the information you may need
Following bereavement there are many unfamiliar tasks that will need to be addressed. The very personal nature of bereavement dictates that circumstances will vary. Arranging a funeral is an intensely personal experience and we will carry out your wishes to the best of our ability.
WHAT TO DO WHEN
We will act as sympathetic advisor and confidant and will be responsible for the efficient completion of the arrangements. We will liaise on your behalf with doctors, clergy, celebrants, cemeteries and crematoria. Every funeral is ‘unique’ in that it reflects the wishes of the family and takes place in different circumstances. Today, funerals have become much more personalised, so we are quite used to assisting with and/or advising on aspects like venues, music, vehicles, ceremony style, service sheets, newspaper notices and webcasting.
An expected death
If the death occurs at home, you will need to contact the family doctor who attended the deceased (or their out of hours duty system). Once a doctor has attended please contact us and we will be able to provide guidance and support and will, if so desired, attend to remove the deceased to our Private Chapel of Rest. We offer a 24 hour service.
If the death occurs in hospital or in a nursing or residential home the staff will call the doctor and contact the person named by the deceased as next of kin.
The deceased’s doctor will normally issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (during the current pandemic scenario this will be emailed by the surgery or hospital directly to the Registration Service – after which you can book a Telephone appointment to register)
An Unexpected Death
If there are any unusual circumstances, for instance if the death is accidental or unexpected then contact the Ambulance Service or Police and do not touch anything in the room. The death may then be referred to the Coroner.
There is no requirement to wait for the death to be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages before contacting us to start making the necessary funeral arrangements. You may find it helpful to inform us of your initial thoughts, so we can make contact with the appropriate parties and potentially secure a preferred venue, date and time.
What does registering the death involve?
All deaths must be registered by the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages within the district where the death occurred. We will inform you of the whereabouts of the Registrar, their opening times and how to make an appointment. We may be able to provide you with transport if required.
The Registrar will require the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death issued by the doctor and the deceased’s Medical Card (if available), together with the following information:
- Full name of the deceased.
- The deceased’s date and place of death.
- The deceased’s home address.
- The deceased’s date and place of birth.
- The deceased’s maiden name, if applicable.
- The deceased’s former occupation, where relevant.
- If married, date of birth of surviving spouse.
- Name and address of the informant.
- Informant’s qualification for registering.
The following persons may act as Informant, when registering:
- A relative of the deceased present at the death.
- A relative of the deceased in attendance during the last illness.
- A relative of the deceased residing or being in the sub-district where the death occurred.
- A person present at the death.
- The person causing the disposal of the deceased (such as the person responsible for the payment of the funeral expenses).
As Funeral Directors we are not allowed to register a death.
Please remember to take your own identification to the Registrar.
If the Registrar issues a Green Certificate this should be handed to your Funeral Director as soon as possible.
Certified Copies of the Entry of Death (often known as Death Certificates) can be purchased for administration of the estate. The Registrar may issue a Certificate of Registration or Notification of Death (free of charge) for you to send to the Department of Works and Pensions with any pension or allowance books.
Registration must be carried out within 5 days from the date of death. This may be extended if authorised by the Registrar.
The Registrar may offer you the option of the ‘Tell Us Once’ service. A unique online login will be created for you by The Registrar, after which you have 28 days to inform several departments and local services. Information you will need includes:
- National Insurance number and date of birth.
- Details of any benefits or services they were receiving.
- Driving Licence.
- Blue Badge (disabled person’s parking badge).
- Library Card.
They will also ask for the following contact details:
- Next of kin.
- A surviving husband, wife or civil partner.
- The person dealing with the estate.
You must obtain the agreement of the persons listed above if you are going to provide their information.
‘Tell Us Once’ can then inform:
Government Departments: Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, Identity and Passport Service, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Local Council Services: Council Housing, Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Council Tax Benefit, Blue Badge, Adult Services, Children’s Services, Electoral Services, Libraries, Monies owed to the Council.
The information provided is treated securely and confidentially. The organisations who are contacted will use the information to update records, end services or benefits and entitlements as appropriate, and to resolve any outstanding issues.
This service has been suspended during the pandemic, as all registrations are by telephone appointment only. In normal circumstances, if a visit to the Registrar in the district where the death actually occurred is impractical, it is now possible to register by declaration in England and Wales. As this will involve two registry offices and the use of the postal system, this is likely to result in an additional delay before the funeral takes place. We can advise you on this procedure.
Naturally a sudden death together with the Coroner’s involvement can be very distressing. You may have a number of questions. As trained professionals we are fully acquainted with all procedures and we are here to help and guide you. Be assured that the Coroner and their officers are working in your interest.
There are a number of reasons why a death may be referred to HM Coroner and under such circumstances different procedural requirements and registration procedures will be necessary. However, these should not give you any cause for alarm.
The Coroner is usually qualified as a Doctor or Solicitor and is a judicial officer independent of local and central government who is required to act in accordance with the law. Any sudden or unexplained death may be reported to the Coroner regardless of how it may appear to have happened.
Sometimes the Coroner will be able to determine by simple enquiry whether the death was due to natural causes and that a Doctor is willing to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. If so the death is registered in the usual manner.
If this is not the case the Coroner may require a post-mortem examination (you cannot object to a Coroner’s post-mortem). This will often indicate that the death was due to natural causes and in such cases there is no inquest.
The Coroner will send a certificate to the Registrar so that the death can be registered. For a burial the Green Certificate will be issued by the Registrar for the Funeral Director. For a cremation the Coroner will issue a special certificate directly to the Funeral Director or Crematorium and no Green Certificate is required.
If the death is due to unnatural causes (such as an accident) the Coroner is obliged to hold an Inquest. This is a formal enquiry to establish a) the identity of the deceased; b) when, where and how the death occurred; c) the cause of death.
Usually an inquest will be adjourned to allow the funeral to take place and the Coroner will issue special certificates depending on whether it is a burial or a cremation. Preliminary Death Certificates may be obtained from the Coroner to help towards the administration of the estate. Once all the relevant facts have been established the inquest will be reopened (this may be some weeks later) the results will be made public and the Coroner will ultimately inform the Registrar officially.
Arranging a funeral is an intensely personal experience and it will be our objective to help and guide you through the many choices and options available.
Naturally you will be given time to consider every decision, so that you can create a ceremony which gives full value and importance to the wishes of the family and the deceased.
The right funeral venue?
This may depend upon several factors:
- The type of funeral ceremony requested.
- The numbers expected to attend.
- Geographical location of family and the deceased’s address.
- Preference for religious or non-religious ceremony.
The right kind of funeral ceremony?
The funeral ceremony can take many forms, from a simple family gathering to a full service, either in advance of the burial or cremation or afterwards as a Thanksgiving Service. Whether you are considering a religious or a non-religious ceremony, we are fully experienced and will be able to guide you through the many options.
What happens at a burial?
If you propose to use a new plot in a Cemetery or Churchyard, we will advise you of the options available, the potential residential restrictions and the fees payable.
For a burial in an existing grave in a public cemetery the Deeds of the grave may be important. There will be no Deed if the grave is in a Churchyard. Usually there will be a funeral service in a church/chapel/venue or at the graveside. The interment can be a very emotional experience and you may wish this part to be for close family only or you may welcome the support from friends. During the brief words of committal the coffin is gently lowered into the grave. You may wish to scatter a little earth on the coffin or place a flower in the grave. We can arrange for a temporary marker to be placed on the grave whilst the necessary time elapses before a permanent memorial can be erected.
What happens at a cremation?
The funeral may begin with a religious ceremony in a church or perhaps a religious/non-religious ceremony at another location away from the Crematorium, such as Chesil House. Alternatively the whole ceremony may be in the Crematorium chapel. Usually a 20–30 minute service is the maximum available at a Crematorium, although additional time can be booked at an extra cost.
Often the family will follow behind the coffin as it is borne into the chapel. However many people choose to go in ahead to settle themselves first. During the words of committal the coffin will be hidden from sight by a curtain or may descend from view depending on the crematorium. It is important for you to know that the coffin remains in the chapel, although hidden, until the congregation have departed. Alternatively you may prefer to request that the coffin should remain on view in the Chapel until you have left. All cremations are carried out individually to a strict Code of Practice. Some Crematoria are unable to accept coffins above specific dimensions, if this occurs we will advise you of the alternatives.
It is not compulsory to attend the Crematorium nowadays, many families will have the complete ceremony at one location, after which the coffin is taken, unaccompanied, to the committal, with us providing the necessary hearse and bearers. An unattended cremation will save on additional costs. Alternatively some families will have a break between the ceremony and the committal to allow for a reception. We are happy to discuss all options with you.
Several crematoria have the facility for photos, music or to record or webcast the service for family or friends who cannot attend – please ask for details and costs.
An organist can be arranged to accompany hymn singing and music choices should be carefully considered to further personalise the ceremony.
After the removal from the place of death the deceased is cared for at our premises prior to being placed in the chosen coffin in readiness for the funeral. The deceased may be dressed in a gown provided by us or clothing provided by the family. A photo of the deceased is often helpful to assist with hair styles and families will often bring in a deceased’s personal makeup to help with presentation.
We recommend the provision of hygienic treatment for the deceased where families are planning to visit the Chapel of Rest or where there may be a period between the death and the funeral. Hygienic treatment is carried out by qualified staff and enhances the presentation and preservation of the deceased. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have on this procedure.
May I see the deceased before the funeral?
Certainly. Families may like the opportunity to visit the Chapel of Rest and our staff will always discuss the matter beforehand if you are uncertain. Only occasionally may our professional opinion be that this is inadvisable. We will accompany you into the Chapel if you are concerned about this visit.
Our beautifully appointed private Chapels of Rest are open by appointment. Photographs, letters or other small personal items can be brought to the chapel and placed in the coffin but you should discuss this with your Funeral Director to ensure that there are no restrictions set by the Crematorium or Burial place.
There has been much media coverage about woodland burial cemeteries. Many private companies and some local authorities have reacted positively to the need for ‘green’ alternatives.
We have wide experience in helping families with Woodland and Green funerals and are very familiar with the preferred specification and procedures.
We offer an extensive choice of biodegradable coffins including willow, bamboo, cane, seagrass and wicker to suit your personal wishes.
Further details are available on this website with links to local burial options. We would recommend visiting the potential locations, so you can see the facilities and appreciate the differences between them.
You may wish to announce the death, and give details of the funeral arrangements in a local or national newspaper. We can assist you with this and help with the wording should you need it. We can advise you regarding instructions for flowers or charitable donations.
Music at a funeral
The personal choice of appropriate music is often very important. We will be able to advise you on the various options available and may be able to help with any additional equipment required. If the service is in church you will need to obtain permission from the incumbent before certain music can be played.
Our local Crematoria use either the Wesley or Obitus Music Systems and do not accept CDs any longer. Each provider has a general list available that can be easily searched online. Given sufficient time and as much detail as possible they can usually source a particular piece of music, as long as it has been commercially recorded.
At Chesil House, we include the sourcing and playing of music; a complementary holding photograph and a visual tribute of between 25–35 photographs – developed by our professional audio visual team.
Once the content and sequence of the ceremony has been agreed with the family and the officiant, your Funeral Directors will compile a proof of the service sheet for approval. These regularly include photographs, details of music and names of participants/readers. The number to print should be agreed in advance, but many families like to have additional copies to send to anyone who may have been unable to attend. Simply ask for more information and advice.
There are various options regarding the final resting place for the ashes of the deceased. These include:
- The crematorium garden of remembrance, which can include an entry in the Book of Remembrance or other memorialisation.
- Burial in a churchyard or cemetery, either locally or nationally, in a new grave or existing family plot.
- Interment in our Chesil House Memorial Gardens.
- A private scattering at a special, appropriate place.
Whatever your final decision you will be given time to consider all the options. You may wish us to hold the ashes for a maximum of 3 months until you have decided, although we reserve the right to charge for storage or to scatter them if no other instructions have been received.
It is important that instructions left by the deceased with regard to personal effects (such as wedding rings) are observed.
The family may also have specific wishes in this respect. If such items are to be removed your Funeral Director should be instructed by the executors and arrangements made for their collection before the funeral.