What to do when someone dies

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

Our core focus is to provide caring and practical support, advice and guidance, so you and your family have the time you need to consider and decide on the type of funeral service you require for your loved one. Our role is to organise and arrange everything in line with the individual and collective wishes of each family. Having appointed us as your 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 arrange completion of certain official paperwork required by the cremation and burial authorities. 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 (01435-882219 24 hours a day) and one of our team will be able to advise and assist.

In the event of an ‘Expected Death’ at:


Nursing Home / Hospice


In the event of an ‘Unexpected, Sudden, or Unexplained Death’

Registering the Death

Since national Covid regulations were removed by the Government, with effect from 28th March 2022 the method a registering a death has reverted back to the pre-Covid system, with one exception (* see below). Please see below for guidance in making an appointment and how to register a death.

Unless a death has been referred to the Coroner, formal registration of a death should take place within 5 working days with the ‘Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages’ for the county in which the death occurred.

The deceased’s Doctor’s Surgery, or Bereavement Team in a Hospital or Hospice, will electronically send the ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’ (‘MCCD’) once produced directly to the appropriate Registry Office. (* unlike pre-Covid registration you are now NOT required to collect this document to take with you when you register).

You will need to pre book an appointment to go to the Registrar’s office to formally register a death. (Registration by telephone is no longer permitted)

Telephone 03000 41 51 51

Register a death – Kent County Council

Telephone 0345 60 80 198


Persons Qualified and Liable to Register a Death include:-

  1. A relative of the deceased
  2. A person who was present at the death
  3. An administrator from the hospital or nursing home where the person died
  4. A person arranging the funeral with the funeral director.

When registering the Registrar will request the following:-

  1. Date and place of death
  2. Full name and surname (and maiden name if the deceased was a woman who had married).
  3. Date and place of birth
  4. Occupation of deceased
  5. Address of usual place of deceased’s residence
  6. Information regarding if deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds.
  7. If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower.

Following registration the Registrar will email a ‘Certificate for Burial or Cremation’ (known as the ‘GREEN FORM’) direct to the Funeral Director. This form is the legal documentation required, which is ultimately submitted by your appointed funeral director to the crematorium or church/cemetery authorities, prior to the funeral service taking place.

Copies of the Death Certificate may also be purchased and provides proof of the death for legal purposes. These reasons may include accessing pension benefits, dealing with bank accounts and investments, claiming life insurance and settling an estate.

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.