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Frequently Asked Questions

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1.   What is the first thing I need to do when a death occurs?

If the death occurs at home, you should call your loved one’s doctor. If the death occurs in a hospital or nursing home, then staff there will usually do this for you. However, if it was the deceased’s wish to donate their organs then a hospital should also be advised as soon as possible.

At a home address once the doctor has been or advised you to proceed then you will need to contact the funeral home on 01842 761333 to arrange the transfer of the deceased into our care. This can be delayed for a little while if you would like some private time. You shouldn't worry about what time you call, because we are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

2.   What happens when someone dies in a hospital or nursing home?

If death occurs at a public hospital, the hospital administration will complete most of the formalities required for the issuing of Death and other Certificates. However it will be up to the family to contact a funeral home directly.

As most public hospitals have a mortuary we can only move the deceased from the hospital into our care during weekday hours dictated by the hospital.

If death occurs at a nursing home or private hospital and you are not already there then the staff will usually contact the next of kin once death has been confirmed.

It is common at some private hospitals and nursing homes for a funeral home to be nominated in advance and contacted upon the event of death. In these circumstances, the hospital or nursing home will contact us to arrange the transfer of the deceased into our care.

3.   How do I get a Death Certificate?

These are issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your area. Usually a funeral director such as ourselves is responsible for registering the death with this Registry within 7 days of the burial or cremation.

Once the death is registered, Births, Deaths and Marriages will provide a formal Death Certificate, which is often a necessary document for any legal and estate issues that need to be attended to.

Applications for a copy of a Death Certificate can only be made at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and must be accompanied by at least three forms of identification to ensure your privacy and that information is only released to those who are entitled to it.

4.   When is a coroner needed?

In some cases, a doctor may not be able to issue a medical certificate of the cause of death and they will refer the death to the coroner. Because determining the cause of death is absolutely vital, you do not have the right to object to a death being referred to the coroner. However if you have religious or other strong objections to a post mortem, you should notify the coroner.

There may be a number of reasons for referring a death to the coroner, including:

  • Death other than by natural causes, including violence, accidental or unusual causes
  • Death whilst under anaesthetic (or within 24 hours of the administration of an anaesthetics)
  • Unexpected death
  • Death of a person in an institution, a prison or in police custody, drug or alcohol rehabilitation centre
  • When the cause of death is unknown, or
  • When the deceased had diagnosed dementia.

Either we or the coronal staff can transfer the deceased to the coroner.

5.   Who should I notify after a death has occurred?

Of course there are always the family and friends of the deceased to notify. It can help to have a trusted family member or friend act as the point of contact for all these people.

But there are others who also need to know, though not necessarily straight away. This list might be of help in taking care of this important detail. Please be aware that the registration service offers a “tell us once” service which will notify some of the official institutions for you.

  • The Executor nominated by the deceased
  • Department of Works and Pensions
  • Solicitor and/or public trustee
  • Accountant
  • Banks, building societies, credit unions, financial institutions, credit card providers, loan companies and digital monetary accounts such as eBay and PayPal
  • Employer/former employer
  • Trade unions or professional associations
  • Tax Office, Electoral Office
  • DVLA
  • Insurance companies including life, accident, home and contents, vehicle
  • Clubs and Societies (Membership)
  • Doctor, dentist, specialists, hospitals, chemist, health benefits fund
  • Church or religious organisation
  • Household help, gardening services or Meals on Wheels
  • Home nursing service
  • Home delivery services - e.g. newspapers and milk
  • Home appliance rental, medical aids rental company
  • Post Office for mail delivery
  • Council Tax
  • Telephone company, electricity and gas company
  • School or college
  • Companies House- e.g. for directorships
  • Service organisations - e.g. Rotary, Lions, Apex, Zonta, Red Cross
  • Blood bank
  • Social media and e-mail accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail
6.   Who is responsible for arranging a funeral?

It is most common for the executor named in the will, or for family members or friends to arrange a funeral. In some circumstances the funeral will be arranged by a public trustee.

While not essential, many people prefer to use a funeral director to relieve them from the burden at such a difficult time.  Funeral directors are trained, experienced professionals who assist families from the moment a death occurs until well after services are completed.

7.   How long between death and the committal service?

The length of time between death and the committal service can vary depending on your instructions and the circumstances of the death.  Importantly, it will take as long as you need. There is no need to feel rushed.

8.   What is embalming and when is it needed?

Embalming is carried out by a qualified embalmer and is a chemical treatment of a body which disinfects and preserves it. Embalming may be needed when:

  • There is a longer than average delay between death and the funeral
  • The deceased needs to be transferred overseas
  • The deceased’s wishes call for an above ground burial in a crypt or vault.

If you have any questions about embalming or other mortuary practices, please raise them we are always willing to discuss these matters with you.

9.   Should we have viewing in the chapel of rest?

Viewing the deceased is a very personal decision and it is entirely up to you.

In our experience it can have many benefits as it not only helps the bereaved to face the reality of death but it also allows for quiet times of reflection.  However more so these days we are finding that, depending on the families existing memories and experience or circumstance of the death, many are finding that they prefer to remember their loved one just the way they were and do not feel the need to visit the chapels of rest at all.  Some families feel more comfortable setting a wish that no person visits the chapel and some actually express this wish in their last will and testament or to family members before death, to have no visitors attend.

If viewing is requested this takes place in our private chapels of rest within our funeral home.

10.  What is an Executor?

An Executor is a person named in a Will or appointed by a court to finalise a deceased person's financial affairs.

The Executor takes care of all the property, paying any bills and taxes, and seeing to it that assets are transferred to their new, rightful owners. If probate court proceedings are required, the Executor must handle them or hire a solicitor to do it.

When someone passes away the Executor should be notified as soon as possible. It is advisable that an Executor get professional advice or assistance, if only to determine their rights and responsibilities in the matter.

If a Will cannot be located, the role of the Executor usually rests with the next-of-kin, who should seek professional advice before attempting to finalise matters.

11.  What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?

In the UK we usually associate the word coffin to mean a container for the deceased that is similar in body shape to human dimensions; that is, it is broader at the shoulders and narrower at the feet. Coffins normally have a removable lid and are made of wood.  The word casket usually describes a rectangular container with a hinged lid. Caskets may be made from wood, natural fibres or metal.

12.  Which is more popular - burial or cremation?

An individual's choice to either have a burial or cremation is often based on many personal reasons including family traditions and/or family beliefs.  In certain cultures cremation is not a popular option (or may be prohibited by religious belief). In other cultures the opposite may occur with cremation being the custom, for example, in the Hindu tradition.

There are pros and cons on both sides regarding the decision to bury or to cremate, however more and more people are opting to have a cremation rather than a burial.  Ultimately, this decision is a matter of personal choice.

13.  What happens if death occurs interstate or overseas?

When you are temporarily away from home you can purchase a Travel Protection Plan as an addition to your Prepaid Funeral Plan. This covers the costs of transporting a deceased person back to their nominated funeral home.

If you do not have Travel Protection Plan, you should contact us immediately and we will be able to arrange for the transport of the deceased, and attend to any statutory or customs requirements. In these circumstances there is usually an additional cost for transportation.

14.  How much will a funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral can vary, depending on a lot of things such as:

  • Whether a burial or cremation is preferred
  • The type of funeral services required
  • Type of coffin or casket
  • The cost of a grave
  • Fee’s paid to other professionals for services provided as arranged by our funeral directors such as opening and closing the grave, paid newspaper notices, clergy, flowers, doctors fees, memorials etc.

We offer a range of funerals to cover all requirements, depending on your wishes and we will discuss options and costs with you during the arrangement meeting.

15.  What is a prepaid funeral?

Many families choose to discuss their choices for the type and style of a funeral and record their preferences in advance with their funeral director. When the next step is taken, and a future funeral service is paid for in advance it becomes a prepaid funeral.

Doing this gives you the chance to personalise the service and make it a celebration of your life. It can also be a way to get your loved ones involved in creating a positive and meaningful experience.  It also secures the cost of the funeral at today’s prices and avoids the rising costs making it a financially viable option.

Lastly and maybe most importantly, it removes the burden of leaving family members to make difficult decisions, it removes the guesswork and also the worry of paying for the services at a stressfull and traumatic time. 

Our funeral plans are bespoke, customised and priced individually as well as guaranteed to ensure that your wishes will be adhered to and your payment guaranteed.  Payment may be made in monthly instalments or in full.

A prepaid plan provides for many options including:

  • Professional guidance, information and ideas about what is important to you and assistance with any final details, such as newspaper notices and order of flowers.
  • Transfer of the deceased into the care of our funeral home
  • Mortuary care for the deceased prior to the funeral, including preparation for viewings.
  • Provision of coffin or casket.
  • Attendance of experienced funeral director at the funeral ceremony, viewings, crematorium or graveside.
  • All necessary documentation for your burial or cremation.
  • Provision of hearse and other vehicles.
  • Cremation arrangements.
  • Cemetery fees.
  • Press notices.
  • Floral tributes.
  • Clergy fees.
  • Travel Protection Plan can be included for occasions when you are temporarily away from home.