Arranging a Funeral
Funeral arrangements can either be made in our offices or the Applicant's own home, if preferred. In order to make the funeral arrangements, we will need to know if you require a burial or a cremation. If you are unsure, you may find our section entitled "Burial or Cremation?" helpful.
Once you have decided upon burial or cremation, we will need to know:
- Full name and address of the deceased
- Age of the deceased on their last birthday
- Place, date and time of death
- Name and address of General Practitioner
- Marital Status of the deceased
- If the deceased was married - name, address and telephone number of spouse
- If the deceased was not married - name, address and telephone number of next of kin or person taking responsibility for the funeral arrangements (the Applicant)
- Confirmation of whether the deceased had a pacemaker fitted (pacemakers must be removed before cremation)
- Did the deceased have a Pre-payment Funeral Plan?
Burial or Cremation
There are many things to consider about burials, please see below:
- Is there an existing family grave or plot? If so, we can arrange for this to be reopened.
- We can arrange for an existing Memorial on the grave to be removed prior to the burial and replaced afterwards.
- Who is the registered owner of the existing grave? Maybe the owner of the grave or plot is the deceased; in this case, the burial is referred to as -- Owner Burial.
- Unfortunately in some areas of Havering, burial space may no longer be available or is limited to local residents. In some cases, a double fee may be charged for the burial of non-residents.
- Some burial sites do allow you to reserve and purchase a grave or plot.
- Before you reserve or purchase a grave or plot, check with the burial site to the number of years included in the Rights of Burial. These vary and the number of years can range from 10 to 100 years.
- Woodland Burials are now available in many areas in the Country, and we can advise you of these.
- Many Cemeteries have their own Chapel where you may hold a Service prior to the interment. Alternatively you may wish to hold the Service in Church.
- If the Memorial is removed for the interment, it may not be permitted to be replaced on the grave for a period of anything from six to twelve months. This is to allow for the ground to settle.
- After the burial, you may wish to have an additional inscription added to an existing Memorial, or purchase a new Memorial. We can assist you with either option.
There are three categories of burial ground, each governed by their own Rules and Regulations:
- Cemeteries administered by Local Authorities
- Privately owned burial sites including Woodland Burial
There are at least four different types of grave to consider:
- Lawn Grave - These are laid out in the normal way, however, restrictions are placed on the type of memorial allowed. A small border being prepared at the head or foot of the grave in which a memorial in the shape of a headstone or vase may be placed. The actual grave may be grassed to enable the cemetery staff to maintain the area as a lawn.
- Traditional Grave - This type of grave can accommodate a full memorial which covers the whole grave space, often in the form of a headstone with kerbs. The enclosed area is covered in chippings, grassed, laid out as a flower bed or slabbed. Unfortunately, not many cemeteries allow this type of grave, due to the high cost of maintenance.
- Public or Common Grave - This type of grave is not purchased, the only fee payable being the cost of the interment. There are many restrictions with this type of grave such as, there may be other un-related deceased already buried in this grave, there is no guarantee that other members of your family may be interred in the grave, and that no form of memorial can be placed on the grave.
- Family Vault - This type of grave is essentially a closed 'room' built of masonry, either completely underground or subterranean. After the interment, the coffin is sealed in the chamber with masonry and could be left exposed or behind iron grills. This type of grave has normally been in the family for many generations.
There are a few things to consider about cremation, please see below:
- Cremation usually costs less than a burial.
- The Funeral Service can be held at the Crematorium Chapel or elsewhere, for example, Church, followed by a Committal Service at the Crematorium Chapel.
- There is a strict time limit for the length of the Service at most Crematoria, unless you book double time.
- You will need to decide upon the final resting place of the cremated remains. These can be either scattered or interred at the Crematorium, interred in a family grave (grave owner authority will be required) or you may decide to scatter them privately at a favourite place. If requested, the Crematorium can hold the cremated remains on temporary deposit for anything up to one month.
- Many Cemeteries and Churchyards have a designated area within their grounds for the burial of cremated remains; these are referred to as Cremation Plots. In some instances, a Memorial is permitted to be placed onto the plot.
- You may wish for the cremated remains to be scattered or buried at Sea, or even, forwarded to a family member living abroad to be kept at home.
Pre-Payment Funeral Plan
There comes a time in all our lives when it’s natural to think about loved ones and what we’d like to leave them.
By deciding on the arrangements and paying for your funeral director’s services in advance you can gain peace of mind – knowing that loved ones will be spared unnecessary distress and expense at the time of need.
No matter how much the services of your funeral director may rise in cost in years to come, neither you nor your loved ones will be asked for a penny more for them.
A pre-paid funeral plan isn’t something you rush into so Frank Rivett & Sons will be more than happy to advise you if you telephone or call in to any one of our branches.
Our pre-payment funeral plans are provided by Golden Charter Funeral Plans. Please click on the link for more information.
Registering the Death
If following the death, the doctor can certify as to the cause of death, he or she will ask the family to call at either the hospital or surgery to collect the death certificate. This certificate is known as 'The Medical Certificate of cause of death'. The certificate is free of charge and will be in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar.
The death must be registered with five days of the death, unless the Registrar says this period may be exceeded.
The following people can register the death:
- A close relative of the deceased
- A relative in attendance during the deceased's last illness.
- A relative living in the district where the death occurred.
- A person present at the death.
- The person responsible for organising the funeral, for example, Solicitor.
You will need to make an appointment to register the death and you will need to take the following with you:
- The Medical Certificate of the cause of death.
- The deceased's medical card, if possible.
- The deceased's birth and marriage certificates, if available.
The Registrar will ask you:
- The deceased's first names and surname (and the maiden name, where appropriate).
- The full postal address of the deceased.
- The deceased date of birth (town and country if born in the UK, and country if born abroad)
- The date and place of death.
- The deceased's occupation and the name and occupation of their spouse.
- If the deceased was married, the date and place of birth of the surviving widow or widower.
Upon registration, the Registrar will give you a Certified Copy of an Entry in the Register of Deaths (white form). This certificate is often referred to as the 'Death Certificate' and you may need this for official purposes such as closing bank accounts, Will, pensions claims, insurance policies, etc. It is advised that you obtain at least two copies of the certificate which cost £3.50 each. The Funeral Director does not need a copy of this certificate.
A Registrars Certificate for the Burial or Cremation (otherwise known as the Green Certificate) will be given and this must be given to the Funeral Director who will then forward it to the appropriate authority.
The certificate of registration or notification of death is needed to claim benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), formerly known as the D.S.S. (Social Fund).
If the death is sudden, other than an obvious accident such as a road accident and a doctor has not seen the deceased during the last 14 days, then HM Coroner (England and Wales) or Procurator Fiscal (Scotland) may need to be involved.
HM Coroner will decide whether to hold a post-mortem examination to establish the cause of death; this should not delay the funeral. The Coroner's Officer will keep the next of kin informed about what to do.
The Pathologist will inform the HM Coroner of the result of the examination and if the death is from natural causes, HM Coroner will inform the Registrar; who then registers the death. The Registrar will only issue "The Registrars Certificate for Burial or Cremation" if burial is required.
If the case is to be a Cremation, HM Coroner will issue a Coroner's E Form for cremation. This will be sent directly to the Funeral Director.
The next of kin will then be able to attend the Registrars to collect the Certified Copy of an Entry in the Register of Deaths; the white form necessary for the official purposes such as closing bank accounts, etc.
If the death is not form natural causes, HM Coroner will open an inquest into the death. This will happen within five days of the death. If this is the case, the funeral may be delayed.
If the cause of death is given in evidence at the opening of the inquest, HM Coroner will usually allow burial or cremation to take place. If the cause of death is not established, or death is due to homicide (or a person is to be prosecuted), HM Coroner will only allow a burial to take place.
Wills, Probate and Tax
Issues of wills, inheritance, tax and winding up of affairs of the deceased go beyond what this basic consumers' guide to funerals can cover. For many of these issues, some sort of legal advice may be required.
It is important to find the Will as soon as possible. This is a legal document or signed letter left by the deceased giving instructions on what should happen after his/her death and how the estate should be divided. Look amongst personal papers at home, in the bank, with the deceased's lawyer/solicitor, or with relatives. Whether or not the will is found, the next stage is the appointment of executors/administrators.
And remember, the Will states the wishes of the deceased. It might state:
- what the person wished to happen to their body
- whether they wished to be buried or cremated
- whether they wished to donate their organs
- what sort of funeral they wanted
- which person should be appointed as an executor, responsible for paying debts and dealing with the estate of the deceased
- what should happen to the deceased's money, property and possessions (the estate)
- which person is nominated to act as a guardian to any children
If there is no Will, the personal representative shares out the estate according to rules that consider the rights of the surviving spouse, children, parents and other close blood relatives. For details contact the Probate Registry at:
First Avenue House
42 - 49 High Holburn
(020) 7947 6000
or in Scotland, the local Sheriff Court Commissary Office.
The person who deals with the deceased's possessions is known as the personal representative (also known as the executor if they are named as such in the Will, or the administrator if there is no executor named or no Will). In Scotland, a personal representative is known as the executor.
If you are a personal representative, you may have to apply to prove the Will (probate) or, if there is no Will, apply for letters of administration, or in Scotland, confirmation. This will give you permission to pay the bills and deal with the estate. The leaflet 'Do you need a grant of probate' states the circumstances under which probate may be required and gives phone numbers for all probate registries and sub-registries. The leaflet is available from registrars (Registration in England and Wales, Registration in Scotland and Registration in Ireland) and Citizens Advice Bureaux. The leaflet and much other probate material can be found at www.courtservice.gov.uk (publications are under forms and leaflets). In Scotland the relevant forms can be obtained from the local Sheriff Court Commissary Office.
Probate registries (staffed) are listed under P in the business numbers section of the phone book. If there is no probate registry in your phone book, ask at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
The personal representative is responsible for paying all the deceased's debts, taxes and expenses. They make the payments from the estate, not from their own income or savings. Only when those duties are finished, can the personal representative share out the rest of the estate.
In the event of death, the tax office should be notified as soon as possible.
The Inland Revenue produces a leaflet, IR 45, 'What to do about tax when someone dies'. The information in this leaflet is also available on their website at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/pdfs/ir45.htm.
It gives information about income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. There are sections about the responsibilities of personal representatives and trustees, and about the tax treatment of beneficiaries.