Lewis Northen Independent Funeral Directors

Essential Information

After death occurs

When the time comes for you to arrange a funeral, we will help you find your way through all the documentation and plan a funeral which is tailored to your own personal wishes and beliefs. The process differs slightly depending on where the death occurs.

Death at home

Should a death occur at home, you will first need to call your doctor (on call doctor) who will come and certify the death. You would then need to call us, any time of day or night to arrange for us to come and take your loved one into our care.

Death in a hospital

If the death occurs in a hospital, you will be directed to the hospital’s bereavement officer. It will then be your responsibility to contact us.

Death in a care home

If the death occurs in a care home the staff will ask you who your chosen funeral director is so they can contact us to bring your loved into our care. Once we have been called we will then make contact with you to guide and support you through the next steps.

The Coroner

In cases where the death has been reported to the coroner the procedure is somewhat different. The coroner and his officers are working in your interest. No doctor will issue a medical certificate of death. This will be sent by the coroner to the registrar’s office in the district where the death occurred. After contact has been made with the coroner’s office, we will advise you on the procedures needed and will liaise with the coroner’s office on your behalf.

Registering a death

All deaths in England and Wales must be registered within five days of occurring. This period can be extended in exceptional circumstances by arrangement with the registrar. If the coroner is involved, the coroner’s office will contact you to advise when you can register the death. All register offices ask you to make an appointment to register the death. If you have the medical death certificate, you will be able to go and register the death, either before or after you have seen us to arrange the funeral.

Who can register a death?

  • Any relative or civil partner of the person who has died
  • A relative in attendance during the last illness
  • A relative living in the district where the death occurred
  • Any person who lives in the house where the death occurred
  • The person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director)

The registrar will give you a green certificate which needs to be given to the funeral director as soon as possible. Copies of the death certificate for official purposes such as closing a bank account or claiming insurances can be purchased from the registrar.

Documents and information you will need for the registrar?

  • The death certificate (in a sealed envelope)
  • The deceased’s NHS medical card if available
  • Birth certificate and information regarding date of birth
  • Debit or credit card to pay for copies of the death certificate (if required)
  • Proof of your identification as the informant e.g. driving licence or passport
  • Social Security Certificate to be handed in at the D.S.S.
  • Offices with any pension books
  • Copies of Entry of death for bank, insurance, solicitors

When you meet the registrar, you should take:

  • The full name of the person who has died
  • Their full address
  • Details of where the person died and the date of their death
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation (if applicable)
  • If married, full name and occupation of surviving spouse

What is probate?

When someone dies somebody must deal with their estate (the money, property and possessions left) by collecting all the money, paying any debt and distributing the state to those entitled. The Probate Registry issues a document which is called a Grant of Representation. There are three types of grant: 1. Probate issued to one of more of the executors named in the will 2. Letters of administration (with will) issued when there is a will, but no executor named or able to deal with the estate 3. Letters of administration issued when the deceased has not made a will, or it is not valid.

Why is the grant necessary?

Organisations holding the money in the deceased’s name need to know to whom the money is to be paid. The distribution of the estate is the responsibility of the person named in the deed.

Is this grant always needed?

A grant is sometimes not needed if the deceased’s money will be released without the holder seeing a grant, when the amount held is small and there are no complications.

Consult a solicitor

In most circumstances, it is advisable for you to consult a solicitor both to relieve you of many worries and to take control of wills, problems of intestacy, outstanding debts, grants, and letters of administration. A solicitor could save you a great deal of unnecessary trouble and eventually save you money. If it is known that a will was made, it is important that the contents be ascertained as soon as possible after the death as it may contain instructions regarding the funeral arrangements. A will may be among personal papers, with the bank or solicitor for safe keeping. If a solicitor has been consulted by the deceased in the recent past it is important that you contact them without delay.