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Bereavement: Practical Advice

Whether it is expected or not, doing the practical things needed after someone passes away can be stressful as well as upsetting.

Hopefully, this checklist for the first days and afterwards is helpful and takes away just a little bit of worry or uncertainty.

Some of these stages may be slightly different, depending on where someone has died and your relationship with them.

  1. Tell a healthcare professional. The first step is to let whoever oversees their care know. If they were in a hospital, hospice, or another type of care when they died, speak to a Nurse, Doctor or carer. If the person passed away at home, you should contact their GP practice.
  2. Verification. A trained healthcare professional is required to verify the person has died.
  3. Respect the person’s wishes. If there are any requirements for how the body is looked after – including religious or cultural considerations – these must be respected.
  4. Certifying the death. A Doctor must complete a medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD). This is separate from the death certificate, produced after the death is registered.
  5. Arranging for the person’s body to be collected. If you are using a funeral director, contact them to arrange collection. Marie Curie has a helpful guide on choosing a funeral director.
  6. Registering the death. This is done through Newcastle City Council to produce a formal death certificate needed for burial or cremation. The MCCD from a Doctor is required before this appointment can be scheduled. Families or next of kin should call 0191 2787878 to book an appointment and ask to be put through to ‘Registrars’.
  7. Copies of the death certificate. Original certificates may be needed by banks, insurance or pension companies, or administrators of a will. You will be given one copy, but additional copies carry a cost, typically £8-£12. More copies can be requested later, but it is best to get as many as needed straightaway. 
  8. Notifying others. As well as friends or other relatives, you may need to tell:
    • The person’s employer and colleagues
    • Financial institutions like banks, credit cards or pension companies
    • Landlord or mortgage holder
    • TV, internet, or mobile phone contracts
    • Utility companies
    • Royal Mail
    • Government agencies. The UK Government has a ‘Tell Us Once’ scheme that lets you report a death once, with information passed to departments like HMRC, passport office, state pensions, DVLA, etc, in one go.
  9. Find in the person has a will. A Will can tell you who has been named executors – the people responsible for sorting the deceased person’s affairs and estate. More on dealing with someone’s estate, including if they didn’t have a Will, can be found on the UK Government website.