What to do after someone dies

The information on this page has been provided to try and help you deal with some of the practical aspects of losing someone that you love.


What needs to be dealt with next?

You will need to register your loved one’s death at your local register office. They will be able to give advice regarding registration.

Ipswich Register Office
St Peter House, 16 Grimwade Street,
Ipswich, IP4 1LP.
Tel: 0345 607 2050
E-mail: ipswich.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

Other local offices include:

Woodbridge Register Office (Melton)
The Lindos Centre, Saddle Makers Lane, Melton,
Woodbridge, IP12 1PP.
Tel: 0345 607 2090
E-mail: melton.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

Stowmarket Register Office
Milton House, 5 Milton Road South,
Stowmarket, IP14 1EZ.
Tel: 01449 612054
E-mail: stowmarket.registrars@suffolk.gov.uk

It is best to telephone to make an appointment, as this will save you having to wait. If it is not convenient for you to visit the local register office you can attend by arrangement, any register office in England or Wales to give a declaration of death.


Information about death registration

Who must register the death?
  • A relative, or
  • A person present at the death, or
  • The person who is arranging the funeral, or
  • The occupier of the house or establishment where the death took place if there is no known relative who is able to register


Is there a time limit?

Yes. You have to register within five days of the date of death. There is no reason why the death cannot be registered the following day.


How long will the registration take?

The registration will take between 30 – 40 minutes, if all the information is at hand.


Is the procedure for registering different if an inquest is being held?

Yes. In some circumstances, the registrar may have to refer the death to the coroner, in which case the registration will have to be delayed until the coroner has decided the cause of death. The coroner’s office will advise you accordingly.


What information will the registrar require?
  • A copy of the death certificate
  • Date and place of death
  • Full name of the deceased
  • Maiden name of a woman, if she has been married
  • Date and place of birth of the deceased
  • Occupation of the deceased, (and, if she was a married woman, the full name and occupation of her husband)
  • Usual address of the deceased
  • If the deceased was receiving a pension allowance or other monies/allowance from public funds e.g. Job Seekers Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Attendance Allowance, Disabled Living Allowance etc., their reference number will be needed
  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of their spouse
  • Either the National Health Service number of the deceased, if known, or the medical card itself, if available, should be handed to the registrar


Will the registrar give me any documents at the end of the registration?

Yes. The registrar will issue you with a special form (a certificate of burial or cremation – this is known as Form 9 and is green) to take to the undertaker.

In some cases this is issued by the coroner. They will also give you a form to be returned to the Department of Work and Pensions, which deals with state pensions and other benefits, or a certificate of registration of death (BD8).


People you may need to notify:


  • Bank/building society
  • Insurance companies
  • Solicitor
  • Credit card companies


  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Employer
  • Benefits office
  • Trade union
  • Inland Revenue
  • General practitioner
  • Hospital
  • District nurse
  • Place of worship
  • Care agencies (including Meals on Wheels, Personal alarms)
  • Social care services


  • TV licensing
  • Housing department
  • Gas/electricity/water
  • Vehicle licensing
  • Newspaper/milkman
  • Council offices
  • Telephone Company
  • Cancel appointments
  • Rental companies
  • Clubs/associations
  • Royal Mail deliveries
  • School/college

Items that might need returning

  • Pension/benefits books
  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • National Insurance card
  • NHS equipment on loan
  • Library cards/season tickets

For more detailed information on what to do after a death see the booklet DWP 1027, available from your local JobCentrePlus.


If I need to purchase death certificates, are there different certificates for different purposes?

Yes. There are two types and each has a different purpose. The registrar will advise you on the type and number of certificates you need.

Standard Death Certificates are issued for a small fee. These are the most common type of certificate and are used mainly to show banks, building societies, insurance companies, solicitors and probate (if required).

The second certificate is used for the Friendly Societies Act and for other statutory purposes.



The registrar should give you a leaflet explaining how to obtain probate if there is a will, or letters of administration. These may not be required if the estate is simple, but for example, you will need them if there is a house to be sold.

If there are any difficulties with legal issues or questions about the estate it is advisable to contact a solicitor or Citizens Advice Bureau.


Arranging the funeral

Planning the funeral is an important part of saying goodbye to your loved one. Making arrangements for a special ceremony will help you to do something positive and this may be a comfort to you.

There are many choices open to you regarding the funeral and burial or cremation. You do not have to use a funeral director and you do not have to hold a formal service; if you do, it can be religious or otherwise. You can choose burial, cremation, woodland burial or other ‘green’ option.

If you would like a funeral director to handle things for you, they will explain all the options available to you. They have a code of practice and you can check whether they belong to a trade association, either the National Association of Funeral Directors, (NAFD), or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, (SAIF). You can ask for an estimate in advance and it’s a good idea to ask several firms to quote.


Help with funeral costs

It may be possible for you to apply for a funeral payment towards the expenses of a simple ceremony.

You may be able to claim a funeral payment from the Department of Work and Pensions if you or your partner are receiving:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Child tax credit which includes an amount higher than the family element
  • Council tax benefit
  • Working tax credit where a disability or severe disability element is included

You can only claim if you are responsible for the funeral expenses and are closely related to the deceased. The following people may be eligible for payments:

  • Spouses, partners or parents
  • Immediate family members
  • Close relatives or friends. Friends are only eligible if there are no other close relatives and it is reasonable for them to accept responsibility for the funeral expenses

Any assets of the deceased will reduce the funeral payment.

You can make a claim up to three months from the date of the funeral. The claim should be made on form SF200 available from your local Jobcentre Plus office or you can download a form at www.gov.uk.


Emotional aspects of bereavement

Bereavement is something that all people will experience at some point in their lives.

Coming to terms with the death of someone close is a very individual process. However, some commonly shared feelings that you may experience are intense sadness, anxiety, agitation, guilt, anger, confusion, relief, fear and disappointment.

You may also find that you have difficulty sleeping, concentrating and making decisions. These feelings and experiences are not unusual.

We each react differently to grief. What is important is that you allow yourself time to grieve in whatever way is right for you.

We offer bereavement support to anyone who was close to the person who has died. This could be family members (including children and grandchildren), carers or friends. Support will be available as long as you need it. For more information phone 01473 727776.


Bereaved children and young people

No child is too young to notice when an important person in his or her life is no longer there.

It is always difficult to share bad news and especially with children, but it is best that they are told. The news should be told by someone whom they love and trust. Use age appropriate language and address the child in a straightforward manner.

Do not be afraid of showing your feelings to your children or sharing your grief with them. This is healthy and normal for both of you.


Other helpful organisations:

CRUSE: National organisation with local branches offering support to bereaved people
Tel. 0808 808 1677 or helpline@cruse.org.uk

Samaritans: National organisation offering telephone support 24 hours 7 days per week.
Tel. 116 123 or jo@samaritans.org

Winston’s Wish: National organisation offering support for bereaved children and young people. Family Line 08088 020 021

Age UK: National organisation offering a variety of services for older people.
Contact 0800 678 1602 www.ageuk.org.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau: National organisation offering advice on wide range of financial/legal matters. Tel 03444 111 444

It is hoped this page is of help to you both immediately and over the next few weeks; it may be useful to keep it somewhere safe in case you need to refer to it again in the coming weeks/months.


What is the cost of this service?

We provide all our services free of charge to patients, families and carers.

The hospice is not part of the NHS but works closely with other service providers including the NHS.

St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent charity and around three quarters of our income comes through fundraising and donations from our local community.


Health insurance

Some health insurance companies state that they will make a donation to a charity of your choice in addition to any claim that you may make personally. If you have a health insurance policy, please check the small print and consider choosing the hospice.


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