What to do when someone dies

Advice and support

1. Call a doctor and tell their closest relative

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

2. Registering the death

You can't finalise the funeral date until you have registered the death, so it's an important step.

You must legally register the death within five days. A death can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • The manager of the nursing/residential home/official from the hospital where the death took place
  • The person making the arrangements with the Funeral Directors

You should contact the local registrar’s office beforehand as you might need to make an appointment. When you register the death you will need to have:

  • the death certificate
  • the full name, address, date and place of birth, and the occupation of the person who has died
  • information about their pension or other income from public funds
  • if the person was married, you will need to give the full name and date of birth of the surviving partner

While at the Register’s Office you can access the government’s ‘Tell Us Once’ service. This free service can notify some government departments for you, including the Department of Works and Pensions and some council services.

List of documents you must take.

More information on registering a death.

3. Arranging the funeral

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.

While most will have to fund their loved one’s funeral, if you're the surviving husband, wife or civil partner, you may be entitled to funding from government bereavement support. You can find out if you’re eligible.

Cremation

Southampton CrematoriumYou may wish to look at Southampton Crematorium. Nestled in a beautiful and peaceful woodland setting, Southampton Crematorium and the surrounding Gardens of Remembrance are a perfect location for celebrating and commemorating the life of a loved one.

Location: Southampton Crematorium, Bassett Green Road, Southampton, SO16 3QB

More information on cremation or call 023 8076 6405.

Burial

Hollybrook CemeteryIf you would prefer a burial, you may want to consider one of the five cemeteries we manage in the city:

  • Hollybrook Cemetery
  • St Mary Extra Cemetery
  • South Stoneham Cemetery
  • Millbrook Cemetery
  • Southampton Old Cemetery

More information on burials, or call 023 8076 6405.

4. Deal with their estate

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.

More information on what to do after a death can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Other useful contacts and support services.