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What to do when someone dies?



There are various things you’ll need to do when someone dies – some of which will vary depending on where and how they died. Whilst the list may look daunting at an already difficult time, you may be able to get other family members and friends to help out with some things. In addition, we’ll provide as much support and guidance as we can to make things as simple as possible.

When someone dies at home

When someone dies at home, you’ll need to contact their family doctor, who will come to the house as soon as they can. Once they have established a cause of death they’ll issue a Medical Certificate (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, Form 11) – they may not be able to give you this right away, so you might have to collect it from their surgery later.

When someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly

Sometimes a report may need to go to the Procurator Fiscal – please don’t worry if this happens, it is quite common when someone dies suddenly. There are many reasons why a report is sent to the Procurator Fiscal – such as it has been a long time since they had been seen by their doctor. Sometimes the Police may also be brought in, whilst this can be upsetting it is nothing to worry about, it is simply a part of normal procedures.

When someone dies in hospital or in a nursing home

The sister in charge will normally deal with certain things when this happens – for example, they’ll arrange for the Medical Certificate to be issued and let you know when and where to collect it. 

Contact your Funeral Director

You should try to contact your Funeral Director as soon as you can – you can contact us at any time of the day or night, so as soon as you feel able to call us.

When you get in touch with us, we’ll ask you a few questions about you, about the person who has died, their address, date of birth and where they died. You don’t need to have the Medical Certificate to get in touch with us.

Contact the Registrar

Once you have the Medical Certificate you will need to register the death. You cannot hold the funeral until the death has been registered.

For further assistance you can download NHS Shetlands booklet, following the death of a loved one in Shetland by clicking on the picture , or you can download the Scottish Government booklet, what to do after a death in Scotland by clicking on the picture.


What to do after a death in Scotland booklet.jpg
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