Someone in my family has passed away. What happens next?
If the death was expected, the doctor who has been treating the deceased will complete the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death. This needs to be taken to the Registrar in the district where the person has passed away. They register the death and produce Death Certificates and give you the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (commonly known as the ‘green form’). We take this green form from you and pass it to the cemetery, churchyard or crematorium as part of the arrangements we make. This is why we recommend you see us after the death is registered. Obviously, if the death occurred at home, we will have had some contact from you and will have already brought the Deceased into our care at one of our Chapels of Rest. If not, we will get you to sign a release form which gives us permission to collect the deceased. If the death was not expected, or if the deceased was not seen by a doctor within the last 14 days, the procedure can be different. Please see the tab for ‘Sudden Deaths.’
How quickly can I have the funeral?
It depends on whether the deceased is to be buried or cremated, and whether the death was expected or not. When someone is cremated, there are several pieces of paperwork which have to be at the crematorium at least three working days before the funeral takes place. If someone passes away unexpectedly and the coroner is involved, a funeral cannot be held until any necessary tests have been carried out and permission is given for the body to be released. Broadly speaking, once the death has been registered, the funeral can take place after about a week. It is difficult to make arrangements on a shorter timescale, although we will always try our best.
We will also have to take into account the availability of the Crematorium, Cemetery, and/or place of Worship where the funeral is to take place. These are booked on a ‘first come, first served’ basis over which the funeral director has no control. We also have to consider the availability of who is to officiate the service if you have someone specific in mind. Some days of the week, and some times of day, are more popular than others and so tend to be booked further in advance. If you can be flexible about the day and time you would like the funeral, you may be able to have it sooner than if you have specific requirements. The funeral director tends to be most flexible and can usually accommodate all requests but there will be rare occasions when, due to commitments we have already made, we may be unable to provide our services exactly when you would like them. It is very important, therefore, that if you have thoughts on the day and time of the service, you advise us as soon as possible.
In our experience, many people prefer to wait a little longer to have the funeral in order to ensure their family can make arrangements to attend and to ensure they have fully planned the service. This can be especially useful if you would like a printed Order of Service or to include special music, and we would tend to suggest that a couple of extra days can never go amiss. This does, however, mean that the average waiting time for a funeral increases as the more popular times of day are booked further in advance. As a guide, at present, most funerals are taking place approximately two weeks after the death.
Someone who needs to come to the funeral is on holiday. What do I do?
Don’t worry. There is no necessity or legal obligation to have the funeral within a certain time of someone passing away. We will be only too happy to keep the deceased in our care until the funeral can be arranged. We can either arrange the funeral now for when you know will be convenient or wait until nearer the time and arrange things then, although please do bear in mind the timescales involved as the wait to have the funeral will be determined by when the booking is made, not the length of time since the death.
The deceased didn’t want a funeral. Is that OK?
Of course. Our staff will treat the deceased with all respect and care and ensure the burial or cremation goes smoothly, but no-one needs to attend. You should remember that this might impact on people who knew the deceased and consider having a ‘get together’ or more formal memorial service so that people can come together, share memories and have an opportunity to say goodbye.
How do I know whether someone should be buried or cremated?
If you haven’t talked about it, this can be a difficult decision to make. The deceased may have written a will which specifies their wishes, or they may have discussed them with others. An older person will probably have made their wishes known to friends or family; a younger person may not have done. Obviously there may be religious or cultural considerations but otherwise the choice is down to the Applicant of the funeral. We can only advise on all the options and leave you to make the wise choice.
What does a funeral cost?
The cost depends on burial or cremation, whether there is a service at a different location first, who officiates, the choice of coffin, whether you require limousines and how many, and many other factors. If you would like a detailed quote than please contact us, or see our prices to learn more about what we charge. We can advise you on ways to reduce the cost if you need. Those on low incomes may also be eligible for help after someone passes away, please see our Resources page for more.
We want to carry the coffin. Is that OK?
This is something we recommend against. While understanding that the idea of bearing the coffin is very important to some people, it is our experience that it is more difficult that people expect, both physically and emotionally. It is more technical than might be thought, as the carrying of the coffin involves removing it from the hearse, and walking a long distance (sometimes up steps) before it is placed securely. If you have attended funerals and believe the carrying of the coffin appears to be easy, we would respectfully suggest that this is because the funeral staff are professional, experienced, well trained and not emotionally involved in the proceedings. We also tend to think the funeral is a time for the family and close friends to be together. If you are insistent, we would ask that all the coffin bearers come to see us together for a practice carry.
We wish to provide our own coffin/ we only wish to buy a coffin from you/ we want to carry out the funeral ourselves. Can you help?
Absolutely. Our services do not come in packages. Whether you would like just a coffin, or just a hearse, or you only require us to care for the deceased until the arrangements are made, please let us know. We will charge you fairly for what we do. Our advice is willingly given, and always free.
Do you accommodate different religious beliefs?
Yes. Let us know what you need and we will do our best to provide it. In the past we have carried out funerals for people of all beliefs – and none.