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Initial Steps after Bereavement Before the Funeral

Requirements before Planning for the Funeral

It is common for people to be uncertain of how to proceed immediately after bereavement. It is unfortunate that there are so many decisions and preparations that have to be made at such a time of distress, but some of them can be arranged by a close relative, friend, or funeral director.

Before arranging for the funeral, you need a medical certificate from a hospital doctor or GP, so you can then register the death within 5 days – 8 in Scotland. Here are some of the other initial steps you should think about after the death of a loved one.

Registering the death

In most of the UK, you are required to register any death within 5 days. It is recommended that you do this at the register office within the area where the person died, to evade delays in getting the necessary documents. Any of the following parties can register a death;

  • A relative of the deceased
  • Any individual present at the death
  • Any individual who lives in the same house as the deceased
  • Any individual arranging the funeral, except the funeral director

The registration process usually involves a small interview with the register, where you provide certain information about the departed, including:

  • Full name and address of the deceased
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation of the deceased
  • Details of when and where they died – like a medical certificate for death in a hospital
  • Husband’s full name and occupation – if the departed is a married woman

Documentation and certification

In addition to providing the registrar with the details listed above, you should also take the following documents to the interview:

  • Birth certificate
  • NHS medical card – if applicable
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate

If the registration process is successful, the registrar will issue you with:

1. A Certificate of Registration of Death – it should be filled in and delivered to the social security office for the region where the individual died

2. A Certificate for Cremation or Burial (green certificate) – should be given to the funeral director if you are using one

You should consider buying copies of the Death Certificate (Entry of Death form) from the registrar for a small fee, since you will need them for official purposes, such as closing pension schemes and bank accounts.

Involving the Coroner

In some situations, the death must be reported by the hospital or doctor or registrar to the coroner or procurator in Scotland (usually when the survivors are unhappy about the cause of death). This implies that there will be an investigation, inquest, or post mortem, the funeral service may be delayed, and there will be no Cause of Death. The death can only be registered once the coroner has made a decision. A death is usually reported to the coroner if:

  • The general practitioner or doctor had not seen the individual in the last 14 days before death, or immediately afterwards
  • The death was sudden, and the deceased had not seen or received treatment from a doctor
  • The cause of death is uncertain or unknown or suspicious
  • The death occurred in police custody or prison
  • The death occurred during surgery or recovery from an anesthetic
  • The death was unnatural or violent

Once you have the Certificate of Death, you can entrust the deceased loved one to a funeral home, where the body will receive care with professionalism. You can then discuss any requests with the funeral directors, such as planning a funeral ceremony, in preparation for the burial or cremation.

If you have a Prepaid Funeral Plan then your find this is where it all shows its added value.

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    Requirements before Planning for the Funeral It is common for people to be uncertain of how to proceed immediately after bereavement. It is unfortunate that there are so many decisions and preparations that have to be made at such a time of distress, but some of them can be arranged by a close relative, friend, […]