So, if you are in the unfortunate position in arranging a funeral, what can you come to expect?
It’s important to deal with the urgent practical matters first. The following things need to be done straight away by the executor or next of kin:
• Obtain medical certification of the death from the doctor or from the midwife in the case of a stillbirth;
• Register the death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages;
• Search for any will and possible later wills (remember to check under alternative names e.g. nicknames and aliases);
• Arrange with the postal authority to redirect the deceased’s mail and contact The Mail Preference Service to stop unwanted junk mail;
• Notify anyone from whom the deceased received an annuity or pension and the Pensions Service of the death and claim any new benefits which arise by virtue of the death;
• Inform the deceased’s bank and any debit or credit card providers of the death;
Although not necessary to have one, it’s unusual not have a funeral ceremony. They don’t have to be religious but if there is clergy involved, they will insist on not having anything contrary to their beliefs included in the ceremony.
The coffin can be kept at the church the night before the ceremony or it can be delivered on the day. Chief mourners lead the other mourners into the church or crematorium chapel following the coffin and sit in the front row. If there is a burial after the ceremony, mourners follow the coffin to the grave where the coffin is lowered into the grave.
Meeting the costs of the funeral
The person who arranges the funeral is contractually liable to pay the bill. If there is no one able or willing to pay, the local authority or, if the deceased died in hospital, the local health authority for the area in which the deceased died will arrange the funeral.
Existing Grave Space
A search through the deceased’s papers might produce a deed of grave space showing that space in an existing grave or a new grave has already been paid for.
Remember that the cost of the funeral is more than the cost of a grave. A hearse, funeral cars, any minister and grave diggers, etc. all have to be paid for, so it is as well to get a quotation before entering into a commitment.
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