If the Death Occurs in Hospital
If the death occurs in hospital, the hospital staff will contact the person named by the deceased as next of kin. This may be, but need not be a relative. You may, if you wish, request to see the hospital chaplain. The hospital will keep the body in the hospital mortuary until the executor arranges for it to be taken away.
Most funeral directors have a chapel of rest in which the deceased will be held pending the funeral. The hospital will arrange for the nearest relative to collect the deceased's possessions.
If the Death Occurs Elsewhere
If the death was expected, contact the doctor who attended the deceased during their final illness. If the doctor can certify the cause of death he or she will give you the following:
- A Medical Certificate that shows the cause of death (this is free of charge and will be in a sealed envelope addressed to the registrar).
- A Formal Notice that states that the doctor has signed the Medical Certificate and tells you how to get the death registered.
You may wish to contact the deceased's minister of religion if you have not already done so. Arrangements for the funeral may be made by a funeral director.
If the death followed illness from HIV or AIDS there may be special rules about handling the body.
The Terence Higgins Trust can advise on funeral arrangements.