Bereavement support & advice
When a loved one passed away it can be a difficult time for the family. If this has affected you may we offer our sympathy to you, your family and friends during this very sad time. In the early days of bereavement there may be lots of questions you want to ask. There are many decisions and arrangements to make in a short space of time, which can be difficult, and we hope that you will find the enclosed information helpful during the next few days. This leaflet is designed to provide practical advice. It gives guidance on who can help and where further information can be found, as well as explaining procedures such as registering a death. The practice will try and attempt to contact you to offer condolences for your loss. You should book an appointment with the Doctor or a staff member if you wish to discuss any aspect of help.
The Death Certificate
The Death Certificate is an official copy of the entry in the death register. You will need copies of the Death Certificate to deal with the deceased’s will, any pension claims, insurance policies, savings accounts, etc. (photocopies will not usually be accepted). You can buy a copy of the Death Certificate from the Registrar. It may be worth asking for two copies or more when you are registering the death, as they are more expensive if you request them later. The Registrar will advise you of how many copies you might need and the cost involved.
If someone dies in the community, i.e. at home or in a Nursing Home, the deceased’s GP will issue the Medical Certificate (of cause of death) directly to the family. Should this be the case, the next of kin should contact the Surgery in the first instance to verify that the Certificate has been completed and make arrangements for its collection.
Registering the Death
A death can be registered by any of the following (in order of preference):-
- A relative of the deceased who was present at the time of death
- A relative of the deceased who was present during the illness
- A relative of the deceased
- A person present at the death
- A person responsible for the funeral arrangements, but this does not mean the funeral director. It must be the relative, friend or legal representative who instructs the funeral director.
When you register a death, you will need to take the following documents with you; the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
If possible also take:
- The deceased’s medical card
- The deceased’s birth and marriage certificate
- Details of the deceased’s pension from public funds, e.g. Civil Service or HM Forces. If you are unable to find the items above, do not worry, the Registrar will still be able to register the death.
You will also need to tell the Registrar:
- The date and place of death
- The deceased’s last address
- The deceased’s first names and surname (and maiden name where appropriate)
- The deceased’s date and place of birth
- The deceased’s occupation (former occupation if retired)
- If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow/widower and, if possible, their full name and occupation.
The Registrar will give you:
- A certificate for burial or cremation (the “Green Form). This gives permission for the body to be buried, or for an application for cremation to be made. You should give this to the funeral director as soon as possible so that the funeral can be held.
- A Certificate of Registration of Death – a white form for social security (Benefits Agency) purposes usually referred to as a BD8.
If the death was investigated by the Coroner you may have been given a Coroners Order for Burial (Form 101) or a Coroners Certificate for Cremation (Form E). Either form supersedes Registrars “Green Form” and should be given to the Funeral Director.
Address - Haringey Civic Centre Mon to Friday 9.30-4.00pm
Ring - 02084892605 (Out of Hours 0208489000 Weekends/Bank holiday)
Arranging the Funeral
You can contact a funeral director of your choice as soon as you wish, so that they can start to make arrangements on your behalf. You can do this even before the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued. It is often a good idea to contact a director who is close to where the deceased lived or someone who has been recommended to you. Consider asking relatives or a close friend to help you make the funeral arrangements as this can be a very difficult time. Most funeral directors are available 7 days a week and they may visit you at home, if desired, to go through arrangements.
As costs vary, it is a good idea to contact more than one funeral director and obtain estimates. Once you have chosen your funeral director, they will:
- Take care of the deceased
- Deal with all the paperwork involved
- Make service arrangements with the church, cemetery or crematorium or both
If you wish to pay your last respects to the deceased, your funeral director will make the appropriate arrangements for you.
The Coroner’s Office
If someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly, the Coroner must investigate the cause. This is necessary under law and it not anything to worry about. For example, some medical conditions and diseases, such as those caused by working conditions, must be reported to the Coroner and will usually investigated. If the death occurs in hospital, a doctor from the hospital will notify the Coroner of the death.
In these circumstances you should still contact a funeral director straight away but you should tell them that the death has been referred to the Coroner. If the death is to be investigated by the Coroner, a post mortem examination may be necessary to find out the exact cause of death. The consent of the relatives or carers is not needed for the Coroner to carry out a post mortem.
Address - HM Coroner’s Court 29 Wood Street Barnet EN5 4BE
Ring - 020 8447 7680
Useful telephone numbers
Citizens Advice 0844 3752712
Coroner’s Office 02084477680
Pension Services 0845 6060265
Probate Services 0800 6126105 (Freephone)
Register Births, Death, Marriages 02084892605
Social Security Information 0845 6060265
War Pension Helpline 0800 169227
If you are finding it hard to cope after a lost in your family or friend or require specialised support or counselling you can now self refer for bereavement counselling. Patients need to be 18 or over. Please complete the online form, ring or email
Ring - Bereavement counselling 0207 263 8884 or 0300 303 0400
At times you may need more than practical support and advice. You may want to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience or someone who is outside your family who can offer a sympathetic ear. There are a number of organisations that can offer comfort and support: