HELP AND ADVICE
A selection of common questions and some help understanding what to do in the first steps of a death, covering who to contact and how the process works. For more details please download our full information guide below
WHAT TO DO IF DEATH OCCURS AT HOME
First, contact your Doctors Surgery who will call to establish that death has taken place. If death occurs outside of normal surgery hours you will be given a number to contact the ‘On Call Doctor’.
When the Doctor has verified the death you will be advised to contact your chosen Funeral Director in order to move the deceased to their funeral premises.
Contact your chosen Funeral Director and give the name and address of where they are to call, they will confirm when they will be with you.
You will be asked a few details and whether the funeral will be a burial or cremation. Do not worry if you cannot answer any of these questions, you can advise the Funeral Director later who will call you to arrange a convenient time to make the funeral arrangements.
N.B. If the deceased donated his or her organs for transplant or medical research you should notify the Doctor immediately. Such donations are accepted or refused at the discretion of the Head of Anatomical Research at the nearest teaching hospital or university.
If the doctor is unable to issue a Death Certificate he will contact the Coroner. See ‘Her Majesty’s Coroner’ for further details.
IF DEATH OCCURS IN A NURSING HOME OR ELDERLY PEOPLES’ RESIDENCE
The Nursing Home will contact the doctor who will then call to establish that death has taken place. The Nursing Home should then contact the nearest relative or executor to advise them of the death and to ask which Funeral Director should be contacted. Some Nursing Homes claim to have ‘special arrangements’ with a Funeral Director. You should not, however, be swayed by their preference, it is your choice, not theirs.
You should arrange to collect valuables, clothing and any other items from the Nursing Home. If the deceased was wearing any jewellery, find out whether it has been removed.
The Nursing Home will advise you if the Doctor has left the Death Certificate there. Usually this will be arranged through the Funeral Director.
Call your chosen Funeral Director and make an appointment to discuss the funeral arrangements. N.B. If the Doctor is unable to issue the Death Certificate he will contact the Coroner. See ‘Her Majesty’s Coroner’ for further details.
IF DEATH OCCURS IN A HOSPITAL
The Hospital will advise the nearest relative or executor of the death.
They will tell you when you may call for the Death Certificate and collect any valuables, clothing and any other items. If the deceased was wearing any jewellery, find out whether it has been removed. You will be asked to sign for such items.
The deceased will be taken by the hospital staff to the hospital mortuary.
Sometimes relatives or friends ask to see the deceased in the mortuary chapel. This can usually be arranged, but we strongly recommend that you wait until the Funeral Director has moved the deceased to their premises and carried out the proper preparation.
Call your chosen Funeral Director and make an appointment to discuss the funeral arrangements.
On very rare occasions the Doctor may ask you for your written permission for a post mortem examination. It will be explained to you why the Doctor wants this done. You are under no obligation to sign for this.
N.B. If the Doctor is unable to issue a Death Certificate he will contact the Coroner. See ‘Her Majesty’s Coroner’ for further details.
A death must be registered in the district in which it happened. Whenever possible this should be done by a near relative or executor. If neither is available, then the person in charge of the institution or hospital where the death occurred can register, or even a person who was present at death.
Your Funeral Director will tell you where and when to register. You will need to take the Death Certificate and, if it can be found, the deceased’s medical card. Most Registrar’s offer a service called ‘Tell Us Once’. Please take the deceased’s National Insurance number and they will get the state pension and any benefits they were receiving stopped for you, if still valid their passport, driving licence and blue disabled parking badge and these will be returned to the appropriate issuing authority, they can also contact the council tax district where the deceased lived and the electoral roll department.
The Registrar will need to know the deceased’s full names, address and postcode, date and place of birth, date and place of death, occupation and whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds. If the deceased was a married woman or widow, the Registrar will want to know her Husband’s names and occupation, also her maiden name. If married, the date of birth of the surviving partner is also needed.
The Registrar will issue a Green Certificate for the Funeral Director and this should be given to them as soon as possible, unless the death has been reported to the Coroner, your Funeral Director will explain what happens next.
The Registrar issues copies of the entry in the register for Banks Probate, Insurances, Post Office Accounts, etc., You should take some money with you to pay for these – currently £11.00 each. We will be pleased to take you to the Registrar if you do not have available transport. There will be a charge for this service.
N.B. When the death has been reported to the Coroner you will be advised when the registration can be done. See ‘Her Majesty’s Coroner’ for further details.
Her Majesty’s Coroner are judicial officers, usually Solicitors or
Doctors, who are quite independent of local or central government. It is their duty to establish the cause of death when a Doctor is unable to issue a Death Certificate. This may be because the Doctor has not seen the person within fourteen days prior to death; or the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from the effects of the anaesthetic; or the death was sudden and unexplained; or as the result of an accident or under suspicious circumstances.
If one of the above circumstances applied, either the Doctor or a Police Officer will contact the Coroner. The Registrar of Deaths also has the power to report to the Coroner. If none of these has reported the death, but you, as a relation or executor are suspicious about the cause of death, you may speak to the Coroner yourself.
Your Funeral Director will advise you how to contact them. It is usually necessary for the Coroner to order a post mortem examination to establish accurately the cause of death. The consent of relatives is not needed for this.
If the Coroner is satisfied that the death was due to natural causes they will then issue a form to enable the death to be registered. This will normally be posted direct to the appropriate Registrar. Sometimes if the Doctor feels that the Coroner should know the circumstances of death but does not feel that a post mortem examination is necessary, the Coroner will issue a Certificate called a Part A.
Registration cannot be done until this has been received by the Registrar, the Funeral Director will advise you of this. Whilst the funeral arrangements cannot be confirmed until the Coroner has issued their form, you should still contact your Funeral Director as soon as possible. They will be able to make provisional arrangements and explain the likely time span before the funeral.
ARRANGING THE FUNERAL
The first thing that needs to be confirmed is who is responsible for making the funeral arrangements, this will usually be either the next of kin or the executor as named in a will. They will also be responsible for ensuring all the funeral costs are met. If you are not the immediate next of kin or executor but have been asked to arrange the funeral we would ask that we have some communication with that person to ensure the funeral arrangements can be carried out by the nominated
As soon as we receive your call we will guide you through the various steps and decisions to be made. Service arrangements with the Minister, Cemetery or Crematorium are made by us. We will make sure that all the necessary documents for the funeral are completed and delivered in time.
You will need to decide if the deceased is to be buried or cremated, where the funeral is to start from, how many cars are required, whether a church service is appropriate and if you wish to have hymns. You may have special wishes regarding flowers or donations. We are usually asked to look after the newspaper notices and we will help you to compile these.
After the funeral you may wish to invite family and friends back to your home, or you may wish to arrange refreshments elsewhere, we have many recommendations for hotels, golf clubs, restaurants etc. These are only a few of the details to be considered and we will be pleased to call at your house or see you at one of our offices, whichever is more convenient.
We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Please feel free to call us at any time.
RELIGIOUS OR NON-RELIGIOUS FUNERALS
Funerals have changed very much over the last decade with people making them more personal and having more of an input as to what type of funeral they would like. It should be considered what the deceased’s wishes or beliefs were when deciding whether to have a religious, non-religious service or personally designed service.
Crematorium or cemetery chapels are not deemed religious buildings and are available for all to use and have within them the service of their choice. It is also a persons right to have their funeral in their local parish church of the denomination that they have been christened or practise. We will happily advise as to the churches in each area and if unsure how a service within them would work.
Whatever type of funeral is decided upon we take it as a very important part to match the minister or officiant to you to make sure the funeral service is carried out to both your own and your loved one’s wishes. This may be a minister from your parish, a minister you have connections with, an officiant or a family relative or friend.
If the funeral is to take place in a church then it is the responsibility for the minister of that church or a minister they nominate to take the service, many Anglican Churches have a team of ministers and if you would like one specific minister then please tell us so we may liaise with them for you.
The thought of having a humanist service has become popular but many do not realise that these type of funerals contain no religious elements at all, such as prayers or hymns. This does not then often meet families requirements so we then can provide a person, known as a celebrant, who can build the funeral service to your exact requirements, allowing music, hymns, readings, prayers whatever you wish to be included and this has become one of the most popular funeral services we arrange.
The Funeral Director will explain the various fees and charges involved. Because funeral arrangements are a matter of personal wishes and choice, the only way to obtain an accurate estimate is by discussion with your Funeral Director. You will not be rushed into making any decisions.
Many of the costs involved are not set by the Funeral Director. These may be for the Cemetery or Crematorium, the Minister, doctors’ fees, newspaper notices, flowers and many other details you wish to have. Many of these items are paid by us on your behalf and will be listed under the heading ‘Fees & Disbursements’, but we ask that these are paid before the Funeral.
Our traditional funeral service is inclusive of the following:
The services and attention of the Funeral Director from your first call
until everything has been completed. We are available to give help
and advice at any time.
- Private ambulance for removal of deceased to our funeral premises
- Hygienic care of the deceased
- Arranging and conducting the funeral arrangements.
- Providing choice of coffins, including fittings and linings.
- Obtaining all necessary forms and documents required by the authorities.
- Making necessary arrangements with the chosen Minister.
- Use of Private Chapel of Rest
- Use of our silver grey hearse for the funeral.
- Any other items will be itemised on the funeral account.
A more simple/basic funeral can be arranged where some of the above are not included and we will be happy to discuss this option with you.
You will receive an itemised estimate and confirmation of the funeral arrangements before the date of the funeral. The final invoice will be forwarded after the funeral has taken place to yourself unless otherwise specified.
Many banks will pay direct from the deceased’s account on production of both the funeral invoice and a copy of the Death Certificate.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
A full set of terms and conditions will be sent with our estimate of charges and confirmation of funeral arrangements before the funeral takes place.
For funeral arrangements made in your home you have the right to cancel the contract under the Cancellation of Contracts made in the Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Regulations You have the right to cancel the contract within a 14 day period and we will provide you with the necessary paperwork for this. At this time we shall ask for your authority to commence with the funeral arrangements within the cancellation period.
It is required that all disbursements are paid before the funeral takes place. These will be itemised on a written estimate to you. Any disbursements added after the estimate has been provided will be included on the final funeral invoice.
We only accept payment of these by debit/credit card or bank transfer.
PAYMENT OF FUNERAL ACCOUNTS
The most common way for a funeral account to be paid is via the deceased’s own bank/building society account. The invoice and a death certificate should be given to them and they will arrange payment direct to us. We also accept payment via cheque, debit/credit card or by bank transfer (BACS). Please ask your Funeral Director if you require any information on this.
HELP WITH THE COST OF A FUNERAL
If you do not think you will have sufficient money for the funeral, the Social Fund may be able to help you. The Social Fund is part of the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP).
You may receive help if you are the person responsible for the funeral arrangements and you qualify for Income Support, Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income-related employment and support allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or the disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit.
Please ask us for the SF200 Funeral Payment from the Social Fund forms.