What to do when someone dies

Who you need to contact after a death and information regarding arranging a funeral.

Registering a death

If somebody dies at home you will need to contact their doctor. They will confirm the death and issue a certificate stating the cause of death. If somebody dies in hospital, the doctor attending the patient will issue the certificate.

You will need the certificate to register the death with the local registration office where the death occurred. Deaths occurring in Adur and Worthing need to be registered with West Sussex County Council's (WSCC) registry services. Their website (below) gives instructions of what to do, and gives appointment availability when you book an appointment. We understand this is a stressful time, and delays sometimes occur in the registration process.

For more information please see:

Tell Us Once

When someone dies you will need to report the death to several local and central government services and agencies. Tell Us Once is a free and secure government service that allows you to report the death to various government organisations in one go, rather than having to contact them all individually.

For more information please see:

Arranging a funeral

You can either pay for a funeral director to organise a funeral, or you can do it yourself.

Using a funeral director

If you decide to use a funeral director you should choose one who's a member of one of the following organisations, who have a code of conduct and operate a complaint procedure:

A funeral director should provide you with an itemised quote, listing all the costs. You can source quotes from several funeral directors so that you can compare costs. For advice on funeral costs please see:

While we cannot recommend a funeral director, you can contact us for advice on any aspect of arranging a funeral.

If you have a complaint about a funeral director you should contact West Sussex County Council (WSCC) Trading Standards:

Arranging a funeral yourself

You don't need to use a funeral director if you don't want to. Some people find it a comfort to organise a funeral for a loved one themselves and make it a really personal occasion. For advice on arranging a funeral yourself you can contact us.

If you are arranging the funeral yourself, you will also need to arrange for the deceased to be transported to the cemetery or crematorium in a suitable vehicle. The deceased person must be in an appropriate container, usually a coffin, which is clearly labelled with their name and age. If you plan to make your own container please contact us for advice about how this should be constructed and what can be placed in a coffin for a cremation.

You will also need to arrange for bearers to carry the deceased in the coffin (or chosen container) to and from the vehicle and into a chapel or to the grave. If the deceased is being buried, the bearers will also need to lower them into the grave, using lowering straps which will be provided.

Arranging a funeral for a baby

If your baby was born or stillborn in a hospital, the hospital can help you arrange the funeral, or may be able to recommend a funeral director. Or you can choose to find your own funeral director or organise the funeral yourself.


There is no fee for cremation for a child under the age of 18 at Worthing Crematorium. Service times are available morning and afternoon, Monday to Friday, with a full range of facilities in both chapels.

For more information, please see:


There are specific burial sections available at the following cemeteries:

The graves in these cemeteries will accommodate a single burial of a baby, babies or child.

For more information on purchasing a grave for a burial or cremated remains please contact Bereavement Services.

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Page last updated: 20 February 2024

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