Frequently Asked Questions
What if the death occurred suddenly?
If somebody dies suddenly:
When a death occurs unexpectedly it is normal for the coroner to be involved. The procedures are somewhat different when this happens; You should still contact us and we will assist and guide you through this process, which will vary according to the particular circumstances.
What if the person has passed away at home?
If somebody passes away at home:
Your frst action should be to telephone the deceased’s doctor who is required to confirm the death- a list of local G.P. contact details (including out of hours) can be found here (this link will open up in a new page)
The doctor will then issue the “medical cause of death certificate” providing he / she is satisfied with the cause of death.
Please be aware: You may be asked to collect the certificate from the surgery at a later time.
When the doctor has attended should you should contact us at this time, for advice, information, to begin making arrangements or to arrange for your loved one to be taken to the chapel of rest when you are ready.
Please be aware: Until the doctor has attended, UK Law prevents us from being able to bring the deceased to our chapel of rest. We are more than happy to offer advice and information in the mean time.
What if the Person has passed away in hospital?
If somebody dies in hospital:
The staff will usually arrange for the doctor to issue the medical cause of death certificate.
You can also contact us at this time, for advice, information or to begin making arrangements.
What is required for registering a death?
There are many Questions about registering a death – we try to answer the most common ones below:
Who can register a death?
1. A relative of the deceased who was present at the death or in attendance during the last illness
2. A relative of the deceased residing or being in the sub district where the death occurred
3. A person present at the death
4. The occupier of the house/public institution if he knew of the happening of the death
5. The person causing the disposal of the body.
What information will the registrar need?
- The date & place of death
- The full name (& maiden surname if applicable)
- The date & place of birth
- The occupation (and if the deceased was a married woman or widow, the name & occupation of her husband)
- The usual address
- Whether the deceased was in receipt if a pension or allowance from public funds
- If the deceased was married the d.o.b of the surviving widow or widower
- The deceased’s medical card should be delivered to the registrar
Who needs to be informed of a death?
Once you have registered the death, there are a number of different organisations that need to be informed. Many can be told via the Tell Us Once scheme (see below question) and will depend on the circumstances of the deceased but will generally also include their employer, insurance companies, and financial institutions.
What is the tell us once scheme?
The tell us once scheme notifies the following services, saving you from having to notify each one individually:
- Local council services
- The identity & passport service
- Department of work & pensions
- HM revenue & customs
To take advantage of this service you will need to provide where applicable:
- Driving licence
- National insurance number
- Blue badge
What does a coroner do?
A coroner’s duty is to establish the cause of death when a doctor is unable to issue a cause of death certificate. This may be because the doctor has not seen the person within fourteen days of death, the death occurred during an operation, or the death was sudden and unexplained, or as the result of an accident or suspicious circumstances.
Why could a death be referred to the coroner?
There are many circumstances that could result in a death being referred to the coroner.
Some of the most common reasons would be if:
- The cause of death is unknown
- The deceased was not seen by a doctor within the 14 days before death.
- The death was violent or unnatural or was suspicious
- The death may be due to an accident
- The death may be due to self-neglect or neglect by others
- The death may be due to an industrial disease or related to the deceased’s employment
- The death may be due to an abortion
- The death occurred during an operation or before recovery from the effects of an anaesthetic
- The death may be a suspected suicide
- The death occurred during or shortly after detention in police or prison custody
Someone has died abroad, can you help?
Yes. The situation varies depending on the circumstances of the death and the country where it occurred, so please get in touch and we can advise and assist in bringing the deceased back to this country.
The death occurred here but we would like the funeral in another country, can you help?
Yes of course, we can help with funeral arrangements throughout the UK and can arrange for the deceased to be repatriated to abroad. We can also arrange for a memorial service to be held here before or after the repatriation if you wish.
What are Funeral Plans?
Funeral plans are a way of looking to the future.
Some, having gone through a bereavement themselves, want to relieve some of the stress of making funeral arrangements for their own family by making a funeral plan. To find out more click here
Taking out a funeral plan also reduces the financial burden of a bereavement. In recent years, funeral expenses have increased rapidly, well in excess of inflation, as disbursements, which are the costs that funeral directors pay on your behalf, to the cemetery and crematorium for example, continue to rise.
We offer prepaid funeral plans by one of the UK’s Largest provider of Funeral Plans who deal solely with Independent Funeral Directors. The funeral plan can either be paid in entirety when the arrangements are made, over 12 months with interest free payments, following a deposit or even over a longer period, though interest will be charged. There are even fixed monthly payments and flexible payment methods available. We can provide information and quotations on each payment method to enable you to make the decision of which would be the best option for you.
Is my funeral plan money safe?
The simple answer is “Yes!”
The money is held in trust by a separate entity so even in the highly unlikely event that the funeral plan provider (Golden Charter) ceases trading the trust entity will not. It is not held by either us or Golden Charter itself. Payment will only be made to ourselves once the funeral has taken place, and so should you move to a new area or indeed if our business was no longer here, your money would be safe in the trust and your plan could be transferred to another funeral director.
The trust has “ring-fenced” your money to ensure that what you expect to receive is what you will get.
As a provider of financial products the Golden Charter is registered with the FPA, the Financial Planning Authority.
Can I take a funeral plan out for someone else?
Yes of course. You can take out the plan and we will arrange for all correspondence to be sent to you – just contact us to receive a Plan Pack or arrange an appointment.
What are Professional Funeral Fees?
Funeral costs are split into two sections:
Our fees, and disbursements.
What are Professional Fees?
Our fees include our professional services fee, which includes making all necessary arrangements, arranging all documentation, all necessary staff for the funeral service and cortege, care of the deceased, and visitation to the chapel of rest if you wish.
In addition the provision of a traditional hearse, limousines where required, and your chosen coffin also come under our fees.
Please note: Disbursements of a funeral are different to Professional Fees – refer below to see the costs of disbursements
What are Funeral Disbursements?
Funeral costs are split into two sections:
Our fees, and disbursements.
Disbursements are the fees that we pay on your behalf. They are so varied that it would be impossible to print an accurate list here however they will be fully itemised on the estimate provided to you at the time that the funeral arrangements are discussed.
Typically they can include items such as the Crematorium, cemetery and/or church fees, minster or celebrants fee, stonemasons fees for removal of a headstone, newspaper notices, order of service sheets, flowers, musicians or organists, catering, dove release and so on.
Please note: We require the disbursements to be paid upon finalising the funeral arrangements, prior to the funeral.
A headstone was removed what happens now?
If a burial plot or ashes vault has a headstone then it will have been removed to allow for the funeral to take place. Following the removal, the headstone will be kept in storage.
If you did not select us as your stonemason then you will need to contact your pre-specified stonemason for further help at this stage.
If however, we removed the stone for you, one of the disbursements listed on the funeral invoice will have been ‘removal and re-fixing of headstone.’ This ensures that the cost of placing the headstone back on the grave is covered, and can be done as soon as the ground is ready.
This cost does not of course cover any further inscription or work that you may wish to be done on the stone, and the stone will not be replaced until we have made contact with you to discuss whether you wish to have any additional work done to the stone.
If you wish, a proof showing a suggested inscription will be forwarded to you, together with an estimate showing itemised costs for the suggested inscription together with any optional, recommended renovation work such as re-guilding, repainting, cleaning or repair. You are of course free to choose any inscription for the headstone and so you will have the opportunity to make any changes or additions to the suggested inscription and to choose any renovation work.
You will need to confirm the order, agree a final proof and sign the cemetery permit application before any work can be undertaken. Payment is also required for the additional work before the memorial is replaced.
If you do not wish to have an inscription added, the stone will be re-fixed as soon as the ground is ready, and weather permitting.
If we do not hear from you, all memorials where no order has been received, will be re-fixed after 9 months.
Please note that should you not wish to have the memorial refixed following the funeral, perhaps because it is in poor condition, or you would prefer to select a new stone, please let us know and we will not invoice for the re-fixing on the funeral invoice. However please note that in these circumstances, the memorial will be destroyed, unless other arrangements are made.