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The death of a loved one can always leave us in shock and many of us struggle to deal with the next vital steps. Below, we use our years of expertise to answer the common questions and queries surrounding funeral arrangements.

What do I do now?

Someone very dear to you has passed away:

At Home:

At a Nursing Home:

At Hospital:

Any death that occurs suddenly or unexpectedly, whether at home, following an operation possibly, or an accident ,will be reported to the Coroner. This will also be the case if someone is in hospital less than 24 hours prior to death.

If this is necessary the Coroner will usually be contacted either by your GP, the hospital doctor or the police.

Once a Coroner is involved he may wish to conduct a post mortem in order to establish the cause of death but you will be informed if this is the case.

The Coroner's Officer will keep you informed of the procedures but you may wish to contact your Funeral Director for further assistance and advice.

A Coroner's post mortem may result in the holding of an inquest and depending on the outcome may possibly delay the funeral but the Coroner's Officer will speak to you about this.

Registration of Death

Registration of the death will always take place in the area where death has occurred.

Clarification of which Registrar of Births and Deaths to attend can be obtained from your Funeral Director, the Nursing Home, Hospital Patient Affairs Officer/Bereavement Office or the Coroner's Officer.

We have listed the details of our most local Registrars of Births and Deaths and the information you will be required to take with you.

Please do not register without first informing us should either a breakage during the last year or death during an operation be involved.

Details required by Registrar:

Borough of Harrow
Civic Centre
Station Road
HA1 2UX 
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 9.00am to 1.00pm & 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Tel: 020 8863 5611 9.00am - 1.00pm  2.00pm - 4.00pm

Borough of Brent
Brent Civic Centre
Engineers Way
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 5.00pm Saturday-9.00am to 4.00pm and Sunday 9.00am to 1.00pm

Tel: 020 8937 1010

Borough of Hillingdon
Civic Centre
UB8 1UW 
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 9.30am to 4.30pm 
Tel: 01895 250418 (a.m. only) 
Tel: 01895 250761 (General Office)

Three Rivers District Council
Watford Registration Office
31 Hempstead Road
WD17 3EY
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 5.00pm
Tel: 0300 1234045 (Appointments only)

Certificates provided by the Registrar of Deaths and their uses

Should a Coroner's post mortem have taken place then the Coroner's Officer will advise you when and where to attend for registration.

If a burial is the chosen form for the funeral then in most cases the above documents will be issued. However if there is to be an inquest then the Certificate for Burial or Cremation will be replaced by an interim certificate.

If cremation is the chosen form for the funeral then the Certificate for Burial or Cremation will not be issued but a different form will be issued direct to the Funeral Director.

The next step

You will now be giving some thought as to the type of funeral that would be most appropriate for your loved one.

It may well be that your loved one has left specific instructions with regard to the type and format for their funeral. This may be in the form of instructions in their Will or it may be in the form of a Prepayment Funeral Plan. If this is the case then some of your thinking work is taken care of and you can go to the Funeral Director armed with instructions and if necessary Prepayment Plan certificates.

If your loved one has left no specific instructions then the choice will be up to you as to whether the funeral is a burial or a cremation and where it is to take place. We as Funeral Directors will be able to guide you on this and we will also make all the necessary bookings for you. It is usually best to allow us to do this as it will entail liasing with churches, celebrants, cemeteries or crematoria in order to get the day and time mutually convenient to all. We would of course discuss suitable days and times with you first.

A funeral does not have to be religious and does not have to include a full church service. We will be happy to discuss all the options with you and help you to work out what is going to constitute the most appropriate funeral for your loved one.

When you are ready to make the funeral arrangements please telephone either of our offices to arrange a mutually convenient appointment to attend one of our Funeral Homes, or we can arrange for someone to visit you in the comfort of your own home.

Our telephones are manned for emergency help and enquiries 24 hours, 7 days per week.

Things to do after death/the funeral

Items to be returned

Passport, Driving Licence, Vehicle Registration documents, car Insurance policies, TV Licence, Season tickets and any club membership cards, all National Insurance papers.

If property is unoccupied:

Check that all windows and doors are locked and if applicable, the cat flap is secured. If it is wintertime, ensure that some form of heating is left on. It might be advisable to let a neighbour have a key for emergencies and to remove any build up of free post. If applicable ensure the alarm is in good working order and turned on.

Related issues

It is advisable to also check through any paperwork in the deceased's home in case there are documents pertaining to a Prepayment Funeral Plan and also any other personal documents.