When someone dies
At this time it is difficult to think practically but there are certain procedures that need to be carried out by the next of kin or executor. Below is a guide to the steps that you need to follow.
If the death occurs naturally at home
If your loved one passes away in their home and has been seen by a doctor within fourteen days, call the surgery and ask for a doctor to visit and confirm the death. Once the doctor has been then call the funeral director. This is a 24 hour service. In due course, providing everything is straightforward the doctor will issue a medical death certificate which you will require to register the death. If the death occurs out of hours then the surgery will be informed by the duty doctor who attends.
If the death occurs in hospital
If you are not present the hospital will inform you. If the hospital admission was an emergency and the death occurred within a 24 hour period then the consultants will have to inform the coroner. This is standard practice and may or may not result in a post mortem depending on whether the consultants can obtain a certain cause of death within the 24 hour period. Providing that there is no need for a post mortem the bereavement office will arrange for a medical death certificate for your collection and they will arrange an appointment with the registrar. This only applies to the major hospitals such as Derriford and Royal Cornwall, local Cottage Hospital often have different ways of arranging things.
If the death is sudden
If the death occurs suddenly without there being any consultation from a doctor within fourteen days, as a result of an accident, industrial injury, disease, during an operation or whilst under anaesthetic then the H M Coroner will be informed. This is a formality in some cases and in others a post-mortem examination will be required. There are three possible outcomes from the coroner being informed.
- The Coroner may decide no further action is necessary after discussing medical history with the doctor. The doctor will then issue a medical Death Certificate to enable you to register the death.
- The Coroner may request a post-mortem examination in which case a form 100 will be issued by the Coroner instead of a medical death certificate.
- The Coroner may decide to hold an inquest. The Coroners’s office, Registrar or Funeral Director will advise you what to do in these circumstances.
Registering a death
It is preferred that a relative of the deceased registers the death. If this is not possible then an executor, someone present at the time of death, a senior administrator of the establishment where the death occurred or the person responsible for arranging the funeral can register.
The Registrar will need the following information:
- Medical Death Certificate from the doctor
- The date and place of death
- The full name of the deceased (and maiden name where appropriate)
- The date and place of birth of the deceased.
- Details of spouse i.e. full name, last occupation and date of birth
- The NHS number or medical card of the deceased (you can still register without this)
Tell Us Once service
Cornwall Registration Service is now offering Tell Us Once – a mean by which informants registering a death can notify several cross-government departments that a person has died.
The following information is required about the deceased but, if you re NOT the next of kin, you will need their permission in order for the registrar to pass on this information:
National Insurance No. and/ or date of birth. The national insurance No. can be found on any letters from the DWP that refer to any benefits (e.g State Pension)
- Passport or Passport No.
- Driving Licence or Driving Licence No.
- Blue Badge
- Details of benefits they were receiving
If you are not the next of kin, the registrar may also ask for names, address and contact details about:
- Their surviving next of kin.
- Any surviving spouse/civil partner.
- Anyone getting child benefit on their behalf.
- The person dealing with the estate.
After the death has been registered, the Registrar will issue the following certificates.
- Certificate for burial/cremation. This is to be handed to the Funeral Director so that the funeral can take place. In cases where the Coroner is involved a form will be generated by the Coroner’s office instead.
- Certificate of registration of death (form BD8/344.) This is for the DWP to cancel any state pensions and benefits.
- Standard death certificate. You will need to purchase a certified copy of this certificate for purposes of private pensions, insurances, banks, building societies, solicitors and for probate if required. The registrar will advise you on the amount needed.
If the death occurs in Cornwall you can register in your nearest register office.
If the death occurs in Plymouth you will have to register the death at Lockyer Street, Plymouth. The bereavement office will book an appointment for you.
Useful contact information
Cornwall Registration Service
Telephone: 0300 1234 181
Bereavement office at Derriford Hospital
Telephone: 01752 439492
Plymouth Coroner’s office
Telephone: 01752 439679 / 439680 / 439681
Cornwall Coroner’s office
Telephone: 01726 222407 / 222476