up to £120 for items not already covered in the plan.
Claims for the UK Funeral Expenses Payment can be made over the phone and can be done prior to the funeral, as long as you have already received an invoice from us. The application must be made within six months of the funeral and can be made even if you are waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit. If you are eligible, the payment will usually be made directly to us, unless you have already paid for the funeral, in which case the payment will be deposited into your bank account. If the deceased had an estate before they passed away, the money from the estate may be used to repay the payment.
For more information about this financial aid, visit the Funeral Expenses Payment website or call the government helpline at 0800 731 0469. We understand that this is a difficult and overwhelming time, and our hearts go out to you as you grieve and navigate the financial challenges of planning a funeral. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or need any additional help.
If you need further help
If you have any additional questions or concerns during this difficult time, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for support. You can contact us by calling 0208 191 2050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to assist you in any way we can. We understand that losing a loved one is a deeply emotional and challenging experience, and we are here to support you in any way we can.