What to do When Someone Dies: A Guide

Husband comforting wife because of the passing of a loved one

When a loved one passes it can be a terribly confusing, emotional, and overwhelming thing to have to deal with. This guide aims to ease some of those pressures and point you in the right direction of what to do when faced with this difficult task.

Firstly, all grievances are difficult, and we would like to start by saying it will get better. We offer our deepest condolences to anyone this reaches and wish you a speedy recovery mentally and emotionally.

What happens when someone dies

Depending on the nature and location of the death, the after events will be slightly different.

At home

  • Call 999 if the person is struggling. If they have already passed, call 111. A medical professional will need to verify the death. After this, a doctor will be able to issue a medical certificate of death. This will be able to collect from the GP surgery
  • Call a funeral director
  • Register the death. The death will need to be registered within 5 days
  • Start funeral arrangements

In Hospital

  • Call the funeral director to start funeral arrangements
  • Register the death
  • Begin arranging the funeral

In a care home

  • The care home typically will inform the relevant services and notify the family.
  • Call the funeral director
  • Register the death
  • Begin funeral arrangements


  • Contact the relevant authorities (British embassy, etc)
  • Register the death
  • Arrange travel back to the UK
  • Inform the coroner of the death. They will decide if further investigation is required.
  • Start funeral arrangements

Other queries

What does an ambulance do when someone dies?

If an ambulance is called after someone has died, they will usually attempt resuscitation. If this does not work, they will confirm the death. After this, they will either alert the police (if the death is under suspicious circumstances) or transport the body to the relevant place. Typically, this will be to the coroner for inspection.

How to get through a funeral of a loved one?

A funeral is of course an incredibly difficult time and there is no reasonable response to how to cope with the funeral of someone you love. Below we have listed a few tips to help you through.

  • Talk with other family members and try to find a support network to discuss your emotions and deal with them with people who understand.
  • Contacts bereavement support prior to the funeral, such as https://www.cruse.org.uk/
  • Write a letter to get out all your emotions and burn it. This is not for everyone but it can be very cathartic.
  • Do not put too much pressure on yourself. It is a very emotional time, and you are not expected to ‘keep it together or ‘stay strong’. Express all the feelings you feel and understand this will be a hard day.
  • Perhaps have a more celebratory service that looks at the life of the deceased and celebrates their achievements rather than mourning their death.
  • Seek comfort in those going through the same experience.
  • Arrange a support group with close family and friends.
  • Ask a friend or loved one to attend with you for support

What to include in the service?

The funeral service will largely be organised with the help of a funeral director who can help you decide what to include and how the day will go. Some additional things you may want to include might be funeral stationery to add a more personal touch to the service.

Funeral stationery such as an order of service is traditional of a funeral. Funeral order of service templates can be found on our website if you require inspiration and ideas.

Other funeral stationery such as memory boards, welcome boards, bookmarks, attendance cards and announcement cards. Funeral stationery can be a poignant way of adding a personal touch to the funeral service.