What do I do when a loved one passes away?

When a loved one passes away, everything may seem daunting and confusing. This page aims to point you in the right direction of where to start, what the process may look like, and direct you to support services.

The Bereavement Advice Centre have created a Bereavement Checklist to help you through the process Step-by-Step

On This Page:


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What is the process at Moatfield?

The process and the timeframe for completing the paperwork will change depending on how and where the patient died.

If the death was expected ...

If the patient passes away at home, in a care home or a hospice and has been seen by a Moatfield GP in the last 28 days, the death was expected and there were no other issues:

  • The GP completes the death certificate, which gets emailed to the registry office.
  • If the patient passes away in the hospital, it is down to the hospital to issue the death certificates and paperwork.
  • The Registry Office then contact the family or the family can contact the office to book an appointment to register the death.
  • If the patient is to be cremated, the GP completes cremation forms, which are emailed to the funeral directors. 

If the death was unexpected...

If a patient passes away in West Sussex or Surrey within a care home and has not been seen recently, or the death was unexpected:

  • A referral will need to be sent to the coroner to make a decision on who can issue the death certificate. It may be that the coroner decided to do the post-mortem. This will unfortunately add a few days onto the process above, and if the coroner decides to proceed with the post-mortem then Moatfield will not be involved at this stage. 
  • If the coroner says the GP can issue the death certificate, we will start the same process as we would if the death was expected.
  • If the patient passes away in the hospital, it is down to the hospital to issue the death certificates and paperwork.


West Sussex Bereavement Guide

The West Sussex Bereavement Guide is designed to give you guidance and support to help you with the decisions and arrangements that need to be made. 

It guides you through all the processes, including what to do when someone dies, how to register a death, what happens if the death is reported to the coroner, and guidance on how to arrange a funeral. 


We understand this can be a really difficult time and if you feel you need support with your mental health, we have further support on our website.


Local Support


Jigsaw South East

Jigsaw supports families across Surrey, Sussex and Kent, offering advice, information and guidance to support bereaved children and young people. 



Cruse Bereavement Support - West Sussex

Cruse is the leading national charity for bereaved people. They offer information advice and support to children, young people and adults dealing with loss. 

Local Cruse Support can be located on their website.


Interim Bereavement Support - Forest Row

Interim is a bereavement support group, meeting at the Holy Trinity Church Hall, Forest Row. 




Other Support for Grief and Bereavement



Other Thoughts...


Important paperwork...

Throughout the process, there are a few important documents you may be asked to provide:

  • Medical Certificate (Cause of Death) signed by a doctor
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage/civil partnership certificates
  • NHS Number
  • Organ Donor card (If Donor)
Who do I need to Inform?
  • The GP Surgery (Moatfield) - 01342 327555
  • The Relevant Registrar's Office
  • You may wish to tell family and friends via text or phone call if you are not ready to see people in person yet
  • Inform the school if an adolescent
  • Inform the employer
  • Any accountants or solicitors that may be involved



Contact the cemeteries and crematorium department of the local council to arrange the funeral yourself


Links to Grief and Bereavement for Adults




 Links to Grief and Bereavement for Children


We have an end-of-life page for those that are going through or supporting someone in palliative care

Moatfield's End of Life Page



Last Updated 17/06/2024