Sometimes the person who has died will be referred to HM Coroner for further investigation. This is usually if the death is unexpected, due to an accident or surrounded by suspicious circumstances. If someone has not been treated by a GP or hospital in the 28 days prior to their death, then they will automatically be referred to the Coroner.
If a death is referred to the coroner, funeral arrangements should not be made before the consent of the coroner has been obtained. The coroner can give consent for burial or cremation to take place before the death is registered. The death can only be registered and a death certificate obtained after the registrar has received the necessary certificate from the coroner. When the registrar receives the certificate they will contact a relative of the deceased and ask them to call in at the office to register the death.
Sometimes a post-mortem may take place to determine the cause of death and if this occurs you will be fully informed by the Coroner’s Office. A post-mortem will not alter the appearance of the person who has died or prevent them from being prepared in the same way.
If the cause of death is found to be natural causes and there are no other circumstances requiring an inquest, the coroner will provide a document instead of a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death allowing the death to be registered. This is often sent direct to the registrar, but you may be asked to collect it in person.
Your funeral director will contact the coroner’s office on your behalf to find out when they can collect the deceased to bring them into their care and prepare them for the funeral.