Advice and support

When you find out that someone you love is dying, it can be hard to know what to do next. This information will help you find your way.

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Supporting a child when someone is dying

Even young children can pick up on how people around them are feeling and changes in routine, whether you have told them what is happening or not. These changes can feel very worrying and frightening, but there are ways that you can help them to cope.

Image of a child and adult walking into Thorpe Hall Hospice

Telling a child a loved one is dying

Only you know when the time is right and the best way to tell your child that someone they love is dying. This can be incredibly hard, but there are some approaches that can help.

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How do I organise a funeral?

Organising a funeral for someone you love can be stressful and overwhelming at a very emotional time. However, many people find funerals are a chance to gather with those who cared about the person who has died and celebrate their life.

Image of a woman looking out of a window

What needs to be done after a loved one dies?

Although this is likely to be a very emotional time, there are still some formal things that need to happen. Although it can feel overwhelming, remember that you do not need to do everything yourself. This is often the time when friends and family can help you by doing some of the practical tasks.

Image of a woman looking at belongings

How do I sort out money and belongings after a death?

Most people leave behind some possessions when they die, which might include money, property and their belongings, and together these things are called their ‘estate’. These are usually passed on to family, friends and people or organisations such as charities that your friend or relative has specified.

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Who do I need to tell about the death?

Sharing the news that your friend or relative has died is one of the most difficult and immediate responsibilities. If the person who has died has nominated you as executor, you will be responsible for sorting out their property, and carrying out the instructions in their will. This includes notifying friends and family, as well as formally notifying a number of people and organisations.

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Registering the death

Registering your loved one's death is one of the first things you need to do after they have died. You can start planning their funeral beforehand, but you will not be able to actually hold it until you have registered their death. Legally, you need to do this within five days (it's eight days if you're in Scotland), and you’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral.

Image of Sue Ryder nurse holding a patient's hand

Helping someone close to death

There are lots of things that you can do to make someone as comfortable as possible in their final hours. These are a few things that, from experience, we know can really help to make a difference.

Photo of someone holding a tea cup - Sue Ryder advice and support information

Telling people about your diagnosis

Telling the people you love that you have a limited time to live can be one of the hardest things you ever have to do - particularly when you are trying to cope with the news yourself.

A patient in a hospice and his family

What can I expect when death is near?

Although everyone is different, there are some common things that happen as part of the natural process of dying. At this stage, the person who is dying is often unaware of many of these things. But it can help those who care for them if they know what to expect.