Steps to take on death
What to do when someone dies
There are a number of things to think about when some one dies. Set out below is a checklist of things you need to consider. We can help you with most of the items on the list, so don’t hesitate to ask for our help.
Register the death
Following a person’s death, a medical certificate will need to be provided either by their GP, if they die at home, or by the hospital if they die there. If the death is unexpected, then normally there will need to be an autopsy, which will delay the issuing of the medical certificate. Once you have the medical certificate you will need to register the death. Normally this should be done within five days. To do this you will need to visit the local Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.
Registries of births death and marriages
You normally need to make an appointment
St Edmundsbury Borough Council Register Office
7 The Churchyard
Bury St Edmunds
Open Monday-Friday 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
Tel: 01284 741222
Ipswich Borough Council Register Office
St Peter House
16 Grimwade Street
Open Monday-Friday 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
Tel: 01473 583050
Click here to veiw a full list: www.suffolk.gov.uk/BirthsMarriagesAndDeaths/SuffolkRegistrationOffices
Looking for a will and/or letter of wishes
You should try and discover if the deceased has left a will or a letter of wishes. If there is a will it will state who the executors of the deceased’s estate are. The executors are responsible for the administration of the deceased’s estate after death. A power of attorney ceases on death and is no longer valid. The executors have primary responsibility for arranging the funeral. If they are not family members, they will normally be happy for the family to arrange the funeral. The executors should be consulted, however, as they will have control over the deceased’s financial affairs and be responsible for settling any funeral account.
The will may also contain provisions as to whether or not the deceased is to be buried or cremated and may contain other information as to the deceased’s wishes after their death.
Sometimes, in addition to a will, the deceased will have prepared a letter of wishes. This again may set out details as to the kind of funeral they want.
Contacting the undertaker
It is not necessary to instruct an undertaker to deal with the deceased. However, in most cases you will want to instruct one to deal with the preparation of the body for burial or cremation. We are happy to liaise with the undertaker on your behalf.
Notifying family and friends
You should contact the family and friends of the deceased, inform them of the death and advise them as to the funeral arrangements. If you have decided to use our services, then tell them that we may be in contact with them to discuss the deceased. If you have chosen not to adopt sombre dress, then let them know you would welcome them dressing in colourful clothing.
Think about the service
Please see services that we can provide to you on our Services page. Commonly there will be three elements:
- a) A service to celebrate the life of the deceased
- b) A burial or cremation
- c) A post-funeral reception
Unless the deceased had a close affiliation to a local church, then you may want to consider venues other than a crematorium for the holding of a funeral service. We will be happy to discuss appropriate venues with you.
Organise venue for the service
Funeral services don’t have to take place in a church or crematorium. These are still, common choices, but there are many alternatives. There is no need to feel constrained by convention.
There may be somewhere the deceased has a strong connection with. A local theatre or club they were a member of perhaps? If the deceased was a keen golfer, what could be better than the “19th hole” at their favourite course? You could also look to hold the service in a hotel or stately home. We can help you find the most fitting venue for a celebration of your loved one’s life.
Burial / Green Burial / Cremation
If the deceased has not specified which they would prefer, then you will need to make a decision. A “green burial” will normally involve burial in a woodland or meadow, in a biodegradable coffin. There usually is no head stone, although one set into the ground may be permitted. The grave may be marked by a tree, or wooden marker.
Venue for the reception
If you have decided to have the funeral service away from a church or crematorium, then the venue will normally have facilities where the reception can be held. If, however, you have decided to have the funeral service at a church or local crematorium, then we can you help you to find a suitable venue.
Obituary in paper
You may wish to place an obituary notice in the local paper. We can help with the writing of an obituary if you wish.
If you are having a Green burial a headstone may not be permitted. With a conventional burial we suggest you speak to your undertaker, who should be able to recommend a stone mason to you. We will be happy to help if required.