What to do when someone passes away

Unfortunately, death is part of life that we cannot avoid and it will happen to us all one day. Thankfully, in the case of the majority of families, it is not a regular occurrence, but this means that when it does happen, most of us don't know what to do when a family member passes. When it does occur, it is a time of extreme emotional distress and people don't often feel in the right mindset to know what to do. This is why we have outlined some of the most important actions below.

Organ Donation 

If you know that your loved one has signed up to the organ donation register, it's important the doctor is aware as quickly as possible. They should usually ask, but it is important to make it clear. If you aren't aware if your loved one is an organ donor, check their driving licence or wallet as there is usually a card in there that states if they are a donor or not. Alternatively, you can ask a nurse, doctor or local hospital staff the best way to go about finding out.

Obtain a death certificate

A death certificate is something you will need to legally obtain to formally identify the death of a loved one. The date and time on this will be the official time of death. A death certificate is usually signed by a doctor or health specialist, but if one isn't present, you will need to speak to your local hospital or medical practice to obtain one. 

Arrange transportation of your loved one

Once your loved one has passed, you will need to arrange transportation for them to be moved somewhere more suitable. To do this, you need to get in touch with a local funeral home or morgue who can help transport them to their location. If you don't know of any places, you can google them, or if your loved one passed in a hospital, the medical staff should have a list of recommendations. In the case of an autopsy being needed, still make the transportation arrangements, you will just likely need to wait for the autopsy to be complete before the transportation will be facilitated.

Determine who will take care of any dependents

If your loved one had any children or pets, you will need to decide where they will go in the meantime. It could be they stay with you, another family member or another friend while a more permanent solution is decided.

Notify people of their passing 

This can be a very emotional time so it can help if you enlist friends or other family members to help with notifying people that someone has passed. You will need to notify people such as their doctor, family and friends and their employer if they were working at the time of their passing.

Arranging the funeral, cremation or burial

Once your loved one has passed you need to sort out their send-off. This could be a funeral, cremation or burial. It is important to check if your loved one had a living will and any plans that had been paid for ahead of time. If there is no record of this, liaise with other friends and family members to see if they knew what they wanted. If there was no record of anything and they didn't know either, make a joint decision over their send-off. 

If your loved one is being cremated there are many options within this, including scattering their ashes somewhere they used to love. You could also grow a tree burial with a bio urn from Living Urn or keep their ashes indoors in a decorative cremation urn. If they are being buried, there are many headstone options to look into.