What To Do When Someone Dies

When someone dies it can be difficult to know what to do next. Whether the death is expected or unexpected, it doesn’t make the process any easier. However, arming yourself with what to do in certain situations can help you to prepare the best you can.

With this in mind, we have put together a helpful guide for what to do if someone dies expectedly or unexpectedly.

For further information on this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

When A Death Occurs in a Nursing Home, Hospice or Hospital


If a loved one dies in a nursing home or hospital, the doctor who attends will issue you with the Medical Cause of Death Certificate and you can inform relatives of the passing. If the death was expected, then no further investigation is needed and you are free to arrange our services and inform others of the passing.


If the death was unexpected, then a level of investigation is undertaken and the process takes a little bit longer. All relatives will be notified of the death and the doctor will contact the Coroner’s Officer. Once the cause of death has been understood, then the Medical Cause of Death Certificate will be issued.

However, if the death was not caused by natural occurrences, then an investigation will be undertaken to find the cause of death. In these instances, an interim certificate may be issued so that a funeral service can take place. However in some cases, this will not be possible until the inquest has reached a verdict.

When A Death Occurs At Home


If the death occurs in the home, you will first need to call your doctor. Given that the death was expected, the doctor will issue you with the Medical Cause of Death Certificate. You are then free to make funeral arrangements and inform others of the passing. 


If an unexpected death occurs at home, you will need to call the emergency services. The police, ambulance services and a doctor will arrive. If the death was caused by natural occurrences, the doctor will issue you with the Medical Cause of Death Certificate and you can make arrangements.

However, if the death did not occur due to natural causes, the Coroner’s Officer will be called and an inquest will be ordered. Interim certificates may be given during the inquest. However, this may not be possible until a verdict has been reached.

How To Register A Death

If a person dies within Wales, England or Northern Ireland, then you have 5 working days to register. If an inquest was carried out, you will have longer to do this. 

You can register a death online here.

Contact Cowbridge Funeral Directors

If you have any concerns or questions on when someone passes away, please get in touch. If you would prefer to talk with us in Welsh, we will be more than happy to do this. 

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website: Find out more.