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In Time of Need

When someone dies there are many decision and arrangements to be made. Unfortunately these often have to be made at a time of personal distress. this section gives you help and guidance about what to do from the moment of a person's bereavement.

For example, you will have to get a Medical Certificate showing the cause of death registered, arrange the funeral and decide what to do with the property and possessions.

An appointment time will be given to collect personal belongings and the Medical Certificate of Death.
The Medical Certificate of Death should then be taken to the local registrar. The death must be registered in the district where the death took place.

Also needed are:-
  • The Medical Certificate of Death.
  • The Deceased's Medical Card.
  • Details of the Deceased (i.e. Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Maiden Name).
The registrar will then:-
  • Register the Death.
  • Issue the Green Form (for the Funeral Director).
  • Issue the D.S.S. booklet
The Doctor may not be able to issue a Medical Certificate of Death and will inform the Coroner if:-
  • Death was sudden, violent, or caused by an accident.
  • Death was caused by an industrial disease.
  • Death occurred while the patient was undergoing an operation or was under the effect of anaesthetic.
    ( The Coroner is a doctor or lawyer responsible for the investigation of certain deaths.)
The Coroner may:-
  • Arrange for a Post Mortem examination. The consent of relatives is not needed for this, but they can choose a doctor to be present. It may be important to know the cause of death accurately.
They will then:-
  • Issue a Pink Form for the Registrar of Births and Deaths, if the Post Mortem shows the death was due to natural causes.
Only the Coroner can:-
  • Give permission for a funeral to take place outside England and Wales.
  • Give on request, a letter confirming the fact of death for Social Security and Insurance Benefit purposes if his enquiries are likely to take some time.
Hold an inquest if the death was:-
  • Violent.
  • Caused by an accident.
  • If, after Post Mortem examination, the cause of death remains uncertain.
Planning the funeral
It will need to be decided if the deceased is to be buried or cremated. This lies with the family or the executor.

Funerals can be expensive, so it is a good idea to contact at least two Funeral Directors to compare arrangements, facilities and cost. A simple funeral will not cover such things as church or cremation fees, flowers or notices in the local paper.

When the funeral Director has been chosen, he will require the Green Form issued by the registrar. The Funeral Director will help with all the arrangements.

If there is any difficulty with the deceased person's property, possessions, or guardianship of their children, advice is available from a solicitor or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Other things to be done
Here are some examples of the kind of things which may have to be done. It is NOT a comprehensive list.
  • Inform their family Doctor.
  • Inform any Hospital they were attending.
  • Inform the Local Health Authority who may also have loaned nursing equipment.
  • Inform the Social Services Department if they have supplied Meals on Wheels/Home Help, etc.
  • Inform the Inland Revenue if they were receiving any tax allowances.
  • Inform Gas, Electricity, Water and British Telecom.
  • Inform community Charge Office.
  • Contact the bank to stop all payments of Direct Debits, Standing Orders, etc immediately.
You should return with note of explanation:-
  • Order books, payable orders, or Giro cheques to the Social Security Office. This applies to Child Benefit books which include payment for a Child who has died.
  • Car registration documents, for the change of ownership to be recorded and the deceased's Driving Licence to the D.V.L.C., Swansea, SA99 TBN.
  • The deceased's Passport to the Passport Office for your area. The address is at the Post Office. Any season ticket for any refund overdue, Membership cards for clubs and associations, library books, tickets, T.V. licence, etc.
The help that is available
Everyone feels grief. It is a natural reaction to the death of someone we love. We should all feel free to express our feelings and work through them. There are many people around who can help, e.g Doctor, Priest or Minister. There are also many organisations and self help groups, please see the Helpline Page for contact details.
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