When A Death Occurs

The actions that you need to take when a loved one passes away, is dependent on where the death happened.

At Home

When someone passes away at home their GP should be called as soon as possible. The GP will normally visit the house and if the death was expected, should be able to issue a certificate giving the cause of death. If the person did not have a GP or you do not know the name of their GP an ambulance should be called instead.

A doctor is not allowed to issue a certificate if they are unsure about the cause of death. When this happens the death must be reported to a coroner and the body will be taken to a hospital mortuary where a post mortem may need to take place.

In Hospital or Nursing Home

If your relative passes away in hospital staff will contact you, lay out the body and arrange for it to be taken to the hospital mortuary. You will then be asked to arrange for the body to be collected by AXELL-EAMES Funerals and taken back to their chapel of rest. At the same time you will be asked to collect the person’s personal possessions.

Before a death can be formally registered a Doctor will need to issue a medical certificate giving the cause of death. In hospital this is usually done by a hospital Doctor who will hand the certificate to you in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You will also be given a notice explaining how to register the death. If the person has not been seen by a hospital doctor their GP may be able to issue a certificate instead.

In some cases a doctor may not be able to issue a medical certificate of the cause of death. There may be a number of reasons for this. If the doctor is not able to do this then they will refer the death to a coroner. The coroner may order a post mortem examination. You do not have the right to object to this.


You can find out more information about when a death is reported to a coroner on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk.


If a death takes place overseas it must be registered according to the law of that country. The death should also be reported to the Britsh Consul who may be able to arrange for the death to be registered in the UK as well.

Returning the body to the UK is expensive but the cost may be covered by any travel insurance taken out by the person. If the death was on a package holiday then the Tour Operator should be able to help to help with the arrangements.

When the body is returned to the UK, the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the district where the funeral is to take place must be told and will need to issue a certificate before burial can take place. If cremation is to take place the HOME OFFICE also needs to give permission.

IIf the death was not due to natural causes the coroner for the district will also need to be told and an inquest may need to take place.

We fully understand that this is a difficult time for you and that should you require more information we are more than happy to offer advice.