What to do when someone dies

We are very aware many people may have never arranged a funeral service before and at a time of loss most will naturally feel very vulnerable and completely out of their depth. As the appointed funeral director we can help to make matters more straightforward, less stressful and upsetting by gently outlining the many options available; offering practical help; thereby taking very seriously the trust you have placed with us.

Our core service is to provide caring and practical support, advice and guidance, so you have the time you need to think and decide on the type of funeral service you require. Our role is to organise and arrange everything in line with the individual and collective wishes of each family. Once you have appointed us as your preferred funeral director, the first step is for us to bring the person who has died into our care, either from their home, care home, hospice, or hospital. Everyone who is brought into our care is looked after at our own premises in Burwash or Heathfield.

Every family we meet is uniquely different in what they require. When you are ready, we go through your wishes as to the funeral arrangements and to discuss a number of points with you, either at our offices, or if getting to us is difficult, we can visit you at home (once Covid regulations permit). If there are aspects of the funeral service the family may wish to undertake themselves; such as bearing the coffin, to preparing the service sheets, or taking the service, then we are totally flexible and our services are tailored to meet the individual needs of each family we look after.

What should I do when death occurs?

This information is for guidance only, however whatever the situation if you are unsure in anyway as to what you should do next please contact us immediately and one of our team will be able to advise and assist.

In the event of an ‘Expected Death’ at …


Nursing Home


If death occurs in a hospital, the Doctors and Nurses will liaise with the hospital Bereavement/Patient Affairs Office, who will arrange all the appropriate paperwork on your behalf. You should notify the Bereavement/Patient Affairs Office Team which funeral director you have appointed and once the formalities have been completed, they will notify the funeral director when it is appropriate to collect the deceased.

In the event of an ‘Unexpected or Unexplained Death’

If a death is unexpected or unexplained please dial 999 and request an ambulance and police immediately, explaining the circumstances. In the event of an unexpected death occurring HM appointed Coroner will become involved and may order a post-mortem to be carried out to establish an accurate cause of death. The coroner’s officer will keep you informed should this be the case and will also liaise with us.

Please note that the registration of death process in the event of an unexpected death is different to that of an expected death and therefore it is best to talk to one of our team, who will explain the different possible scenarios, depending on the individual circumstances at that time.

Registering the Death

Please note that due to the ongoing Covid pandemic since March 2020 the process of registering a death has been different to previously. Our experienced team will guide you carefully through each part of what you need to do, however the majority of the registration process is now done electronically to avoid families having to make unnecessary journeys.

Who can register?


Call the Registry Office to make an appointment, please do not turn up, as the Registrar will not be able to see you.  The following documents may be needed:

Information Required to Register

The Registrar will ask for the following information:

The Registrar will then issue a Green Form which they will email directly to the Funeral Director to progress with the funeral arrangements.

Where can I register the death?

Please click here to find contact details of your local Registrar’s Office. Please note that ALL registrations are currently processed over the telephone, with no visits being made to the Registrar.

How soon can the funeral take place?

In most cases you should allow 10-15 working days to make all the funeral arrangements and notify family and friends. Our advice is not to rush and for families to try to take time in getting everything sorted, at what is of course an incredibly difficult period in anyone’s lives.  At certain times of the year seasonal factors may also directly influence the time in which cremations, in particular, can take place, which may result in a longer than normal period before the funeral can take place. Either way, we will endeavour to work to your timescales and we will support and advise you in your decisions right through the process.