The loss of a loved one can be a hugely difficult time. The practicalities of what happens when someone dies are something most of us don’t even want to think about and taking the first steps after someone dies is daunting.
To make it easier, we have created a short description of the procedures that happen after someone dies. You might find it helpful to print this page out.
Obtaining a Death Certificate in Suffolk
The procedure is slightly different depending on where someone has died. Our comprehensive article on When Someone Dies talks about this in more detail but isn’t Suffolk-specific.
If the death occurs at home, the first point of contact should be a doctor. They will talk you through what happens next and provide you with a medical certificate stating the cause of death, along with a document outlining who is eligible to register the death. If your loved one is in a nursing home, the doctor will likely already have been called.
In some rare cases, the doctor will send a report of the death to the Suffolk coroner’s office who will decide whether or not there will be an inquest. The coroner’s office will be able to give you instructions regarding registering the death if this is the case.
- Address: The Coroner's Court and Offices, Beacon House, Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, IP1 5PB
- Telephone: 0345 607 2040
Opening times are Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 4:00pm (closed weekends and bank holidays)
Registering a Death in Suffolk
When the doctor gives you the medical certificate, they will also provide information about who is eligible to register the death – which must be done within five days.
You can visit the Suffolk County Council website to book an appointment online, or call your district’s register office using their contact details. You won’t be able to book an appointment online if 5 days have passed and so you will need to call your register office. Please note that if the death has been reported to the Coroner, you won’t be able to register a death until advised to do so by the Coroner’s office.
You can find out more about who can register a death, what you need to bring and what you’ll receive when you register from our advice page.
Suffolk County Council also runs an optional service called Tell Us Once which will notify most government services for you, instead of you having to tell each individual service one by one.
Tell Us Once will notify:
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- DVLA and the Passport Office
- The Local Council
Tell Us Once will also notify some public sector pension schemes. For a full list of who Tell Us Once is able to contact on your behalf and what you need to provide to register, visit the government’s website.
Managing the Estate
When someone dies, it’s important to locate their will as it might include their wishes for how they want to be laid to rest and whether they put any money aside to be put towards fulfilling these wishes. Usually the will is held by their solicitor, but copies may also be with family members.
Visit our page on Legal Advice in Suffolk for more guidance on what to do.
Arranging a Funeral in Suffolk
After you have checked the will for any special requests, such as burial or cremation, you will have decide whether you want to use a funeral director to help you organise your farewell. Funeral directors are often used as they can ease the planning of all the personal aspects of the day.
We have listed three directories to help you find a funeral director best suited for you:
Organisations to Contact in Suffolk
If you have decided to use Tell Us Once, then you won’t need to contact most government services. However, you will still need to notify a number of organisations to close down accounts, cancel insurances, subscriptions and payments, etc.
- Company pensions/personal pension providers
- Banks and building societies (including joint accounts)
- Company registrars of shareholdings
- Credit card companies
- Doctor’s surgery, hospital and dentist attended by the deceased
- Insurance companies
- Loan companies
- Mortgage provider
- Housing association, landlord, local authority
If you have decided not to use Tell Us Once you will also need to contact all the government services they would normally contact on your behalf.