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What to do when someone dies

When you contact us, we will guide you through the process of coping with a bereavement and are on call 24-hours a day to provide advice and assistance.  

Taking your loved one into our care

Once a medical practitioner has confirmed the death at home or in a nursing home, we aim to be with you within one hour of you contacting us, during the day or at night.  On initial contact we will ask for your details and details of the person who has passed away before arranging a suitable time to bring your loved one into our care.  If your loved one has passed away in hospital, we will make arrangements to bring them into our care at the earliest opportunity and arrange a suitable time to meet and discuss the funeral arrangements, either in your own home or at one of our branch offices.

Some families choose to provide us with their loved one’s own clothing, or we can provide a traditional white robe, and an appointment can be arranged to visit our Chapel of Rest to pay your last respects, should you wish to do so. This is an entirely personal decision – some people find it helpful to spend time with their loved one, while others would prefer to remember them in their own way.

Registration of the death

Once you have collected the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death from the GP surgery or hospital, you will be required to register the death within eight days. However, there may be a delay in the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death being issued if the case has been referred to the Procurator Fiscal and a post-mortem is required.

An appointment must be made with the Registrar and the death can be registered by any person who is familiar with the details of the deceased at any registry office in Scotland. You will need to take the following documents to your appointment:

• Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (Form 11)

• Birth Certificate of the deceased

• Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificate of the deceased (if applicable)

The Registrar will give you the Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) which you should return to us immediately, as this is required for burial or cremation to take place.  There may be a delay of up to three working days if the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is randomly selected for a review.  The funeral arrangements cannot be confirmed until the funeral director receives the Form 14.

Registration of a death is free of charge and you will be issued with an abbreviated copy of the death certificate. It will cost £10 each to order any full copies of the death certificate, which you will require for any insurance policies etc. The Registrar can also cancel the passport and driving licence and can contact any government agencies regarding any benefits or the state pension on your behalf.

Consult a solicitor

The executor should gather together the deceased’s paperwork and contact the appointed solicitor, if necessary, as soon as possible to deal with the estate (the money, property and possessions left by the deceased person). The solicitor can advise on the payment of debts and distribution of the estate to those entitled. The will should also be consulted for any instructions regarding the funeral arrangements.


Continue Reading – Making the funeral arrangements