What to do when someone dies

Learn the practical steps you need to take and find links to more advice and support for after a death.

If someone close to you dies, you could find yourself with new kinship care responsibilities. It’s not a situation anyone likes to think about, or even prepare for. This guide helps you deal with the practical side of bereavement.

Tell family and friends

Telling family and friends that someone has died is difficult and overwhelming. You could share the burden and ask other close family members to help you break the news. You don’t have to tell everyone at the same time.

Register the death

You need to register the death within five days (eight days in Scotland). You will need to share certain personal details for the person who has died with the registrar as well as official documents. You’ll get a certificate for burial or application for cremation, which you will need to arrange the funeral.

The registrar will want to know:

  • the official cause of death
  • the person’s full name, including any previous names
  • their date and place of birth
  • their last address
  • their occupation
  • the full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse or civil partner, if they were married.

You will need to bring the death certificate to show the registrar. You should also bring any official documents belonging to the person who has died, including:

  • passport
  • NHS medical card
  • proof of address
  • national insurance number
  • driving licence
  • pension details

You should bring along your own identification too – a passport or driving licence.

Visit GOV.UK to see the kind of financial help you may be entitled to

Find a registry office (GOV.UK)

Arrange the funeral

You can arrange the funeral yourself or use a funeral director to arrange the funeral. The person who has died may have had a pre-paid funeral plan.

The person who has died may have left instructions for a burial or cremation. They may have requested a religious ceremony or a civil funeral. Costs vary depending on the type of funeral the person had in mind. Funeral directors can take care of everything, which some people prefer, but it can be costly, as you are paying for a service.

Find an independent funeral director

Other sources of help

Visit the Humanist Society website for information on arranging non-religious funerals.

Contact your local council for information on funerals, burials and cremation.

Money Helper has a useful guide to the costs of arranging a funeral.

Visit GOV.UK for a step-by-step guide to dealing with a death.

Support from Kinship

Here at Kinship, we offer a range of free support for all kinship carers, including workshops, online advice and information, and peer support groups.

Contact our advice service to speak to an adviser or book an appointment.