What to do when someone dies

Sometimes a death may be expected, but nothing prepares us for the emotional shock of losing someone close. Making funeral arrangements can seem very confusing but with our help and guidance, we will endeavour to make it as straight forward as possible.

When someone dies at home

Contact your own Doctor or on call Doctor, district nurse or terminal care nurse. When one of these medical professionals have confirmed the death, contact ourselves, no matter what the time of day, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Two members of staff will then bring your loved one into our care to the Nutshell in Milton Road South.

When someone dies in hospital

You will need to contact the hospital patient affairs office to make an appointment to collect the medical cause of death along with any personal effects. Once the death has been registered and all necessary forms completed at the hospital by the doctors, we will then be able to bring your loved one into our care.

When someone dies unexpectedly

If a doctor is unable to confirm the cause of death, if it is unexpected or an accident, the coroner may be involved. The coroner will arrange for your loved one to be taken to a local hospital, this will be carried out by a funeral director who is contracted by the coroner (you do not have to use this funeral director for the funeral arangements). The coroner and ourselves will keep you informed as to what to do next depending on the situation.

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Registering A Death

A member of the family should ideally register the death. If this is not possible it should be someone who was present at the death, the person organising the funeral, (not the funeral director), or the occupier of the premises in which the death occurred.


All offices operate an appointment system. If the death occurred within Suffolk you can pre-register the death online here. Due to current restrictions, registration is by telephone only. Once you have completed the form and the registrar has the necessary paperwork from the GP, you will receive a phone call to complete the registration process.

Details you will need to provide

  • Medical certificate of the cause of death - signed by the doctor (during Covid 19 pandemic, this will automatically be sent to the registrar)
  • Date and place of the death
  • Full names of the deceased, including any other names which may have been used - including maiden surname if the person who died was a married woman or a widow - please bring marriage certificate, if applicable
  • Usual home address and post code
  • Date and place of birth of the deceased - please bring birth certificate, if available
  • Occupation of the deceased
  • Full name, date of birth and occupation of the spouse (for a married or widowed woman) or civil partner
  • National Health Service number, if known, or the medical card or Serco letter from the Health Authority

Documents you will receive from the Registrar

If a post-mortem is not being held:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation, (the green form), giving permission for the burial or cremation to take place
  • A certificate of registration of death (form BD8), issued for Social Security purposes, if the deceased was on a state pension or benefits
  • Death certificates are available to purchase at the Registration at £11.00 per copy. This price does increase after registration.

Tell Us Once

This is a free service, offered as part of the Registration appointment.

With your permission, information is shared with other Government departments and agencies, advising that the death has occurred, such as Department for Work and Pensions, Council Tax, Blue Badge, Passport. More details can be found on the gov.uk website.

Deaths involving the Coroner

If the death has been reported to the Coroner, the Registrar cannot register the death until the Coroner's enquiries are complete. You will be advised by the Coroner's officers when registration can take place. If an inquest is to be held, you will not need to attend an appointment to register the death.