Death Registration and Cremation
We appreciate that it can be a very emotional and stressful time when a loved one dies and that for some the stress can be compounded because of the wish for a rapid registration of death and often cremation; in some instances within 24 hours.
The practicalities of the hours that our doctors work and English law mean that often we will not be able to accommodate this wish. In common with most of general practice, Farnham Road Practice is open 08.00 to 18.30 Monday to Friday and is closed outside these hours and at the weekend and on Bank and Public Holidays. Many GPs in the United Kingdom work part-time and this is the case for our doctors.
Death Certificates can only be signed by a doctor who has seen a patient in the fourteen days preceding their death. If the Doctor is not able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, then the death will need to be referred to the Coroner and the Coroner's office will then liaise directly with the family. Patients who are being cremated require an additional form to be signed by two doctors, one of whom must be the GP who signed the death certificate and the other doctor must be from a different practice.
Whilst we will try to help you to achieve the desired funeral arrangements you should be aware that we will not always be able to meet your preferred timescale.
Useful Information in Times of Bereavement
In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days;
- Get a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor (this is necessary to register the death)
- Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.
- Make the necessary funeral arrangements.
Register the death
If the death has been reported to the coroner (or Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) they must give permission before registering the death.
You can register the death if you are a relative, a witness to the death, a hospital administrator or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.
You can use the ‘Register a Death’ page on the gov.uk website that will guide you through the process. This will also explain the registration process for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Arrange the funeral
The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. Most people use a funeral director, though you can arrange a funeral yourself.
Choose a funeral director who’s a member of one of the following:
These organisations have codes of practice - they must give you a price list when asked.
Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association can also help with non-religious funerals.
Arranging the funeral yourself
Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.
Funeral costs can include:
- funeral director fees
- things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
- local authority burial or cremation fees
Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quotes.