What Happens When a Person Dies? The First Thing You Should Do


    What happens when a person dies is usually a matter of the circumstances under which the person has died.

    For example, a person could die while in their sleep, in hospital, in a traffic or road accident, as consequence of a fight, mob justice or even as a result of drowning. What happens if a person then dies while they are sleeping? Do we immediately bury the person or we first suspect that there was a bad thing behind their death?

    Mzee mandwa died peacefully in his sleep and the family immediately wanted to bury him. However someone has informed them that you do not just bury a person and move on with life. So, the family is asking what happens when a person dies?

    1. Report the matter to the nearest police post or station next to you. Have the deceased’s body taken to Hospital in order to ascertain the cause of death and have a postmortem report prepared. If this was not your relative, then communicate to the relative and close people to the deceased.
    2. Prepare for burial of the deceased in the most respectful way the deceased would have preferred.
    3. If the deceased had a will, call for a family meeting and read out the will before all the beneficiaries of the deceased.
    4. Make sure to follow up on a death certificate from National identification and Registration Authority.
    5. The Next of kin and relatives of any deceased person have a duty to also notify the registrar of births and deaths of the death of their deceased relative.
    6. Apply to court for authority to distribute the property of the deceased (grant of letters of probate if there was a will or letters of Administration if the deceased person died having not written a will.)
    7. The most concerned offices and persons to approach upon the death of a person are the police officer and area local authorities, consequently medical personnel are to be approached to about processing a post-mortem report of a deceased person.
    8. The Next of kin and relatives of any deceased person have a duty to also notify the registrar of births and deaths of the death of their deceased relative.
    9. A police report and post-mortem report are important in enabling the processing of a death certificate of a deceased as this is needed to pursue other documents in respect to the affairs of a deceased person such as grants of letters of administration or probate.
    10. A person is presumed to be dead once they are reported lost and a body is not recovered within a period of 7 years. At this point family members and relatives can apply for court order as a presumption death order which shall be passed on to the registrar deaths and attain a death certificate.
    If you have any legal questions about this, or you have some thoughts to share, please feel free to comment or contact us through Facebook inbox, email at ask@barefootlaw.org, twitter @barefootlawug or call us on 0392177405 during work hours.

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