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When a death occurs

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The following information is intended to assist you by outlining what is involved. Adur & Worthing Councils do not wish to promote any particular type of arrangement and the information we provide is intended simply to widen the choice when making funeral arrangements.

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Actions to take following a death

If the death occurs at home, contact the General Practitioner (GP) who attended the deceased during the last illness. The GP will confirm the death and issue a certificate stating the cause of death. The GP may give you the certificate straight away or advise you to collect it later from the surgery. If it is known then, that a cremation will be carried out, advise the GP so that the relevant forms will be prepared.

If the death occurs in hospital, normally the doctor attending will issue the certificate to you or via the hospitals administration office.

When a death occurs and the doctor attending is unable to state the cause of death, or where a medical practitioner had not recently attended to the deceased, the Coroner will be informed.

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Registering the Death

The next of kin or the person arranging the funeral must take the certificate issued by the doctor to the 'Registrar of Births and Deaths' within five days of the death.

Most Registrars' operate an appointment system, so telephone your local district office first.

When you register the death, make sure that all the details are given fully and correctly, as it is very difficult getting any changes made later. It is also advisable to obtain extra copies of the death certificate at this time in order to be able to claim the deceased's assets at a later date.

If the Coroner has been involved, and an inquest is to be held, then the Coroner will issue a form to the registrar and allow the Burial or cremation to proceed by issuing a Coroners Order for Burial (white certificate) or issue a 'Form E' for cremation (yellow certificate). When an inquest is not held, the nearest surviving relative can register the death only when the Coroner has confirmed the cause of death to the Registrar.

To find out how to register a death please see:

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Statutory forms

Before any burial can take place, certain forms are required by law to be submitted to the burial or cremation Authority. Please contact us to discuss exactly what is required.

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