What practical things need to be done if there is a death?

  • When someone dies at home, a doctor must be called to sign a medical certificate.  If the death has been sudden, the doctor will have to talk to the police who will report it to the coroner.  A post mortem examination may be arranged.
  • When someone dies in hospital, the doctor will give you a medical certificate, you must take it to the register office and register the death within five days.  The registrar will issue a death certificate and notification of disposal, which should be given to the funeral director.  Ask for a few copies of the death certificate.  You may need these for pension and insurance purposes.
  • A funeral director can be chosen before or after you have registered the death.  Most people obtain a name from the telephone directory or by word of mouth.  They will advise on the procedures for the funeral.
  • Contact your local Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to arrange pension and other entitlements.  You may be eligible for funeral payments or widow’s payments.  The Directgov website provides information about benefit entitlement.
  • Inform the tax office about your change in circumstances.
  • If there is a will, the executors will make sure it is carried out.  Contact the solicitor.  If there is no will, contact the Probate Registry for an application to administer the ‘estate’.  Your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau can help you if you are not sure.
  • Leeds City Council has more information about death and funerals locally.