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

Please contact your own Doctor or on call Doctor, district nurse or terminal care nurse. When one of these medical professionals has confirmed the death, you can then contact ourselves, it does not matter what the time of day it is, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.There is no rush and if you wish to spend more time with your loved one at home you are welcome to do so and when you are ready two members of our staff will then bring them into our care to the Nutshell in Milton Road South.

When someone dies in hospital

You no longer need to attend the hospital to collect the medical cause of death certificate, this will be sent electronically from the hospital. The bereavement office will contact you and let you know when they have sent the medical cause of death to the registrars. 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 in a nursing home

The staff may be qualified to confirm that death has taken place or alternatively the home will arrange for a doctor to visit. Once the death has been confirmed, the home or yourselves can contact us to make arrangements for bringing your loved one into our care at any time day or night. The doctor will send the medical cause of death to the registrars electronically.

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.


You no longer need to collect the Medical cause of death certificate, this is now sent directly from the Doctor or hospital to the registrars.All registration offices in Suffolk operate an appointment system, please click on this link Suffolk Registrars to make an appointment.

Details you will need to provide

  • Medical certificate of the cause of death - signed by the doctor (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 (we will require this form from you)
  • 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. You can purchase more after the registration, however the price does increase.

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.