When someone close to you has died, it can often come as a shock. Even if the passing was expected, you will likely feel lost in the moments, days, or even months afterwards.

When someone close to you has died, it can often come as a shock. Even if the passing was expected, you will likely feel lost in the moments, days, or even months afterwards.

It is common to feel like you don’t know what to do, or if you can’t think clearly after someone close to you dies. It is normal to feel an overwhelming sense of grief at this time. Unfortunately, this time generally coincides with a period when you are expected to keep going, make decisions and take care of important tasks. 

When someone dies, there are generally a number of things that need to be done. We’ve put together this simple guide to help you through the first steps you need to take after a loved one passes. 

Work through the list one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help if you need it.

1. Death at hospital or nursing home

If your loved one passed at a hospital or care facility, where a doctor was present, the staff will usually do most of the administration tasks on your behalf. They will contact the chosen funeral director on your behalf. Generally, the institution will liaise with the funeral home to arrange the transfer of your loved one. You will usually need to decide on your preferred funeral provider fairly quickly.   

If the deceased was in a larger hospital with a mortuary, they can remain there until arrangements have taken place for collection. On the other hand, if your loved one was in a smaller hospital or nursing home, they do not usually have the facilities to keep them there for an extended period, so they often require collection more quickly. 

Regardless, you have the right to take the time you need to say your final farewell and should be given the time and space to do this.

If a simple, non-attended cremation, is what you feel is the best option for your loved one, the hospital can call us at Bare on your behalf on 0808 258 3583 and we will organise to bring your loved one into our care.

2. Death at home

On the other hand, if your loved one has passed at home, their death needs to be verified by a GP before any funeral provider can take them into their care.

The process of registering a death is slightly different depending on where you live.

In England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, the death needs to be registered within five days of passing. In Scotland, however, you have eight days. 

If there is an ongoing Coronial inquest, it is possible to delay the registration of death.

Where you register the death depends on where the deceased lived at the time of passing. You  must register the death at:

There is no cost to registering the death, however there is a fee to request a death certificate, generally between about £11-15.

To register a death in the UK, you will need the following information about the deceased:

  • Full name including any previous names
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last known address
  • Occupation
  • Full name, date of birth, and occupation of their surviving/late spouse or civil partner, if they were married
  • Medical certificate with the cause of death

It may also be helpful to obtain their birth certificate, a marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable), national insurance number, NHS medical card, and proof of identification such as a driving license, passport, and a bill with their address on it.

You will also need to present identification for yourself, such as your own driving licence or passport.

The process of registering a death can be a tricky one. Our dedicated team is available 24/7 on 0808 258 3583 to help you through the process.

3. Organ donation 

Your loved one may have registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register, which you can check here. If organs are needed for eligible transplant patients, you or the next of kin (if it is not you) may be asked to provide consent for the organs to be donated. Permission will be needed before any procedure is carried out.

Organ donation is time-sensitive, so you will need to act quickly.

4. Funeral arrangements

Your loved one may have already made arrangements for their funeral. If a prepaid funeral plan is in place, you will need to contact the funeral provider to engage their services. 

Alternatively, if they had a funeral bond or funeral insurance policy, contact the company to organise the release of funds for funeral expenses. Unless the funeral bond specifies a particular funeral service provider you are otherwise free to engage any funeral service you wish at this time. Hopefully your loved one has kept documentation of any pre-arrangements for you so you are aware at the time you need them. 

Often such documents are kept with their will so now is the time to take out the will and see if there are any pre-arranged funeral arrangements in place.

If no previous arrangements were made the executor, or if no executor, senior Next of Kin has the authority to make funeral arrangements. Wishes left by a deceased in their will are not legally binding and the executor has the final decision on funeral arrangements. 

It is now time to begin the process of organising a funeral. Here, you need to make some decisions. It is important to consider your options, take your time and do not feel pressured to pay for an expensive funeral because that is what you think you are expected to do. 

At Bare, we believe the first week after your loved one has passed is such an emotionally sensitive time for you. Contrary to what usually happens, and what is traditionally expected, now is not necessarily the best moment for arranging a large and expensive funeral service. That is why we can assist with carrying out the cremation process and at your own time and in your own way, when you are ready you can organise the perfect send-off for your loved one.

5. Look after any dependents or pets

If the deceased was responsible for any dependents or pets, you will need to find someone to look after them temporarily while you sort out a long-term home.

6. Financial entitlement arrangements (Insurance policies, Wills)

If your loved one left a Will, locate it now. A Will is a legal document that your loved one made while living and states how their estate, (property and assets) is to be distributed after their death. 

The executor of the will is responsible for distributing the person’s assets to the people named in the Will. This happens after any debts are paid. But before this can happen the executor must apply to court. It is wise to seek legal advice from a solicitor if you are the executor of a Will to assist with this process.

If the person has not left a Will, the estate is shared under a formula set by law. It is advisable to seek legal assistance about taking the correct procedure for distribution if someone dies leaving assets.

7. Who to notify when someone dies

With all the previous steps in place, you will need to start notifying people and organisations that the deceased had dealings with, if they haven’t already been told. 

The main groups to notify as soon as possible include:

  • Family and friends
  • Employers and housing providers like a landlord, bank or mortgage lender, housing associations and utility providers.
  • Government departments like the Passport Office, HM Revenue & Customs, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Local Council, Department for Work and Pensions, or any other pension scheme.
  • Insurers and creditors, including banks, credit card companies, building societies, insurance companies, pension providers, and any other organisations that either the deceased owed money to, or owed money to the deceased.

Organisations will usually want to see a copy of the death certificate when you contact them to notify of the person’s passing.

8. Financial matters

If the deceased contributed to your household income, their death can drastically change your financial situation. It is important to work out where you stand financially and seek support and financial advice if you need it.

9. Look after YOU

Above all, self-care is important.

The most important things to remember in the first few weeks after your loved one has passed are:

  • Do not feel rushed or pressured into making decisions. Make the right decisions for you, your family, your loved one and your financial situation.
  • Do not feel you have to do everything alone. Call out for help from family, friends or even professionals, like estate lawyers.
  • Above all – look after yourself.  Ensure you are sleeping, eating, taking time out for yourself and taking care of your emotional health.

No matter your grief experience, just remember that you are coping the best you can. Don’t be hard on yourself about how you are navigating the journey.   

To learn more about arranging a simple cremation with Bare, or to get a quote, give us a call on 0808 258 3583.