What to do first

Luckily for many of us arranging a funeral for a loved one isn’t something we have to do very often throughout our lifetime. However when we do sadly lose a loved one, this brings about many questions, the first being “what do we do first?” Grief can be a powerful emotion and the need to think clearly is often difficult to achieve.

After the loss of a loved one, and only when you’re ready to, call Archway Funeral Services. Our team will be on hand to help you, we will talk you through the steps you need to take in registering a death and obtaining the correct forms needed. Our experience means that we can take the pressure away from you during your time of grief.

Archway Funeral Services are available around the clock to help and offer advice and support as questions arise. Please do not hesitate to contact us as soon as you feel able, even if this is outside of normal hours. We are here to help and assist you with anything you might need.

My loved one has died at home

When a death which has been expected occurs at home, the doctor who has been treating your loved one should be contacted. The Doctor or a colleague will attend to confirm that a death has occurred.Once this has happened, contact Archway Funeral Services on 01773 749028 and we can arrange to bring your loved one into our care.

We are at your service 24 hours a day 365 days a year so rest assured our highest attention at all times.

If your loved one has passed away at home and you have asked us to bring your loved one into our care, we will provide you with an estimated time during your initial call.

When Archway Funeral Services arrive, our Private Ambulance will aim to park as close to the property as possible and if permitted on the driveway itself, this ensures our duties are carried out quietly and discreetly, and with complete dignity.

If your loved one has seen their doctor during the last 14 days of their illness a medical certificate should be issued stating the cause of death, this certificate will then need to be taken to The Registrar within 5 days to formally register the death and obtain a death certificate.

Candle and white flowers
Couple holding hands at a graveyard

My loved one has died in hospital

When a death occurs in hospital, the staff nurse will arrange for a doctor to issue the Medical Certificate of Death, which you will need to collect along with any belongings. Contact Archway Funeral Services and we will arrange a suitable time to discuss your requirements and arrange to bring your loved one into our care.

My loved one has died in a nursing home

When a death occurs at a nursing home, the nursing home staff will liaise with the doctor and then contact Archway Funeral Services to arrange for our family to bring your loved one into our care.

My loved one has died unexpectedly

When someone dies unexpectedly, it is quite normal for the Coroner to be involved, especially if the person who has died has not been under a doctor’s care within the last 14 days.

Her Majesty’s Coroner is automatically involved and an investigation is begun. If your loved one has not been under a doctor’s care on a regular basis, the emergency doctor, or any police involved, will inform the relevant Coroner’s office. Your initial contact in the event of an unexpected or suspicious death, should be with the Police, however we are on hand to offer support and advice when you need us.

Please inform the police officer present if you would prefer Archway Funeral Services to attend, we will then liaise with the police and arrange to take your loved one to the Coroner’s chapel of rest for you.

Once the Coroner informs you that your loved one can now be taken to the funeral directors of your choice, contact Archway Funeral Services and we can arrange for your loved one to brought into our care.

My loved one has died away from home

When someone dies away from home, whether it be in the UK or overseas, contact Archway Funeral Services and we can make all the necessary arrangements.

Religion, death and dolor  - funeral and cemetery; funeral with coffin

Registering a Death

In England and Wales, it is a legal requirement to register the death within 5 days. You will need to attend a registration appointment at the register office that has jurisdiction over the area where the person died.

Please telephone Archway Funeral Services if you require any assistance in making an appointment at the relevant register office, or if you have any questions relating to the registration process.

Who can register a death?

The death must be registered by one of the following individuals:

  • A close surviving relative of the deceased, usually a spouse, child or parent
  • A person present at the moment of death
  • An occupant of the house in which the person died
  • An appointed official from the hospital or institution in which the person was a patient or resident
  • A person who is making arrangements with the funeral director, usually the executor of the deceased person’s estate

Most deaths are registered by a close relative; the registrar would normally only allow other people to do so if there are no relatives available.

What documents do I need to register a death?

There are several important documents and pieces of information that you will require in order to register the death.

The documents that are required are as follows:

  • The medical certificate of the cause of death, signed by the deceased person’s GP or by a doctor who cared for them during their last illness
  • If available, the deceased’s birth certificate, marriage certificate and NHS medical card should also be presented

Facts and information that are required:

  • The person’s full name at the time of death
  • Any names previously used, including maiden surname
  • The person’s date, town and country of birth
  • The person’s last address
  • The person’s current or former occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of any surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Details of any state pension and any other welfare benefits of which the person was in receipt

What documents will be issued by the registrar?

If there is no investigation being conducted by HM Coroner, and there is to be no post-mortem examination, the registrar will issue the following documents:

  • A certified copy of an entry into the register of deaths (“The Death Certificate”). This will be required for handling administrative affairs relating to the deceased’s estate, such as banking and life insurance policies.
  • A certificate for burial or cremation (“The Green Form”). This gives permission for the body to be buried or to apply for the body to be cremated. This form must be handed to the funeral director as quickly as possible.
  • A certificate of registration of death (Form BD8). This is issued for social security purposes if the person was in receipt of a state pension or benefits.

In some circumstances, HM Coroner will issue special documents permitting the burial or cremation of the body. If this is required your funeral director will be able to advise you on any administrative and legal obligations, and will be able to handle all necessary arrangements with the relevant authorities.

Practical Matters

There are lots of practical things that have to be dealt with when someone passes away and it can be difficult to think of them all.  We’ve started by listing some of the most common things to make a start.
You may also get further support from the Department of Work & Pensions, contact 0800-085-7308.  They produce a “Tell Us Once” form which may also be useful.

Organisations and businesses:

Car insurance – if the policy is in the name of the deceased any ‘additional drivers’ named on the policy are no longer insured once the policy holder has died so make sure the documentation is changed to reflect the new situation.

Social services/district nurses – if there is equipment belonging to either of these it must be returned.

Hospital and/or family doctor – any outstanding appointments will need to be cancelled.

Employer or professional association

Inland Revenue

Social Security – form 344/BD8 needs to be completed to cancel any direct payments into the deceased’s bank account. This white certificate is provided by the Registrar of Deaths.

Local council – cancel any housing/rate benefits and council tax.

Utilities – gas, electric, water telephone and cable companies.

Post Office – arrange redirection of mail.

Credit and store cards – cancel cards and settle accounts.
Banks and Building Societies – accounts need to be closed and any joint accounts need to be amended. Any debit cards should be returned or destroyed.

Investment, insurance and pension policies – premium bonds are not transferable. The Post Office will issue you with a form that needs to be sent to the Bonds and Stocks Office. For further advice we suggest that you consult an independent financial adviser or accountant.

When our family arrive at the home of your loved one, we will talk with you firstly about what we will do, we will ourselves pay our respects to your loved one and prepare for them to be taken into our care, before we leave we will invite you in, should you wish to do so, to pay your respects, then when you feel ready we will take your loved one with us, into the care of our family and our funeral home.