End of life

What do I do at the time of death?

If death occurs in a hospital, care home or hospice, the staff will let your family know what they need to do. If death occurs at home, then your family must inform your GP, register the death and contact the funeral director.

Deaths from mesothelioma

Doctors must report some deaths, including mesothelioma, to the coroner.

In England and Wales, the coroner will decide whether a post mortem or inquest is needed and sign the death certificate. Procedures in Scotland and Northern Ireland are different. For more information, call our helpline on 03000 030 555.

What to do after a death In England or Wales, is a useful booklet produced by the Department for Work and Pensions. What to do after a death in Scotland is available if you live in Scotland and there is a checklist relating to deaths in Northern Ireland

Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. When you register a death, the registrar will give you details.

The service is not available in Northern Ireland.

How do I arrange the funeral?

Arranging a funeral, either for yourself or a loved one, may be upsetting, but some people find it plays an important role in adjusting to the end of life and finding closure. Maybe you have already had thoughts about how you want your funeral to be. If so, don’t be afraid to write them down or let someone know what is important to you.

There are many options that include both religious and non-religious ceremonies. The funeral director can guide you through the practical and legal arrangements.

Some people may have taken out a pre-paid funeral plan, or may be entitled to a funeral payment from the Department for Work and Pensions. Similar arrangements apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Life after the death of a loved one

It is normal to have many emotions after the death of a loved one. There is no timetable for what you should feel or when. You may have strong emotions immediately after they die, or you may not experience these emotions until much later on. Or you could feel grief and loss before your loved one dies.

You may want to share your feelings with family and friends but, equally, you may not feel comfortable doing this. Maybe you find it easy to talk to one particular person – don’t be afraid to let them know how you feel.

Your health care team might be able to offer you bereavement support after a loved one’s death. Talk to your doctor and nurse about what services and information are available locally. If you sense that how you are feeling is not right or you are not coping, don’t be afraid to talk to your GP. People often need a little bit more support.

Next: Further information and support >

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Download our end of life PDF (313KB)

Last medically reviewed: March 2018. Due for review: March 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.