What to do when someone dies
When someone passes away, there are a number of things that need to be done in the days immediately following their death. [READ MORE]
Obtain a medical certificate of cause of death
The first thing to be done is to obtain a medical certificate showing the cause of death. How it is issued will depend on whether the deceased was at home or in a hospital or care home.
If the person died at home, you should call the deceased's doctor straight away. The doctor will determine the cause of death and issue the medical certificate of death, making it available for you to collect from the surgery. This will need to be collected prior to registration.
If the death occurs in a hospital or care home, the nursing staff or administration team will contact the next of kin and arrange for a doctor to issue the certificate. You will need to collect this and any belongings.
Sometimes, if the doctor cannot determine the cause of death or the person died suddenly and unexpectedly, we will inform you where the Coroner needs to be involved.
Inform the registrar in order to obtain a death certificate
Once the cause of death has been established and the medical certificate issued, it's necessary to inform the registrar, who will issue the death certificate. You will need to make an appointment to see the registrar, and unless a coroner is involved this must be done within five days of the death.
A relative of the deceased usually registers the death. If no relative is available then the duty may be performed by any person present at the death, the occupier of the premises where the death took place, or the person who is accepting responsibility for arranging the funeral. It may be necessary to arrange an appointment with the registrar.
The registrar will ask you to supply the personal details of the deceased, and to take along certain documents. He or she will need to know the following information:
- The full name of the deceased (and maiden name for a married woman)
- The date and place of birth
- The deceased's usual home address
- The deceased's occupation
- The date of birth of a surviving spouse
- Whether the deceased had a pension or allowance from public funds
The registrar will ask you for the following documents:
- The medical certificate of cause of death
- The deceased's birth certificate and marriage certificate
- The deceased's NHS medical card (if available)
The registrar will issue a green certificate for burial or cremation, which is required by us prior to the funeral taking place. Certified copies of the entry of death can be obtained for a small charge – these may be needed for legal or financial purposes.
How we can help
Once the medical certificate has been issued, we will be able to explain the process of registering a death and can make an appointment for you with the registrar. If the death has been referred to the coroner, the registration process may vary – we will advise you accordingly.
We will ask you where you would like the deceased to rest before the day of the funeral. This can be at our funeral home or at home if it is suitable to return them.
Arranging a funeral
We will support you in planning the funeral and take you through the options available to help you tailor the funeral to your needs. [READ MORE]
Our role as funeral director
Our role is to arrange for care of the deceased, offer guidance and support to the family, make arrangements for the funeral service, and provide professional advice.
You can take your time making decisions at this stage; when you are ready, we will be there to finalise the details with you. This discussion can take place at the funeral home or your own home.
We will provide a detailed written estimate covering the entire service, and can advise on costs.
Above all, we aim to ease your burden at this most distressing time by taking on the practical aspects of arranging a funeral, including:
- Organising the collection of your loved one from a hospital, nursing home or home address, and transport to our funeral home
- Caring for your loved one and making a private room available at our premises where family and friends can pay their last respects
- Guiding you through legal processes such as registering the death and completing documentation
- Liaising with the cemetery or crematorium to set the date and time of the funeral
- Paying third party costs such as crematorium fees on your behalf
- Arranging your loved one's journey to the place of the funeral service, and providing vehicles as required for family and mourners
A funeral is an occasion of very personal significance, and one of the first decisions you will be making is the choice of a burial or cremation based on the wishes of the deceased, family tradition, religion or culture. We have experience in arranging religious and non-religious funerals. If you have any special requests or questions, we are here to advise you.
The deceased may have created provisions in their Will, drawn up a funeral plan or made suggestions during their life about how they would like the funeral to be arranged.
If this is not the case, then you and your family will need to decide what is appropriate.
Choices you will need to make at this stage are:
- Whether to have a burial or cremation
- Where the funeral will take place – Church, crematorium chapel, cemetery chapel, graveside or elsewhere
- What type of ceremony to have and who will officiate – a minister, religious leader, humanist, civil celebrant, family relative or friend
- Whether to have flowers, charity donations or both
- Whether an obituary in the local newspaper or posted online with the funeral details is needed
- What your budget is for the funeral
How we can help
We offer a complete service starting from the moment you contact us and will be there to offer emotional support, expert advice and practical help. We will be on hand at any time to answer any questions you may have, and will send you a fully itemised account of the services provided after the funeral has taken place.
Our funeral home has private rooms where family and friends can pay their last respects, and we can also arrange obituaries, floral tributes and memorials.
All the arrangements will be confirmed in writing, and you will receive a detailed estimate of the costs.
We will also help you arrange individual personalised order of service sheets for the funeral.
Products and Services
We have an extensive range of floral designs, coffins and memorials available to suit your requirements so that you can arrange the funeral exactly as your loved one would have wished. Click on the images below to download the individual brochures:
After the funeral
In this section you will find advice on headstones, memorials, cremated remains & managing the affairs of the deceased. [READ MORE]
An acknowledgement notice, placed in a local or national newspaper, is an opportunity for the relatives of the deceased to publicly thank the people who they feel have given them support or assistance.
We will be happy to help you design this notice and place it in the appropriate newspaper.
Memorial masonry will be discussed and advised at the time of arranging the funeral to ensure your request can be met in accordance with regulations at your requested resting place.
We offer an extensive range of memorials. A brochure is available for you to view our range below. Some of the options to consider include:
- Style and colour of lettering
- Type of material, for example stone, granite or marble
- Inclusion of a bespoke design or photo plaque
For existing memorials we can provide added inscriptions, re-lettering and cleaning.
We will be pleased to advise you on other forms of memorial such as planting a tree or sponsoring a commemorative bench or recommend an online obituary. Speak to one of our funeral team for information on how to create an online obituary for your loved one, this is included in your funeral arrangement at no extra cost.
After a cremation
After the funeral, you will need to decide on the final resting place for your loved one's ashes.
There are a number of options and choices in this area and we will be pleased to discuss all possibilities, give advice about local regulations and the costs involved.
We will be pleased to advise and quote for any memorial.
The estate of the deceased
The funeral is one of the first things to be arranged when a loved one passes away. What follows are the legal, tax and administrative matters concerning the deceased’s affairs and estate, many of which need to be attended to immediately. Click here for help and advice.
How we can help
Following the funeral, a fully itemised account of the services provided will be sent to you, and we will be available to answer any questions you may have at this time.
Funeral verses and words
If you're struggling for words to use in an obituary, flower card, memorial inscription, you may find these short verses of some inspiration. [READ MORE]
Resting where no shadows fall.
In memory's garden we meet every day.
Together for ever.
Reunited, free from pain.
Jesus called a little child unto him. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
Earth has one gentle soul less, And Heaven one angel more.
Deep in our hearts a memory is kept, Of one we loved and shall never forget.
God will link the broken chain, As one by one we meet again. In our hearts he will always stay, Loved and remembered every day.
Their life a beautiful memory, Their absence a silent grief.
God bless you and keep you in His care, Until we meet again.
You fell asleep without goodbye, But memories of you will never die.
Time may pass and fade away, But memories of you will always stay.
In Gods care you rest above, In our hearts you rest with love.
Words are few, thoughts are deep, Memories of you we will always keep.
Happy memories silently kept, No need for words, we’ll never forget.
Simple words but very true, We'll always love and remember you.
A cluster of memories sprinkled with tears, Wishing God had spared you a few more years.
Tenderly we treasure the past, With memories that will always last.
Partings come and hearts are broken, Loved ones go with words unspoken.
Never selfish, always loving and kind, These are memories you leave behind.
Ours is just a simple prayer, God bless and keep you in His care.
Bereavement help and advice
When someone dies, it can be difficult to know where to turn for advice about what to do. In these pages we help you through the process, explaining what to do in the days following the death and how your funeral director can help with the funeral arrangements. [READ MORE]
Writing letters of sympathy and condolence
Writing a letter of sympathy and condolence can be very difficult – expressing your feelings and finding the right words is often a struggle. However, such demonstrations of love and respect – showing how a loved one positively affected the lives of others – can bring great solace to the bereaved, who may keep the letters for years and read them over and over again.
The purpose of a sympathy letter is to honour the life of the deceased and to support the bereaved, and the best letters are those that come from the heart – with personal memories, simply expressed.
Write rather than type your letter, and keep it fairly short. Try to put yourself in the place of the person who is grieving, and think about what would help you in the same situation.
While there are no "rules" about writing letters of condolence, it can help to structure your letter so as to organise your thoughts.
- Acknowledge the loss – say how you heard the news and what your reaction was, but don't dwell on the cause of death or any previous pain and suffering.
- Offer your condolences simply and sincerely.
- Describe your relationship with the deceased, how you felt about them, and what you will miss about them.
- Share your own memories of the deceased – a personal story which illustrates what you liked about them or highlights one of their unique strengths or qualities.
- Offer your help and support. Be specific if you can (for example, do the weekly shop or look after the children one afternoon), but don't make promises you can't keep.
- Extend your condolences to other members of the family.
- Close with an expression of affection and support.
Here are some sample letters to use as the basis for your own words:
I am so sorry to hear about the tragic death of your husband. Alan was an inspiration to everyone he knew, and It was a shock to read the news in the paper. I can't begin to understand how you must be feeling.
Our weekly round of golf was the highlight of the week. Although Alan was the more talented player and nearly always won, he was never anything other than a sporting and generous winner, modestly putting his victories down to luck rather than skill. He will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues at the clubhouse.
I would be honoured to share our memories of Alan at the funeral service if you wish.
My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.
With deepest sympathy.
It was with great sadness that John and I learned about the death of your mother. Elizabeth was enormously proud of you and your sisters, and loved to keep us up to date with her grandchildren's progress.
Elizabeth was one of the kindest, most caring people we knew, and always went out of her way to help friends and neighbours. She used to look after our cat when we went away on holiday, giving him treats and fussing him so much that he was quite disappointed when we returned. We have many cherished memories of "Busy Lizzie" and will always remember her ready smile and open heart.
If you need someone to keep an eye on your mother's house or forward on her mail until her affairs are sorted, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Please extend our condolences to Carrie, Jean and the rest of your family.
With our affection and sympathy.
Deborah and Charles Smith