Knowing what to do when someone dies at home can be confusing, especially if the death was unexpected. To assist you in this situation, we share the steps to take when someone dies at home, including if the death was expected or not.
If someone dies at home & you expect it - immediate actions to take
What do you do when someone dies at home? If the death is expected, there are specific actions you should take. Here, we reveal what to do when someone dies at home and their passing is expected.
Phone their GP
If the death is anticipated, such as a terminal illness, and occurs during the day, you should phone their GP or ring 111 (the NHS helpline) immediately.
Phone 111 at night
If the death occurs during the night, you should contact the NHS helpline as soon as you can. The person’s GP should then be contacted the following morning.
Medical certificate issued
The GP will then issue a medical certificate of cause of death which confirms the nature of the passing of the person who died.
Register the death
- You need to do this within 5 days of the death taking place if you live in Northern Ireland, England or Wales
- If you reside in Scotland, you have within 8 days of the passing to register it
- You may be required to book an appointment beforehand due to the process taking around 30 minutes
- You’ll need the medical certificate of cause of death alongside two forms of identification for yourself and the person who died
- Once the death has been registered, funeral arrangements can be made
Notify a funeral director
Contact a funeral director as soon as possible to instruct them to take the person into their care.
If someone dies unexpectedly - immediate actions to take
Who do you call when someone dies at home unexpectedly? Here, we’ll discuss the key steps to take.
When a person dies unexpectedly at home, you must phone the Police and Ambulance Services via 999.
- The operator will give you further instructions
- The paramedics will arrive to confirm the death
- If the cause of the death is unknown, you must leave the scene untouched
- The police will arrange for a funeral director to move the body into their care
If the cause of death is unknown, a coroner will be contacted and a post mortem examination or inquest will be held.
Register the death
When a confirmed cause of death has been released, the death should be registered. Once the death has been registered, a Certificate for Burial or Cremation will be sent.
Contact the Funeral Director
Once the certificate has been received, funeral arrangements can then be made.
Steps to take next
Now you know what to do if someone dies at home and the immediate actions to take, you need to consider the next steps.
Begin arranging a funeral
Funeral planning can be an overwhelming experience. The deceased may have had a funeral plan in place and left information on what type of funeral they wanted. If the person died unexpectedly you may need to plan it yourself. In this case, the funeral home can assist you in making the best decisions. You’ll need to consider funeral hymns, a eulogy, and whether a burial or cremation is preferred.
You may require the assistance of professional cleaners after someone has died. This could be the area where the person died, a complete property clean, or even a crime scene cleanup. Regardless of whether the death was expected or not, trained cleaners can be arranged to restore an area back to working order.
Who else to notify when a person dies
When a person dies, different organisations have to be notified of the death as soon as possible. These organisations include:
- Government establishments, such as the UK Passport Agency, HMRC and the DVLA
- Local government departments like council tax and electoral services
Your local area may provide the Tell Us Once service, meaning all these departments are notified all at once. Otherwise, you will have to contact them separately.
Additionally, it’s also essential to contact:
- Insurance providers
- Utility companies
- Health care providers
- Mortgage provider or local housing association/letting agency (depending on whether the person who died owned their own home or rented their property)
We’re on hand to restore homes to working order after a death
Now you’re aware of the steps to take when someone dies at home, you can be certain that you’re following the correct protocol. If you require after death cleaning services, we can assist. Our professional and highly trained cleaners are on hand to help during this difficult period. Please get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.