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 utilise our years of experience to answer the most frequent questions and queries surrounding funeral arrangements.
Someone very dear to you has passed away:
At home: Call your doctor's surgery for your GP or a locum to visit and certify that death has occurred. Telephone your chosen Funeral Director for further advice as to what to do next. Your Funeral Director will be able to arrange to come and collect your loved one at a suitably convenient time and take them into their care. You may call at any time of the day or night.
At a nursing home: The Nursing Home Staff will make all the immediate necessary arrangements for certification. They will also contact a Funeral Director of your choice who will bring your loved one into their care. You can then contact your chosen Funeral Director when you are ready, for further help and advice.
At hospital: The Hospital Staff will make all arrangements for certification of cause of death and can make arrangements for you to spend some time with your loved one if they have the necessary facilities. The Hospital Staff will also advise you of when to visit the Bereavement Office/Patient Affairs Office to collect the medical certificate of cause of death. Please be advised that should death occur during a weekend or Public Holiday there may be a slight delay before you are able to collect the certificate.
Contact your chosen Funeral Director who will then advise and help you as to what to do next. 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, which depending on the outcome, may delay the funeral, but the Coroner's Officer will speak to you about this.
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.
• Full Name and Address of Deceased
• Spouse's Full Name & Occupation
• Medical Card If Available
• Date & Place of Birth
• Maiden Name If Applicable
• Certificate of Cause of Death
Borough of Harrow
Civic Centre Station Road
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 Hillingdon
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
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 5.00pm
Tel: 0300 1234045 (Appointments only)
Brent Civic Center,
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm
Tel: 020 8937 1010 (Appointments only)
Certificate for Burial or Cremation - this is a Green coloured document which is required by the Funeral Director. A White form is also required for Social Security purposes.
Certified Copy of Entry of Death - this will be required for Probate purposes, by banks, building societies, insurance companies etc. You will more than likely require several copies of this, so it is best to order them whilst at the Registrar's to save any delay later. A photocopy will not be accepted in place of an original. 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 directly to the Funeral Director.
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 liaising 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.
Car Insurance: you are not legally insured to drive if the Policy is in the name of the deceased.
Social Services/District Nurse: return equipment and cancel any Hospital and/or doctor's appointments.
Contact the deceased's Employer or professional Association together with the Inland Revenue. Social Security: cancel any direct payment into bank/building society accounts etc.
Local government: cancel Housing/Rates benefits Notify the Gas and Electricity boards and also the telephone company - this may be to cancel amenities or amend account details.
Contact the Post Office to redirect mail if necessary (a small charge is made for this service). We can also provide you with details to enable cancellation of unwanted mail addressed to the deceased.
Contact Credit Card companies, Banks and Building Societies even if accounts are in joint names, as you will need to amend the details. Investments and Insurance policies: Premium Bonds are not transferable, but the Post Office will provide you with a form for completion and submission to the Bonds and Stock Office.
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
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 the post. If applicable, ensure the alarm is in good working order and turned on.
Ministers/Celebrants: We will contact them on your behalf and furnish them with your relevant contact details.
Flowers: We have listed some of the local florists below.
Donations in lieu of flowers: Should you decide that donations are more appropriate than floral tributes we are happy to receive, list and acknowledge all donations on your behalf and will then forward them to your chosen charity with a letter to you confirming the total amount received. We do make a small administrative charge for this service.
Solicitors: You may wish to consult a solicitor for advice as to the best course of action to take regarding the execution of any wills, debts, distribution of the estate or what to do in the case of there being no will. The Will may also hold instructions regarding the funeral arrangements.
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 any other personal documents.