What to do when Somebody Dies
When someone dies it is often their closest family or friends who have the task of arranging the funeral, and these are also the people suffering most from grief, shock, and perhaps even such emotions as regret, anger or guilt. For many the first experience of this is when a parent dies. It is something that every one of us has to face sooner or later.

Even when a Funeral Director (FD) is to be used, it is still a good idea to have considered all the options. Here is a brief outline of the main things to consider when (or before!) someone dies:
  1. Call the Doctor
    This applies if the death occurs at home. A FD will likely then come to remove the deceased, and the doctor will issue a certificate of Cause of Death in due course. If the death is accidental or in any way unexpected, or if the deceased has not been seen by a doctor during the previous 14 days, the Coroner must be informed; the procedure for doing this can be ascertained by ringing the police.

  2. Register the Death
    This must be done at the Registrar's Office in the district where the death occurred, and within 5 days of its occurrence. Sometimes this can be done in the hospital where someone dies. It is useful to have the following details about the deceased (where appropriate):

    National insurance number

    NHS number

    Birth cert (or date and place of birth)

    Date of marriage etc

    Child Benefit number

    Tax ref no

    Organ donor card

    The registration process will require full details of the deceased, Cause of Death certificate, medical card and information about pension or other state benefits received. If the police or Coroner are involved, they will register the death themselves. Once all the details are recorded, the Registrar will supply certified copies of the Death Certificate, which is the official entry in the Register of Deaths.

  3. Certificate for Burial or Cremation
    In addition to the Death Certificate the Registrar will provide a Certificate for Burial or Cremation. This is a green form which is absolutely necessary for the interment or cremation to take place; it must be handed in to the Burial Ground or Crematorium manager before or at the time of the funeral. At Brocklands, either the FD will pass it on to us, or if no FD is involved, the family must give it to us before or on the day of burial.

  4. Contact the Solicitor of the Deceased
    It is advisable to contact the solicitor of the deceased prior to making funeral arrangements, in case a Letter of Wishes has been left with the will, which might include instructions regarding music, readings, tree choice etc, for the funeral and burial.

  5. Arranging the Funeral
    It is quite possible for the family to do this without any professional help. Either way, consideration will need to be given to the following:
    • Burial or Cremation (remember: cremation is considerably less environmentally sound)?
    • Type of ceremony - in church, in Haybarn, at graveside; or elsewhere?
    • Will it be burial followed by memorial service, or service followed by burial? Think of the logistics of the mourners going from one place to the next.
    • Date and time of funeral - this must be checked with the FD and Brocklands first, to make sure it is convenient for everyone.
    • Coffin - obviously biodegradable, but where is it from/how is it made?
      (see our Coffins page)
    • Coffin bearers - 6x family and friends; or hired from the FD?
    • Laying out the body - by FD; or other (NB. no embalming at Brocklands)
    • Where is the body to be kept prior to the funeral? - hospital mortuary; at home; at the FD's?
    • Transport of the body - hearse; FD estate car; other van, estate car etc.
    • Arrangements for refreshments after the funeral
    • Announcement of the death in the newspaper
    • Donations to charity (if appropriate)

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