First Steps – What you need to know in times of bereavement


What to do when someone dies

Angel Guardians Funeral Home prides itself on being able to offer a 24 hour service providing advice on what needs to be done and by whom. With our staff having many years of experience we have encountered nearly all situations. The following information is intended to help by guiding you step by step through a very difficult time.



When death occurs at home.

When death takes place at home there is usually a kind friend, neighbour or relative able to sit with you until the doctor or police have to attend.

Inform the Doctor

As soon as possible inform the doctor that the death has occurred.  He/she may write out the Medical Certificate of Death when he/she visits the house, or may request that you attend the surgery for this purpose. Be careful should you phone for the removal to the hospital, at this point you will receive a few calls from funeral directors who have suddenly acquired your details (usually from ambulance drivers or other authorities), DO NOT  SIGN  ANYTHING! DO NOT  HAND OUT  THE CAUSE OF DEATH CERTIFICATE, If you wish to use us please just say politely no thank you I have everything covered and call us immediately. We can collect from home/hospital/hospice. Depending on the time we will come and sit with you and have a chat, no decisions need to be made at this point for the service, so just sit and take your time to let everything sink in.



When death occurs in hospital.

When death happens in hospital the procedure is very similar.  Apply to the hospital for the Medical Certificate of Death again as above DO  NOT SIGN ANYTHING OR HAND OVER THE CAUSE OF DEATH CERTIFICATE. There is no problem with your loved one being in the mortuary until a decision is made as to which funeral home you wish the services for.



The coroner

In cases where the death has been reported to the Coroner the procedure is somewhat different.  The coroner and his officers are working in your interest.  No doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Death. Next of kin will be advised to attend the hospital mortuary for identification, which is a very difficult time, normally I would attend this to ensure your identification is as pain free as possible. Also present will be the police officer assigned to the case. He will be sent by the Coroner to the Registrar’s Office in the district where the death occurred. They issue you with a cause of death certificate and a form from the court allowing either burial or repatriation. The police will then give them to you and you will sign a statement at the police station (normally).


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