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What to do when someone dies

We expect that the death of a close family member or friend will be
emotionally distressing. This is normal and natural.
It is perfectly normal to want to put off unpleasant thoughts, and talking about the inevitable end of life is perhaps the biggest of these.


Unfortunately, when the time does occur, a partner, relative or friend can be totally unprepared for the event and unaware of the many practical decisions that need to be made.


This is why we always recommend that people discuss their wishes with close family and friends and even write them down to be kept in a safe place.

In our role as funeral directors we are here for more than just funeral arrangements, but to also advise and assist with the many other matters that arise from your bereavement.

Below you will find some helpful information on what procedures and documentation is likely going to be involved, along with advise and suggestions.

If you have any further questions, please give us a call.

Immediately after the death

When a death occurs many people are unsure what to do next and who to contact and when.

If in hospital at the time of death

If at a  care home or private residence at the time of death

If the death has occurred in a hospital, you will often be given the opportunity to spend some time with the deceased before they are taken to the mortuary. The ward staff will tell you the procedure of how to collect any personal belongings and obtain a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), as you need this to be able to register the death, unless a Coroner is involved. Most hospitals also have a viewing room and this is often called the chapel of rest. You will usually need an appointment to see someone in the viewing room, which is often arranged by the hospital’s bereavement service.

If the death has occurred at a care home or private residence, you will need to call the deceased's family doctor if the death has occurred during normal surgery hours. If it happens outside of normal surgery hours then the out of hours doctor should be told. When you are ready to do so, you must call us to arrange to bring the deceased into our care at our chapel of rest. It is possible to keep the deceased at home but we would recommend discussing this with us before deciding to do this. The doctor will need to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) before you can register the death.

Registering the death

When should you register?

By law all deaths in England and Wales must normally be registered within five days. If you have the Medical Cause of Death Certificate, you should register as soon as possible; if the death has been referred to the Coroner, the Coroner or ourselves will inform you when you can.

Who can register a death?

The duty to provide the information to the Registrar lies with the following people:

A certified death (when a MCCD has been obtained)

  • A relative of the deceased, present at the death

  • A relative of the deceased, in attendance during the last illness

  • A relative of the deceased, residing or being in the sub-district where the death occurred

  • A person present at the death

  • An administrator from the hospital or nursing home

  • A person in charge of making funeral arrangements

A death that has been referred to the Coroner

  • Any relative of the deceased having knowledge of any of the particulars required to be registered

  • Any person present at the death

  • Any person who found the deceased

  • Any person in charge of the deceased

  • The person causing the disposal of the deceased

Where should you register?

Once you have been issued the Medical Cause of Death Certificate, you will need to make an appointment to register the death at the Register Office within the district in which the death occurred, or in the district within which the deceased resided. For Gloucestershire, you need to call the central number 01452 425060 - nominating your preferred location.

Gloucester Registrar:

Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG

Cheltenham Registrar:

St. George's Road, Cheltenham, GL50 3EW

Forest of Dean Registrar:

6 Belle Vue Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire, GL14 2AB

What documents and information does the Registrar require?

The register office will tell you what you need to do when you contact them.

The register office may also want to see the person’s:

  • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (if the death has not been

  • referred to the Coroner)

  • Birth certificate

  • Council Tax bill

  • Driving licence

  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate

  • NHS medical card

  • Passport

  • Proof of address (eg utility bill)

  • Any book or document relating to any pension or allowance which the deceased received from public funds

What documents are issued by the Registrar?

Certificate for Burial or Cremation (green form) - gives permission for burial or an application for cremation. This should be given to the funeral director as soon as possible as they may need this to release the deceased from hospital.

Death certificates - You can purchase as many copies of this document as you need (we recommend getting several at the time of registration as many organisations will not accept photo-copies) and this

is what is meant when banks and others ask to see an ‘original’ death certificate.

Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) - you may need to fill this in and return it if the person was getting a State Pension or benefits (the form will come with a pre-paid envelope so you know where to send it).

Arranging the funeral

Most families choose to use a funeral director and often want to see them as soon as possible.


You may want to check whether the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan which will set out some or all of their wishes, whether they had told family or friends what they wanted or had given instructions in their Will.

Once you contact us, we will help guide you through every step of the process. Please do not hesitate to call us on 01452 750489 (available 24/7) or email us at

Visit Us

The Chapel Of Rest,

Bulley Ln,



Call Us

01452 750489

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