What To Do When Someone Dies
Contacting a funeral director is a priority when a person dies. At Fosters we operate a 24-hour service, 365 days a year. We’re here to provide practical help and advice at a difficult time for you and your family.
Below you’ll find all the information you need about registering a death. If you’d like to talk with a member of our expert team please call us on 0800 121 8090.
When a death occurs at home
When a person has been ill for some time and their death was expected it is advised to contact their doctor who will visit the home and certify the death. They will also determine the cause of death.
If it is the middle of the night, or the doctor is in surgery then call 999. The police will visit the home and organise for a police doctor to certify the death. Only once the doctor has signed legal paperwork can the deceased be released into the funeral directors care.
Later that day or the next, the doctor will issue relatives with a ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’, known as Form 11. This contains a list of who can register the death at the local Registry Office and what information the registrar will require.
If you are uncertain whether someone is dead then call the doctor or dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. If the cause of death cannot be determined then the doctor will refer the death to The Procurator Fiscal to decide whether a post mortem will be required.
When a death occurs at hospital
If a death occurs in hospital without relatives present, the next of kin will be notified by the nursing staff as soon as possible. Arrangements can then be made with the hospital Administrative staff to deal with any legal formalities such as collecting:
- a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (issued by a hospital doctor)
- any personal possessions of your relative
If it is proposed to have a burial service, the deceased can be released into the funeral directors care immediately. (within hospital mortuary hours.)
If it is a proposed cremation the hospital will have to complete a cremation document, this involves two doctors signing this document to confirm cause of death. This is often not an immediate action. It is essential that the doctor who cared for the deceased during their last illness signs the first part of the document, however we may have to wait until the doctor is back on their shift.
When a death occurs elsewhere
If death occurs away from home then the initial formalities detailed above will be completed by the doctor or hospital staff in that location.
Relatives who wish to bring the body home for the funeral can rely on Fosters to take care of all the arrangements, including transportation. Should a death occur abroad then please speak to our staff who can advise on the options available.
Registering a Death
How to register a death with the Registry Office in Scotland.
Once the Doctor or Hospital has issued the Medical Certificate (Form 11), the Next Of Kin or Applicant must register the death within 8 days at the Registry Office anywhere in Scotland. Please note that some offices may wish you to make an appointment.
The person registering the death will be asked for the following information about the deceased:
- Date and place of death.
- Full name and usual address. (and maiden name if applicable)
- Date and place of birth.
- Occupation. (and name and occupation of her husband if applicable)
- Usual address and full name of the Next Of Kin / Applicant.
A Death Certificate can then be obtained on payment of the prescribed fee. This certificate will be needed for closing bank accounts and making claims on insurance policies.
The Registrar will issue you with:
- A white document (Form 14) required by the funeral director for Burial or Cremation.
- An abbreviated Death Certificate which is issued free of charge. (If you require a full Death Certificate there is a charge, the current fee is £10 per document. Sometimes family wish to purchase more than one, for banks, insurance companies etc.)
- You will also be given a special document which is for Social Security purposes to cancel the payment of pensions and allowances.