What to do after a bereavement

We are extremely sorry for your loss and appreciate this is an incredibly difficult time for you.

However, due to the exceptional circumstances we are experiencing, we need to share some important information with you, your family and friends.

We know that this may be distressing for those who are grieving, but it is vitally important for the safety of everyone. We ask that you take the time to read this leaflet and follow carefully the instructions that will explain what is going to happen next.

This information is designed to give details about the next steps, answer some of your questions and signpost you to the extra help and support that is available.

We want to support you whilst ensuring practical arrangements are put in place to see your loved one is treated with dignity and respect. We will also explain to you the legal aspects that need to take place.

Please know that we are working with leaders from all the major faith groups and community leaders who are supporting the processes set out here.

Registering a death

To obtain a death certificate, the death of your loved one needs to be registered.

The doctor who certified the death in hospital will either sign a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) or, where the circumstances are not clear, refer to the Coroner. The completed MCCD will be emailed to the registrar along with your contact details.

You do not need to visit the register office in person. To register the death, you will need to visit the council website and book an appointment to be contacted by phone:

Once you have booked your appointment, the register office will then contact you by telephone to arrange the registration of the death, and arrange for any death certificates to be sent to you by post

The register office will then contact you by telephone to arrange the registration of the death, and arrange for any death certificates to be sent to you by post.

They will also issue the green certificate for burial or cremation form, and forward this electronically to the funeral director so that everything is in place for you to arrange the funeral.

Preparing for the funeral

If you have a nominated funeral director to collect your loved one, they will contact you to arrange the funeral. Funerals must take place as soon as possible, usually in a matter of days, after you loved one dies.

Attendance at funerals must be limited to those from within the household or close family, for example a partner, children, parents and siblings.

Where no family members exist then a small number of friends can attend. At all times you must be guided by your funeral director.

Reference numbers

Making a note of the hospital reference number and unique identification number will help when you speak to the funeral director.

Please keep these details safe and have them to hand when the funeral director calls.

What happens next

Your loved one will be taken to the mortuary before funeral plans can be arranged.

After your loved one’s death you will need to contact the funeral director that you wish to use. You’re asked to do this without delay and you can find an industry-inspected one via:

Once you’ve chosen a funeral director your loved one will be collected from the hospital and taken to a funeral parlour or a mortuary. This may be near your home or a different location in London.

If your loved one is taken to a mortuary it will not be possible for you to visit or spend time with them. This is to keep you and those around you safe and well.

If your loved one is taken to a funeral parlour you can speak to your funeral director about arranging visiting, dressing and any religious observances.

Your funeral director will work with you to make the final arrangements for your loved one.

Bereavement support

We understand that losing a loved one can feel overwhelming, especially if the death was sudden, untimely and unexpected.

There are a number of organisations who can support you and your family during this distressing time.


Cruse is a national bereavement organisation that has a helpful website which addresses many aspects of bereavement during this time.

Via your local council

Local bereavement services have moved to telephone support only, but are still open.

Other resources

Once again, please accept our sincere condolences for your loss.

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