HOW WE CAN HELP
John Saunders & Son is here to talk to whenever you need help and assistance.
For all questions around how funerals work, your next steps, and aftercare, our team of specialists are on hand to give you the guidance you need.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES
When someone we love passes away it is a time of great emotional upheaval. Grief itself can feel overwhelming enough but somehow, in the middle of all this, we have to find our way through a maze of unfamiliar official processes.
Dealing with hospital bereavement offices, doctors surgeries, maybe the coroner and the registry office itself - the procedures and paperwork involved can change from setting to setting depending on the place where your loved one passed away and the circumstances of their passing.
All of this can understandably make you feel utterly bewildered and out of control at a time when you are least equipped emotionally to cope with taking on the information.
We at John Saunders & Son are here to be your guide and support. We will talk to you for as long as you need and walk you simply and gently through the steps that you need to take to obtain the necessary paperwork and do what needs to be done, and we are happy to do this whether you end up using our services or not. We are here to help!
Below are a few Frequently Asked Questions that we hope will give some immediate guidance, but we are always available on the telephone to give you personalised help and support:
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY LOVED ONE DIES AT HOME OR IN A NURSING HOME?
When a death that has been expected happens at home (or in a nursing home) the patient’s GP surgery should be contacted.
Once the death has been confirmed by the visiting health professional you can then contact the funeral firm of your choice, who will attend to transfer your loved one to their premises.*
When someone passes away at home in these circumstances it is their GP surgery that will issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, which is the paperwork that you will need to make an appointment to register the death at the registry office.
*You do not have to phone your chosen funeral director until you are ready to do so, so you can spend quiet time as a family before this happens if you wish.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A RELATIVE DIES IN HOSPITAL?
When a loved one who has been a hospital in-patient dies, the doctors treating them usually issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death - which is the paperwork that you will need to make an appointment to register the death at the registry office.
The ward staff or doctor will give you the telephone number of the hospital’s Bereavement Services office to ring when you are ready and their team will explain the process for collecting the certificate and your loved one’s belongings.
Most hospitals will allow family members to sit with their loved one before transfer from the ward or private room. Your loved one will then be taken to the mortuary where they will be cared for until they are collected by your chosen funeral firm.
WHEN DOES THE CORONER’S OFFICE BECOME INVOLVED?
Sometimes a doctor is unable to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death because the circumstances of your loved one’s passing mean that the law requires that the death needs to be referred to HM Coroner for further investigation.
A doctor can only complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death if they know the cause of death, having seen the deceased for this illness in the 14 days before death occurs.
When a death is referred to HM Coroner in Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire their offices will arrange for your loved one to be taken to the local hospital mortuary by their nominated funeral director so that the death can be investigated and, if necessary, an inquest opened.
This does not automatically mean that a post mortem will take place, or that you need to use the funeral director who attends on behalf of the Coroner. The Coroner’s officers will contact you and keep you informed while their investigation takes place.
HOW TO REGISTER A DEATH?
All deaths have to be registered, and the people closest to the deceased person have a legal obligation to do this.
Deaths in England should be registered within 5 days, although leeway is given if there is a delay in the issuing of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death or where a Coroner’s investigation is underway.
The death has to be registered at the registrar’s office in the area where the death occurred. This is the case even if the death occurred a distance from home.
However, there is a facility available to attend your local registrar’s office to register a death that occurred in another area. This is called Registration by Declaration and involves the two registrars transferring documents by fax and post to register the death.
Depending on the circumstances, this can delay the date of the funeral and your funeral director will be able to advise on time scales in this situation.
CAN I GET ANY ASSISTANCE WITH FUNERAL COSTS?
Assistance towards funeral costs is available from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Social Fund for individuals who meet their criteria. To qualify, you must show that you are the most suitable person to take responsibility for paying the funeral account. You must be receiving at least one of several qualifying benefits and have insufficient savings to pay for the funeral.
The DWP Funeral Payment may cover a Direct Cremation, Direct Burial, or contribute to a more traditional funeral. Your chosen funeral firm will advise you about the qualifying criteria and the likely contribution available.
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SUPPORTING YOU DURING COVID-19
Helping our clients through difficult times is what we strive to do at John Saunders & Son, we're on standby 24/7 and only a phone call or email away. At present due to COVID-19 we are sadly restricted to making funeral arrangements by telephone in order to protect both our clients and ourselves from danger of infection. However we have found that we are still able to offer a high standard of personalised care and support even during these trying times. For further information as legalities & guidelines change on a regular basis please enquire for up-to-date guidance.
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Tue: 9am - 5.30pm
Wed: 9am - 5.30pm
Thur: 9am - 5.30pm
Fri: 9am - 5.30pm
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