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What to Do When Someone Dies

Knowing what to do when someone dies can help you prepare and avoid further stress when the death occurs. When someone dies, there are several steps that need to be completed within a certain time frame. These include informing the right people and obtaining a medical certificate. Our useful guide will explain some of the most important arrangements that need to be made.

Obtaining a Medical Certificate

Obtaining a medical certificate can differ depending on the circumstances. However, there is no need to worry as we are here to make this process easier. The following options will explain what to do in these different circumstances.

When a Death Occurs at Hospital

If a person dies in hospital, the body will be taken to the hospital mortuary. A doctor will then issue the medical certificate, provided that the death was not subject to unusual circumstances.

mourning woman about to make a phonecall

When a Death Occurs at Home or in a Nursing Home

When a death occurs at home or in a nursing home, you should inform a doctor as soon as possible. They will visit and issue a medical certificate, provided there are no unusual circumstances.

When HM Coroner Becomes Involved

If the death was unexpected or happened under unusual circumstances, you must contact the emergency services as a matter of urgency. If the circumstances surrounding the death mean a doctor cannot issue the certificate, HM Coroner may need to get involved. The body will be transported to the hospital mortuary and often a post-mortem will be requested at this stage. The certificate cannot be issued until the cause of death is identified by the Coroner.

How To Register a Death

A death needs to be registered with the local authority where the death occurred. The registration must take place within 5 days in England and Wales or 8 days in Scotland. When HM Coroner becomes involved, you will need to inform the local authority as soon as possible as it may not be possible to register the death in this timescale.

Once the death is registered and we have received the certificate for burial or cremation, the funeral planning can begin.

last will

Local Somerset Registry Offices


Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9:30 am to 5 pm, Friday: 9:30 am to 4 pm.

Address: The Library, Binford Place, Bridgwater, TA6 3LF.

Phone: 01823 282251


Opening Hours: Tuesday and Friday: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Address: The Old Court House, Jaycroft Road, Burnham-on-Sea, TA8 1LE.

Phone: 01823 282251


Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 2:00 pm.

Address: Glastonbury Library Hub, 1, Orchard Court, The Archers Way, Glastonbury, BA6 9JB.

Phone: 01823 282251

Shepton Mallet

Office Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 4 pm.

Mendip Hub, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT.

Phone: 01823 282251

North Somerset Registry Offices


Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm. Part time office hours.

Address: Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ.

Phone: 01934 888888


Office Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9 am to 2 pm. Fridays: 9 am to 12:30 pm.

Address: Castlewood, Tickenham Road, Clevedon, BS21 6FW.

Phone: 01823 282251

Bristol Registry Offices


Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9 am – 4 pm. Tuesdays: 10 am – 4 pm.

Address: The Old Council House, Corn Street, Bristol, BS1 1JG.

Phone: 0117 922 2800


Address: Southmead Hospital, Brunel Building, Bristol, BS10 5NB. The office is on level 1 at gate 12.

The death must be registered within the district that the person has died, for example if they have passed away at Weston General Hospital, then you will need to register in the North Somerset offices.

Contact Cheddar & District Funeral Directors

If you need more information about what to do when someone dies, contact Cheddar & District Funeral Directors on 01934 742958.

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