Dying At Home

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What To Do When Someone Dies At Home

When someone dies at home whether expectedly or unexpectedly, it can be a difficult time for all those involved which is why we’ve created this guide to help you through the process.

What do you do when someone dies at home expectedly?

When someone dies at home expectedly, you should call their Doctor (G.P). In most instances when someone dies at home and it is expected by those closest to them, the GP will issue a Medical Certificate for the cause of death. Your funeral director will then be able to advise you on registering a death and what the next steps will be.

What do you do when someone dies at home unexpectedly?

When someone dies at home unexpectedly, the first thing you need to do is call 999 and ask for police and ambulance services immediately. If the death is unexpected, there is a possibility the death will be followed by a coroner’s inquest (determine how, when and where the person died). When the death is unexpected, you won’t be able to register the death until the coroner has confirmed the cause of death which may lead to a delay in the funeral, but your funeral planner will be able to guide you through this process.

What else do you need to think about?

When someone has died in their home and the cause of death has been confirmed by a GP or coroner, you will then need to register their death. You must register a death within five days if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and within eight days if you are in Scotland. Once the death has been registered, you will receive a Certificate for Burial or Cremation and the next steps will be guided by your funeral director.

If You’re Unsure On What To Do

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A Timeline of Events – What to do when someone dies at home

Each death should be treated individually, but you can take the timeline below as a guideline.

DAY 1:
Obtain a medical certificate of cause of death

As soon as someone dies at home, you should call a doctor/GP – they’ll be able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and will be on hand to answer any initial questions you may have.

You will then need to find a local funeral director, and arrange for the deceased to be collected and brought into their care.

DAYS 2-5:
Register the death

You must register the death in the country where your loved one has passed. You’ll need to find a register office in the area where the death occurred and make an appointment.

You’ll also need to bring certain documents with you, such as the deceased’s passport and Birth Certificate.

DAYS 5-8:
Make funeral arrangements

You should then begin making funeral arrangements with your chosen funeral director. You’ll need to consider the type of funeral, coffin, travel arrangements, and other details such as flowers and readings.

DAYS 8+:
Deal with the estate

If your loved one left behind a will, the named ‘executor’ will deal with the estate. If there isn’t a will, a relative will be appointed as an ‘administrator’ in order to deal with this.

How Can A.H. Freemantle Help?

Whether you would simply like advice for when someone dies at home, or a director to administer all the arrangements on your behalf, at A H Freemantle we have the experience and expertise to guide you through this difficult time. Established in 1856, we are an independent family run firm, owned and managed by John Freemantle.

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I would like to thank both James and Jane for the courtesy and respect shown to me and my family. They appreciated the tragic circumstances and were able to guide us gently through the Church service and subsequent committal at Wessex. You were as a company stars that day, showing us the way.

Brian Stoker

James was incredibly understanding and dealt with a difficult situation with care and attention. Nothing was too much trouble.

Tim Quinlan

Although my review is simplistic it comes from the heart. Without A H Freemantle's Park Gate & Titchfield offices I could never have got through what was and always will be my darkest hour. Thank you for looking after my beautiful mother, Gwen. Special thanks to Jane and Dawn. And thank you Jane for recommending the wonderful Rev. Boggust. My brothers, sister, and myself will always remember the kindness, respect, and compassion shown by all at A H Freemantle.

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Sarah's kindness, genuine warmth, understanding of the personal character of how people say goodbye to a loved one, and inclusive approach, together with her knowledge and professionalism made me feel 'held' throughout the process of organising and being at my mum's funeral. It made such a difference at a difficult time. Highly recommend this company to anyone.


Extremely kind & considerate. Very professional. I felt supported throughout a very difficult process. Jane was fantastic, sensitive and caring and made me feel that she truly understood and cared about us all.

Jill Spence

James and the team at A H Freemantle did the most fantastic job for us when my brother died suddenly and unexpectedly. They were very clear about the things I had to make a decision on - not there and then but in my own time - but they also completely took over and seamlessly managed all those other things that have to be booked and paid for. They also gave me great advice about how to handle the things I needed to handle. They contributed hugely to giving my brother the send off that he deserved and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend A H Freemantle to anyone else when that time comes and you need a funeral director.

Kevin Briscoe

I can’t praise Claire at the Botley branch enough, who looked after my husband’s funeral. She was very professional, but more than that she was kind, caring, and nothing was too much trouble. Going above and beyond, which made this very difficult time so much more bearable for my family and I.

Nicola Abbott

Having had experience with this company earlier in the year they were the natural choice when my wife died. Clair was absolutely brilliant from the initial enquiry and compassionately and clearly explained the whole process. Nothing was too much trouble and the whole range of options clearly laid out and explained. We really didn’t have to do anything ourselves. I would gladly recommend when the the time comes to anyone else.


James and his team were extremely kind, thoughtful ad professional. As a family we appreciated the help and advice that was given.


From my first phone call to the completion of the funeral the staff at A H Freemantle gave outstanding service. They were professional and compassionate, taking time to listen to our requests and discuss the options. They made a difficult time easier and I knew I could trust them absolutely with the arrangements.


James and the team really are who you need by your side when you are facing your most challenging times in life. I've been in need of the services of A H Freemantle twice in a year having lost both my mother and father. Honestly I couldn't recommend them enough, at such a challenging time they really did do everything to make it as bearable as possible. I can not recommend James and the team enough, they were truly incredible from start to finish.