Who do I call first when someone passes away?
If death occurs in the hospital, you can contact your chosen funeral director when ready.
You can call us on 01709 522883 or 01709 703826
If death occurs at home, contact your doctor or the paramedics first before calling the funeral directors.
If death occurs in a nursing home, make sure the staff have contacted a doctor first, you or the nursing home staff can then make initial arrangements with ourselves.
If death occurs suddenly/unexpectedly contact the paramedics/emergency doctor or police, as the coroner will need to be involved, then contact us. If someone dies away from home or abroad, you can contact us for advice and help.
How do I register a death?
You will need to collect a medical certificate of death from the hospital/GPs surgery, then telephone the Registry Office to make an appointment to register the person's death.
Do I have to take any documents with me?
You will need the medical certificate of cause of death.
The deceased's medical card (if available).
The deceased's birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable).
Further information the Registrar may require is:
Date and place of death
Date of birth
They may also ask if the deceased was in receipt of any allowances or state benefits.
What happens if the Coroner is involved? Can I still begin funeral arrangements?
You can still meet with us to begin the funeral arrangements and discuss any special requests you may require. However, nothing can be finalised until the coroner has completed the investigation, and has released the deceased for burial or cremation.
Where do I begin regarding funeral arrangements? What choices do I need to make?
There are many details to consider when planning a funeral, from choosing a coffin and arranging funeral transport to selecting music, readings and a eulogy about your loved one for the service.
Firstly, you may want to think about the type of funeral service your loved one would have wanted.
As well as choosing between a burial or cremation, you’ll also need to decide if the service will be religious or non-religious. Whatever type of service you choose, we’ll be there to help, listen, advise, guide and arrange all of the above on your behalf. Plus any special requirements you may choose to make it personal and special to your family.
A big part of planning a funeral is deciding when and where to have the ceremony. A funeral can be held in any suitable venue. However, common options include a place of worship such as:
a crematorium chapel
or a private home
The date for the service will often depend on the availability of the funeral director, the minister or celebrant, church or crematorium, your loved one's religious beliefs, and your family circumstances. We will do our upmost to accommodate the most suitable time and date for your family's needs.
Choosing a coffin is also an important part of planning a funeral. Not only is it often the focal point of the service, but choosing the right coffin is a way of honouring our loved ones. You can choose anything from something very traditional, a floral decorated wicker casket, an environmentally friendly option, or even something colourful, picture or lettering customised. We will guide you through this and help you with any special requirements.
Arranging funeral transport is also a worry for some families. However, we can again assist with any requirements you may need. Here at JH Clark and Sons we have a beautiful fleet of Jaguar hearses and limousines. Some families do choose something less traditional or need specific requirements, which of course we can arrange for you. Some options are listed below:
A traditional horse and carriage
A motorbike hearse
A big truck hearse
A disability limousine
Why do GP's charge for cremation forms?
The deceased person cannot be cremated until the cause of death has been ascertained and properly recorded. The cause of death must then be verified by a second doctor, entirely independent of the first.
The British Medical Association (BMA) website sets out the procedure as follows:-
“Before cremation can take place two certificates need to be signed, one by the GP and one by another doctor. Cremation Form 4 must be completed by the registered medical practitioner who attended the deceased during their last illness. Form 5 must be completed by a registered medical practitioner who is neither a partner nor a relative of the doctor who completed Form 4.
A fee can be charged for the completion of both Forms 4 and 5 as this does not form part of a doctor’s NHS duties. Doctors normally charge these fees to the funeral firm, which generally passes on the cost to the family. Doctors are also entitled to charge a mileage allowance, where appropriate.
The doctors’ fees are set by the BMA and are reviewed annually.
How do I decide which funeral firm to choose?
Choosing a funeral firm can be difficult, especially if you are confronted with having to make a quick decision.
Membership of a reputable trade association should be mandatory. By choosing a funeral firm which is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors you can be assured it is quality assessed on a regular basis and can be expected to provide a guaranteed level of service. Our member firms are bound by a Code of Practice against which their performance can be measured. In the sad event that the experience is not all that it could be, we also provide a mechanism by which satisfaction can be sought, namely the Funeral Arbitration Scheme. To search for a member firm use the NAFD Member Search.
Many people ask friends or relatives to recommend a firm with whom they have dealt, or have heard positive comments about. If you do not have the opportunity to ask advice from others, your local solicitors or doctors will know of local funeral firms. Failing that you can research firms in your area by browsing the internet or looking for advertisements in your local newspapers, parish magazines, or telephone directories.
These will tell you if the firms are members of the National Association of Funeral Directors – this is your guarantee of a quality service. The advertisements may also give you further information, such as whether it is a small family business or part of a larger group.
Can I get any assistance with funeral costs?
Assistance is available from the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Social Fund which can provide assistance to individuals who meet the required criteria. To qualify you must demonstrate that you are the most suitable person to take responsibility for paying the funeral account – additionally you must be receiving at least one of several qualifying benefits and have insufficient savings to pay for the funeral.
The DWP Funeral Payment will provide a limited amount, which may cover a very basic funeral, or provide a contribution towards a more traditional funeral. Your chosen funeral firm will be able to advise you about the qualifying criteria and the likely contribution available. Form SF200 can be downloaded here.
What if something goes wrong?
There are occasions when a client may feel dissatisfied with aspects of the services provided as part of the funeral. The National Association of Funeral Directors’ Code of Practice – with which all NAFD member firms are obliged to adhere – provides a simple procedure to resolve problems between funeral firms and their clients. Copies of the Code of Practice are readily available from all NAFD member firms. All member firms are required to comply with the decisions of the Funeral Arbitration Scheme, which provides the mechanism for resolving disputes between funeral firms and their clients.
This guide is an extension of the specialist information that Mr Clark Snr and his Sons will talk through with you during arrangements. It will allow you to reflect on all the information you have been given, from the hospital, bereavement services and on your first contact with ourselves. It may also raise any further questions you have not yet asked regarding what happens before the funeral, on the day or any after care services we can assist you with. We will do our upmost to make this process as bearable as possible for you and your family during such difficult times.