The next of kin, GP and the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages should be informed immediately. Most people die of natural causes, however if the death is sudden and unexpected, the Gardá­ and the Coroner may need to be informed. At a later stage you will need to inform the Department of Social and Family Affairs, if the person who died was getting a social welfare payment, or was a dependent on another person’s payment. You should also inform relevant insurance companies.

If the death occurred at home, the next of kin or nearest relative present at the death must register the death by bringing a Medical Certificate of cause of death to the appropriate Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, usually within 5 days. The appropriate Registrar is determined by where the death took place, not where the deceased lived. The deceased’s family doctor (GP) normally issues the medical certificate, but it can be any doctor. The hospital usually registers the death if the death happened in hospital Deaths referred to the County or City Coroner are registered when the Registrar receives a certificate of the post-mortem examination or inquest from the Coroner.

The Death Certificate can be obtained from the local Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the district where the person died. If you are registering the death, it is useful to get several copies of the Death Certificate at the same time.

The cost for a Death Certificate is currently €6.98. If you need it for Social Welfare purposes the cost is €0.89. (As of December 2006)

They will deal all arrangements regarding the burial or cremation, including organising the burial plot, newspaper notices and religious services if you wish. They can also organise transport of the deceased and mourners, help with arrangements for the church service, liaising with those involved in these arrangements, e.g. florists etc. They will also assist you to obtain any documentation necessary both before and after the funeral. The Irish Association of Funeral Directors have drawn up a The Code of Cremation Practise that explains what you can expect from any one of their members.

A post mortem is an examination carried out by a pathologist after a death where is necessary to establish the medical cause of death. The majority of deaths do not require any post mortem because the medical cause of death can be certified by a doctor who has been treating the deceased in the months prior to the death, i.e. a GP or hospital doctor.

You may be entitled to a Bereavement Grant from the Department of Social and Family Affairs where the person who died has paid the relevant social insurance contributions. If you are the insured person, it is also payable if the person who died is your spouse or dependent child. Employees, including civil and public servants, and self-employed are covered by this scheme.  If the death happened because of an accident at work or while travelling to or from work or as a result of a prescribed disease, you may be entitled to a Funeral Grant of €635 under the Occupational Injuries Scheme, instead of the Bereavement Grant.

You can get the application forms at your Social Welfare Local Office, local Post Office or Citizens Information Centre. The forms can also be downloaded from the internet at www.welfare.com