Our Family Serving Your Family
Following the death of a close relative or friend, everything can suddenly become confusing. It can be difficult to know what to do next or even where to turn. Understanding the procedures that follow a death can help to put your mind at rest, as many aspects depend on whether your loved one has died suddenly, at home, or in hospital.
The funeral service is a testimony to a person's life. As well as a recognition that this unique and special individual has died, it is one of the first steps for a family to come to terms with their loss.
We recognised that a funeral is special for each family, and strive to ensure that every person’s individual needs are met, paying particular attention to cultural and religious beliefs. Our family endeavours to be as helpful and thoughtful as possible.
Although we are available at all times, day or night, and every day of the year, we are also happy to attend your family home if you feel more comfortable discussing the arrangements for your loved one there.
When we are instructed to carry out funeral arrangements, complete responsibility is taken to guide you through the procedures that have to be followed. Our staff deal with all the formalities and legal requirements, ensuring you don’t have anything to worry about at this truly difficult time.
If the death was expected due to an illness, you should firstly contact the GP to inform them of the death. The doctor will attend to confirm the death, and if he/she is satisfied with the cause, you can contact a funeral director of your choice. They will then move the person who has died to their funeral home. The doctor can then issue the necessary medical certificate to enable you to register the death.
The hospital staff will inform the next of kin of the death. The bereavement office at the hospital will then arrange for the medical certificate of cause of death to be issued. If the deceased person died in a home, residence, or in a public place, the body may have to be transferred to a local mortuary facility for examination.
This transfer is carried out by a funeral company contracted by the coroner to do so. Usually, the attending police officer will ask any family present of their preferred funeral director to carry out the conveyance. Alternatively, the attending officer or police control room may contact a funeral director as part of their on-call rota.
Please note: You are under no obligation to use these companies for funeral services.
When the death is unexpected, the doctor is unsure about the actual cause of death, or the person died suddenly and had not been seen by a doctor in the previous fortnight, the doctor will contact the coroner. The coroner may order for a post-mortem examination to take place to determine the cause of death. Once the cause of death has been established, the coroner will issue the paperwork directly to the registrar, enabling you to register the death.
Relatives are kept informed of the situation by the coroner’s officer, and in due course, notification issued by the coroner will be sent to the registrar. All officers, pathologists, and mortuary staff are highly trained individuals who recognise the great importance of their duties and always endeavour to carry out those duties in a timely manner. The involvement of HM Coroner will not usually delay the funeral in any way.
The death must be registered in the district where the death occurred.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, this must be done within 5 days and in Scotland, within 8 days. We can assist you in obtaining all necessary paperwork and are always happy to advise you every step of the way. Registering the death takes about half an hour, and you need to make an appointment beforehand. You can find the contact details you need for local offices below.
Q. How soon after someone has died should the death be registered? A. Generally, a death that occurs within England and Wales should be registered within 5 days of death taking place. In rare cases, this may be extended by up to 9 days if the registrar is satisfied that the medical cause of death certificate has been produced.
Q. Are there any exceptions to the 5-day time limit? A. Yes. When HM Coroner is involved, the time limits are waived. The coroner becomes involved in all sudden or unexpected deaths. Registration requires the production of a certificate, signed by the deceased’s doctor, which states the reason for death. If the doctor did not attend the deceased for 14 days prior to death or if the exact cause of death cannot be ascertained, the doctor may refer the death to the coroner.
Q. Do I still have to register if HM Coroner is involved? A. In certain circumstances, yes. The coroner’s officer will direct you in this regard, so you need not worry about this. If the coroner is involved, you cannot register the death without their permission.
Q. What are the time limits regarding the registering of stillbirths? A. Stillbirths should usually be registered within 42 days or, failing that, within 3 calendar months. Stillbirths may be registered either at the hospital or at the local register office.
Q. Who can register the death? A. Most deaths are registered by the next of kin or a close relative. However, if the death occurred in hospital, at home, in a private property, or in care home, the death can be also registered by the person present at the death, an occupant of the property, a hospital official, friend, carer, or the person responsible for making the funeral arrangements. Deaths that occurred elsewhere can be registered by the person officially in charge of the body.
Q. Where does the death have to be registered? A. The death must be registered by the registrar of deaths at a local authority register office in the same ‘sub-district’ where the death took place. The addresses of offices close to our funeral home can be found below.
Q. Is it possible to register a death that occurred in another area at your local registrar’s office? A. Yes. This is known as ‘registration by declaration’ and allows for deaths in England and Wales to be registered at your local registrar’s office, even if death occurred in another registration sub-district. This is achieved by using the postal system and usually delays any funeral arrangements.
Q. Is it necessary to make an appointment to register the death? A. Yes. An appointment with the registrar is usually necessary. We are very lucky in in our local areas, benefiting from helpful registrars who usually fit in as much as possible with the wishes of the bereaved. You need to telephone to make an appointment on the numbers below.
Q. What information and documentation do you need to take with you to register the death? A. The registrar needs to see the signed medical certificate of the cause of death and, if available, the deceased’s birth certificate and NHS medical card. The informant also needs to provide the following information about the deceased:
Q. Where can you obtain the medical certificate of cause of death required for registering the death? A. The person who registers the death (the informant) should contact the deceased’s GP or the hospital where the person died to obtain the medical certificate of cause of death. The signed certificate will be placed in a sealed envelope and addressed to the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages.
Q. Will I receive any paperwork from the registrar? A. Yes. The informant will be given various items of documentation, including:
Q. Is it necessary to obtain additional copies of the death certificate? A. It is always advisable to obtain extra certified copies of the death certificate for administrative purposes. Copies will be needed by the executor of the will and also the person who deals with the deceased’s paperwork. We recommend that you purchase several copies of this certificate as banks, building societies, and government departments will not accept photocopies of the certificate.
Q. How do I contact all necessary government departments to advise them of the death? A. The government has introduced a new system known as ‘Tell Us Once’ where the registrar gives you a unique reference number to access the service online or by phone. The registrar also gives you the phone number for Tell Us Once. You need the following information about the deceased:
You need permission from the next of kin, the executor, the administrator, and anyone who claims joint benefits or entitlements with the deceased before you give their details.
They also tell the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) to cancel the deceased’s driving licence. You still need to remember to change the registered keeper details and send DVLA any vehicle registration certificates (V5C).
You also must let the relevant organisations know about the death yourself if your local register office doesn’t offer the Tell Us Once service or if you choose not to use this service.
Once the registrar has all the information they require, and this has been entered in the register, they give you:
Barry Register Office
Tel: 01446 700111
Penarth Register Office
Tel: 029 2070 7862
Cardiff Register Office
Tel: 029 2087 1684