What happens when someone dies

When Someone Dies

24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Step 1. Where has it occurred and what to do? -
Step 2. The Coroner -
Step 3. Registering the Death -



Where has it occurred and what to do?

If the Death Has Occurred at Home (and Is Expected)

Contact the deceased's GP's surgery and a GP will come and verify the death. A community nurse may also be able to verify the death. You may then contact us to take the deceased into care. If there is no coroner involvement - please see below - the GP will issue a medical certificate of cause of death, which you can collect from the surgery and will need to take with you when you go to register the death.

If the Death Has Occurred at Home (and Is Unexpected)

Dial 999 for an ambulance, and they will guide you through the next steps. As death was unexpected, the police will be called, and they must report the death to the coroner. Once death has been verified, the coroner will call his chosen funeral directors who will take the deceased to the hospital mortuary. We must then await further instructions from the coroner.

If the Death Has Occurred at a Hospice or Nursing Home

If there is no coroner involvement - please see below - a GP or a qualified member of staff will verify the death. They will then contact us to take the deceased into our care. The medical certificate of cause of death will be issued by the GP and the staff at the hospice/nursing home can tell you when it is completed and where to collect it from.

If the Death Has Occurred in Hospital

If there isn't any coroner involvement, the bereavement office will be able to tell you how the medical certificate of cause of death will be issued. When the certificate is ready, they will make an appointment with you, so you can go along and collect it. Each hospital requires certain paperwork to be completed before we are permitted to bring the deceased into our care. We will always advise you accordingly.

If the Death Has Occurred Elsewhere

If the death occurred in an area away from home, the local GP/hospital/coroner will attend to the required paperwork. The registering of the death must be carried out in the district where the death occurred. If the deceased is to be returned home for the funeral to take place, we will organise transportation and all necessary arrangements. This also applies to if the death occurred abroad.

If the Death Occurred Abroad

In certain circumstances, the medical certificate of cause of death cannot be issued by the hospital or GP and the death must be reported to the coroner, usually by the Funeral Director.



The Coroner

The Coroner's Involvement

The coroner may decide that death was natural and allow a doctor to issue the medical certificate of cause of death. If not, the coroner may decide a post-mortem examination is needed to determine the cause of death. A death will be reported to the coroner when:

The Cause of Death is Not Known
The Deceased Was Not Attended by a Doctor during their Final Illness
Death Was Sudden and Unexplained
The Doctor Treating the Deceased Had Not Seen Them in the 14 Days prior to Death or After Death
Death Occurred During an Operation or Before the Person Came Out of Anaesthetic
The Death Was Caused by an Industrial Injury or Disease
Death Was Violent, Unnatural, or Occurred under Suspicious Circumstances
The Death Occurred as a Result of Violence, Neglect, Abortion, or Any Kind of Poisoning

Death Due to Natural Causes

If the post-mortem examination shows that death was due to natural causes, the coroner will send the necessary paperwork directly to the register office. If the coroner decides to hold an inquest, the death cannot be registered until after the inquest has been completed. They will, however, issue you with an interim death certificate that will be accepted by most banks and building societies. The coroner will also issue the funeral director with the necessary forms for the funeral to take place.

Further Details

Once the coroner has made one of the above decisions, he/she will inform you and advise you of the next steps. When the coroner is satisfied that no further examinations are required, he/she will give permission for us to take the deceased into our care.



Registering the Death

The death must be registered in the district register office where the death occurred. They use an appointment system, so please arrange this by telephone. The below lists who can register a death:

A Relative of the Deceased, Present at Death
A Relative of the Deceased, in Attendance during the Last Illness
A Relative of the Deceased Residing or Being in the Sub-District Where Death Occurred
A Person Present at the Death
The Person Responsible for the Funeral Arrangements (but Not the Funeral Director)
The Occupier of the Premises Where Death Occurred

The Registrar's Requirements

This includes the medical certificate of the cause of death. If the death was reported to the coroner, this will have been sent directly to the registrar. Also, if available, take the following:

Driving Licence
The Deceased's Medical Card
The Deceased's Birth Certificate
The Deceased's Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate (If Applicable)

The registrar will also require the following information:

The registrar will also require:

The Date and Place of Death
The Deceased's Last Address
The Deceased's Full Name and Surname (and Maiden Name Where Applicable)
The Deceased's Date and Place of Birth (the Birth Certificate is Helpful but not Essential )
The Deceased's Occupation (or Last Occupation if Retired)
The Full Name, Date of Birth, and Occupation of their Spouse or Civil Partner (If Applicable)
Whether the Deceased Was Receiving a Pension or Any Other Benefits

The registrar will give you:

A Certificate of Burial or Cremation (Green Form): This should be given to us as soon as possible.
A Certificate of Registration of Death (Form BD8): This may need to be sent to the social security office if the deceased was receiving state pension or any other benefits.
The Death Certificate (or Death Entry): This is a copy of the entry in the death register. You may need more than one copy for the will, insurance policies, bank, and private pension schemes. These are available, but there is a charge for each copy.
Registration by Declaration: If the deceased was a visitor to the area or if you, their relative, do not live locally, then you may register the death by declaration at your local register office. However, the paperwork will still need to be processed between your local registrar and the registrar where death occurred.

This will cause a delay in you receiving the certificates required to go ahead with the funeral arrangements, so this must be considered when planning a date for the funeral.

List of Contacts

For any other information or advice, please call:


Liverpool Direct - 0151 233 3004
Prescot Registrars - 0151 443 5210
St. Helens - 01744 546789
Sefton - 0151 934 2011/2012/2013


Whiston - 0151 934 2746
Liverpool - 0151 233 5770
Southport - 0151 934 2746
Warrington - 01925 442476
You can also call us on