What do I need to do first?

What do I need to do first?

Many people feel lost or unsure of what to do following a bereavement.

Whether it's contacting a Funeral Homeletting people know about the death, arranging a funeral or even trying to understand the legal aspects - it can be a very difficult and confusing time.

De Gruchy's Funeral Care are here for you every step of the way. 

It can be very overwhelming but we can guide you through each stage of the process. It can be reassuring to know what happens at each part of the arrangement process, which is why there is a brief overview of what happens at each stage below. 

However, our professional and compassionate team are always here and ready to help answer any questions or concerns you may have. Give us a call on 01534 499444.

Immediately after the death occurs

Contact the deceased’s GP or on-call doctor

  1. If a death occurs at home and was unexpected or sudden, the police may also need to be informed. The doctor will advise you if this is necessary

  2. If a death occurs at a residential/nursing home, hospice or at the general hospital, staff will contact a doctor 

Transferring of the deceased into care

Contact the funeral director of your choice

  1. You may wish to spend time with the deceased prior to them being taken into care. The funeral director/nursing staff will advise you

  2. If the death occurs in the hospital, or in a public place, the deceased will initially be taken to the hospital mortuary. If you would like to see the deceased while they are in the mortuary, this may be arranged at the hospital Chapel of Rest. Hospital staff will be able to advise you regarding collecting the deceased’s personal belongings

  3. If the death occurs at a residential/nursing home and the police are informed, following advice from the Viscount’s Department, the deceased may need to be taken to the hospital mortuary

  4. Should you know at this time whether the funeral is to be a cremation, you should advise nursing/hospital staff of this, as additional documentation is required

Doctor issues medical certificate or the Viscount/Greffe investigates the death

This is dependent upon the circumstances of death

  1. Should the doctor be unsatisfied with the cause of death, they are bound by law to inform the police who will notify the Viscount’s department. In some circumstances, the police will dedicate a family liaison officer to provide specific advice and support

  2. Documents are issued which allow the death to be registered and for a funeral to proceed

  3. A doctor, or the Viscount’s Department, will issue documents, dependent on the circumstances of the death

  4. If the Viscount is to investigate the cause of death, there may be a delay in confirming the date of the funeral

Making the funeral arrangements

Make an appointment with the funeral director

  1. You are under no legal obligation to use the services of a funeral director. However, it often is the popular option to use their professional services, and can ensure that your loved one if given a compassionate and respectful farewell

  2. Find out if the deceased had left a will or any written instructions regarding their funeral

  3. The funeral director will be able to guide/advise you with all the funeral arrangements. They will also register the death and collate any necessary documentation on your behalf

Funeral takes place

  1. The average time between a death and the funeral is seven to ten days, this may vary depending on circumstances and family wishes

Administration of the deceased’s estate

Contact Solicitor /Judicial Greffe

  1. Determine who is legally responsible for administering the deceased’s estate

  2. Advice will be given by Solicitor/Greffier for the legal requirements for estate administration

Inform organisations of the death

There will be a number of local and national organisations that will need to be informed about the change in circumstances.

  1. Financial and legal
  2. Personal pensions/insurance
  3. Island States - i.e Social Security, Income Tax, Housing, Parish authorities
  4. Utility services


  1. These usually start to happen within six months of the death