Expected Death in the Hospital

Dealing with the arrangements following a death of a family member or friend can be very stressful. The following guide aims to ease the burden and help you in this challenging and difficult time.

Confirmation of death

An expected death is defined as a death which was inevitable following a diagnosis of a terminal condition and a period of gradual health decline.

If you are not already present you will be informed by the hospital that your family member is near the end of their life. Once they have died, the death will be confirmed by the doctor in the hospital who is looking after your family member.

Care of the body

Once the person has been pronounced dead the body will be transferred to a hospital mortuary. You should start making arrangements by choosing and contacting a funeral service. Details of funeral directors can be found by performing a search on our directory page and they will arrange to transfer the body from the hospital once the paperwork is complete and permission from the hospital is granted. The hospital may require a release form before the body can be released. The release form can be obtained either from the bereavement office or the ward Manager.

The body will be taken to the funeral director’s storage however it is possible to keep the body at home for a short while should you wish to do so.

Medical certificate

After the death, it is necessary for a medical certificate (MCCD) that confirms the cause of death to be issued and sent to the registry office. If the death was expected and has occurred in the hospital the hospital doctor will issue a medical certificate which will confirm the cause of death.

The medical certificate will be emailed to the registry office in the borough the hospital is in. The medical certificate of cause of death is for the purposes of registering the death only.

You can contact the hospital bereavement office for assistance if required.

Register the death

After the medical certificate has been sent by the doctor, contact the town hall registry office to register the death, this is usually performed by the relative of the deceased. A telephone appointment would need to be arranged either by phoning the office or booking online via their website.  Please see our ‘Find the Registry Office’ search facilities to locate the register office. 

The appointment available may not be for a few days. We recommend that you book the first available appointment online via the registry office website, pay the necessary fees for the death certificate and then phone the registry office as soon as possible and ask for an urgent appointment for religious reasons. You do not need to attend the registry office.

The following information is required:

  • Full name (maiden name or any previous names if applicable)
  • Place and date of birth
  • Place and date of death
  • Last address
  • Occupation
  • Full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse
  • Email address of the funeral service to which the burial certificate should be sent 

In the event of a death registration over the weekend, bank and public holidays the out of hours service should be contacted.


Once you have registered a death, you will be given two certificates:

  • The Certificate for Burial gives permission for burial (green form) which should be given to the funeral director (this will be emailed to you and to the funeral directors if you provide them with the email address) 
  • The Death Certificate (BD8), required for settling the estate of the deceased (this will be posted to you or can be collected from the registry office). You can buy additional copies of the death certificates, as this is needed for the will and any claims to pensions, savings or insurance.

Note that the legal requirement for a death to be registered is within 5 days.

Arranging the funeral

After the death has been registered, you can complete the funeral arrangements. If the deceased did not explicitly plan their funeral before their passing, responsibility of arranging the funeral often falls to relatives or close friends.

If you have engaged a funeral director to care for the body, they can offer advice and assistance on funeral arrangements including:

  • washing
  • shrouding
  • janazah salah      
  • transport to the burial ground

There are many decisions to be made when arranging a funeral including:

  •  choosing a cemetery
  • purchasing a burial plot
  • booking a date and time of the funeral
  • who to invite

We should do our best to bury the deceased as soon as possible, but on many occasions there are delays due to circumstances beyond our control. This is the time for patience and to turn to Allah for assistance and forgiveness.