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Ultimate Guide To
Arranging The Funeral Service

Contents

What to do when someone passes away

Arranging the Funeral Service

Further Personal Elements of a Funeral Service

 


What to do when someone passes away

When a death occurs at home

You will need to contact the deceased’s own G.P. (or the Doctor on duty) who will verify that death has sadly taken place and if he or she is able, issue a death certificate.

Once the Doctor has given permission to proceed, please contact us and someone will be available to respond sensitively and efficiently to your call and arrange the collection of your loved one. Our staff will attend the address promptly and carry out the transfer to our Chapel of Rest.

Our staff are fully trained in order to handle this difficult event with care and respect. Do not feel that this must take place immediately; some families wish to wait until other family members have had an opportunity to say their goodbyes at home. You are always welcome to visit our Chapels of Rest at a later date once an appointment has been arranged with the Funeral Director.

It is advisable to contact your Funeral Director as soon as you feel able to discuss the funeral arrangements. Preliminary and provisional arrangements may be made, if so required, in advance of the registration of the death.

When a death occurs at a Nursing or Residential home

The above procedure is likely to have been carried out, with your permission, by the Matron or Warden of a care home who will advise you of where to collect the certificate.

Registration of a Death

Every death in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which it takes place, where possible within 5 days of the date of death. The person registering the death gives information for the registration to the registrar.

If it is inconvenient for the person registering the death to do this at the district Register Office where the death took place, the information for the registration may be given to the Registrar in another more convenient district and the death registered by declaration. Please contact the appropriate Register Office if you need to follow this route. If the declaration procedure is used it will take longer for the document allowing the funeral to proceed to be issued.

During the current Covid-19 pandemic, the registration procedure has changed.
The death certificate is issued by the Doctor and sent electronically to the local registry office.
The Doctor will also provide the registrar contact details of either the next of kin or representative responsible for registering the death. The registrar will then contact the person to arrange a date and time for the registration to take place over the telephone.

Which deaths need to be reported to the coroner?

A small number of deaths must be reported to the coroner before they can be registered. They are:

  • Where there is no Doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death
  • Where the deceased was not seen by the Doctor issuing the medical certificate after death, nor within 28 days before death or where the cause of death is unknown.
  • Where the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious
  • Where the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic
  • Where the death is due to an industrial disease or industrial poisoning

Once the death has been reported to the coroner, the registrar must wait until the coroner has decided whether any further investigation into the death is necessary before the registration can proceed.

Who can register a death?

The people who can register a death are as follows:

  • A relative of the deceased, related by blood, marriage or civil partnership.
  • Someone present at the death
  • The occupier of the house or hospital if he or she knew of the death
  • The person arranging the funeral

The Registrar would normally allow one of the other listed persons to register the death only if there were no relatives available.

Information to be supplied for the registration of a death

  • Date and place of death
  • Name and surname of deceased
  • Maiden surname, if the deceased was a woman who had married
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Name and occupation of spouse where the deceased was married
  • Usual address
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
  • If the deceased was either married or a civil partner, the date of birth of the surviving partner will be required

If English is not the first language of the relative or other person registering the death and assistance is needed, it would be helpful for an interpreter to be present.

When you have registered the death

The form that will allow the funeral to take place will be sent electronically to the funeral director.

The registrar will allow you to purchase copies of the Certified Entry of Death (Death Certificate) at £11 each and these will be posted to you.
You may need these for:

  • The Will/Solicitor
  • Bank Accounts
  • Any Pension Claims
  • Insurance Policies
  • Savings Bank Certificates
  • Premium Bonds

To take advantage of the “Tell us Once” service available during registration, please inform the registrar about a current driving license, blue badge and passport.

 


Arranging the Funeral Service

When you are ready to make the arrangements, please contact us and we will make an appointment to discuss the funeral.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still able to offer face to face arrangements, although we are limiting the number of family members permitted to enter our offices to a maximum of 3 people per visit and please make an appointment in advance.

There could potentially be some restrictions regarding the number of attendees and services we are able to facilitate during these unprecedented times. Our Funeral Director’s will relay any up-to-date information at the time of making the funeral arrangements but please call our offices for any current and up to date information regarding numbers and restrictions.

Our Funeral Directors will liaise with the cemetery/crematorium, church and ministers on behalf of the family and in all aspects of the funeral arrangements will explain the procedures and legal requirements. Whilst arranging the funeral, we will advise on costs and charges to be incurred, culminating in a full written estimate which will be given to the person responsible for the arrangements before the day of the funeral.

Setting a Date and time for the funeral service

There is no set timeframe in which a funeral should take place, although we often find that the average timescale for a funeral is typically 2-3 weeks following someone’s passing. However, there are several circumstances that can impact upon that. When considering a date and time for the funeral service of your loved one it is worth considering if there are any important dates forthcoming. Anniversaries, birthdays and other important dates and/or commitments may mean that this date is not suitable for the funeral service. When considering the time of day for the service it may be worth thinking about any relatives or loved ones who will be traveling for the funeral date and how this may impact choosing the timings for the funeral service. These thoughts should be expressed to the Funeral Director when arranging your loved one’s funeral so that a convenient date for all parties can be agreed upon.

Laying someone to rest – Burial or Cremation

Some people may already know whether their loved one would prefer to be laid to rest through a burial or cremation service. However, to help guide those who are unsure we have provided some more information on burials and cremations below.

Cremation

A typical cremation funeral service will involve a funeral service attended by mourners to commemorate your lost loved one, this can take place at the crematorium or an alternative venue. This will then be followed by the cremation of your loved one. During a cremation intense heat converts someone’s remains into ‘ashes’, sometimes referred to as cremated remains. Following the cremation your loved one’s ashes can be scattered at the crematorium or at a cemetery, they can also be interred into a plot at a cemetery. Many people choose to scatter their loved one’s ashes privately in special locations or keep their loved one’s ashes at home with them.

Burial

A typical burial service will still include a funeral service with mourners attending, however, following this service the coffin will be lowered into the ground in which your loved one is to be laid to rest.

 

Types of Funeral Service

There are many types of funeral service, and it can be difficult to decide what type of service your loved one would prefer. There are many elements to consider, including their wishes, any religious and non-religious beliefs and any family or cultural traditions.

Religious Service

Religious Funeral Services follow the specific traditions of a specific religion. The elements of a religious funeral vary depending on the specific religion and a person’s culture. Some religious beliefs may also determine whether your loved one is laid to rest through a burial or cremation funeral service. The funeral service is typically led by a religious leader, such as a vicar, and may include readings, hymns and prayers.

Non-Religious Service

A non-religious service focuses more on the life of the person who has sadly passed away without a religious undertone. This type of service can be led by a celebrant and can contain readings, poems and eulogies of the person’s life.

Woodland and Green Burials

Woodland burials, or green burials (sometimes referred to as eco-burials) are burials which are environmentally friendly. Woodland burial grounds offer a natural area, such as a wooded area, a meadow field or a forest, providing a more natural setting for your loved one to be laid to rest. Woodland burial grounds often have strict rules about the type of coffin which can be used to lay someone to rest and may also have rules on any memorabilia left on graves following a burial.

Burial at sea

Whilst a burial at sea is an uncommon funeral service choice, it may be an option worth considering if your loved one was in the navy or had a love for boats. There are strict regulations around a burial at sea so please contact us to discuss this further.

Some people may also wish to scatter their loved one’s ashes at sea, in this instance we recommend speaking to ourselves for guidance.

Alternative Funerals

Some people may prefer to have an alternative funeral service, which may include aspects which focus on a celebration of life theme. Alternative funerals can be as unique as the person whose life is being celebrated, some unique elements include colourful clothing, fireworks, live music, an alternative hearse or mode of transport, or even themed funerals.

Committal First

Some families find comfort from opting for us to organise the committal first, either at the crematorium or a burial in the cemetery or churchyard. We are then asked to organise a memorial service to follow directly at a venue such as a church or place of worship. This means that the deceased’s coffin is not present at the main service of celebration for their life.

Direct Cremations

A Direct Cremation offers a low-cost alternative to a funeral. An Unattended Direct Cremation means that there is no funeral service, so no mourners can be present. This offers a simple, no fuss cremation service and the ashes of the deceased are returned to the family. This gives the family the opportunity to arrange private, more alternative gathering of some description, if they wish.

An Attended Direct Cremation offers an alternative, simple service with a reduce time frame of ten minutes to allow mourners to pay their respects.

How much does a funeral cost?

The average funeral cost for a basic funeral is £4,184 (Source: SunLife The Cost of Dying 2021 Report). However, each funeral is individual and unique, so the cost may also vary. The number of funeral cars, the choice of coffin and floral tributes and all elements that can impact the cost of a funeral.

Our account itself is divided into two separate parts, our charges and the disbursements which are fees paid to third parties on the client’s behalf. Our charges can include the coffin, our professional fees, and overhead costs, which include the provision of a 24 hour a day call rota, our professional services in making the funeral arrangements and arranging documentation and necessary personal attendances, the conveyance of the deceased to our private rest rooms and preparation of the deceased for the chapel of rest.

Disbursements (Third Party Fees)

Disbursements are essentially Third-Party fees that we pay out on behalf of the family. These can include Doctors fees, Crematoria/Cemetery fees, Church and Minister fees, Newspaper Announcements, Printing, Catering and Florist charges. Our written estimate will detail the cost of any disbursements, However, as we have no direct control over these changes, there could be slight variations from the estimate.

The disbursements will be required to be paid prior to the funeral; however, Devall & Son’s own account will be posted to the applicant following the funeral and payment will be required within 14 days. The account can be paid for by cash, cheque or credit/debit card.
Please click here to view our price brochure

Further help

In certain circumstances the next-of-kin may receive help with the costs towards the funeral from the Social Fund. (Claims must be within three months of death). Ask your funeral director for further information on Death Benefits.

Personalising the funeral arrangements

We have served the bereaved in our local community since 1986, and through the years we have seen that no two people are the same. We are dedicated to help making your loved one’s funeral service as unique as they are. There are many elements that can be personalised to create a befitting funeral service.

Coffins and Caskets

Choosing the Coffin, Casket and urn for your loved one is no doubt an emotionally challenging choice. Coffins are not limited to traditional coffins, there is also wicker/willow coffins, woollen coffins and American Caskets. Coffins can be used to reflect your loved one’s personality. We know how difficult it can be to make this decision, so we are here to help and guide you.

Viewing in the Chapel of Rest

You may wish to spend time in the chapel of rest with your loved one. It may be comforting for you to see your loved one in their own clothes, or alternatively we can provide a suitable gown. For us to best look after your loved one we ask that a photograph is provided to help with hair styling and any make-up.

Funeral and Wake Venue

A funeral service is typically held at a specialised venue, such as a place of worship or the crematorium chapel, which can still hold a funeral service even if there is no cremation to take place.

A wake can be held at a wider variety of venues including a local pub, a public space and even your own home.

Funeral Fleet

On the day of the funeral the hearse will typically carry your loved one’s coffin as the lead in the cortege followed by limousines for the mourners.

We operate a modern fleet of luxury Jaguar Hearses and Limousines in Pacific Blue. We will ensure every part of your journey to and from the funeral is taken care of and can always accommodate special wishes. Alternative fleets of Daimler, and Rolls Royce vehicles are available upon request, plus a range of alternative modes of transport to make your final farewell personal to your loved one.

Horse-Drawn carriages have seen a resurgence in popularity and provide magnificent accompaniment to a classic hearse. Outriders can be used in combination with the horse-drawn carriage for dignified and awe-inspiring display.

Pallbearers

As part of our service here at Devall & Son we provide pallbearers who are trained in bearing coffins in a dignified and respectful fashion. Many families wish to have family pallbearers, in this case we are here to advise those family members. We can offer practice bearing, where family members practice bearing with a weighted coffin. Alternatively, we can guide family members on the day. We know that the day of the funeral can be distressing, and this may mean that family members change their mind, please be assured that our gentlemen will be on hand on the day in case of this event.

Officiant

A key decision to make is also who will lead the funeral service, this may be a religious minister, a celebrant or even a family friend. We have a wide range of officiants and we can help you find the right officiant for you and your loved one. You will be in close contact with your officiant to help organise the running order of service for your loved one’s funeral. Their guidance and support will help you during this process.

Notifying family and friends

Many people will opt for a traditional route of notifying family and friends through a newspaper notice. We will help guide you with the wording required for the notice, and this can be personalised to your loved one.

Some families choose to use an online memorial page created by us and shared through social media to notify family and friends. This online page can contain funeral service details, information on donation requests and provide an area for people to pay respects by lighting candles or sharing memories of your loved one.

 


Further Personal Elements of a Funeral Service

Floral tributes and Donations

Floral tributes can be an effective way of paying tribute to your loved one. Consider colours and favourite flowers which your loved one may appreciate. It is also worth considering if there were any flowers your loved one did not like to ensure they are not included in the floral tributes. We can help guide you through a variety of floral tributes.

Whilst considering family floral tributes it is worth thinking about whether your loved one would have preferred family flowers only with donations instead to a fitting charity from friends.

Funeral poems, verses and readings

Funeral poems, verses and readings can provide a sense of comfort during a funeral service, these can be non-religious and religious in nature. Their theme can vary, including uplifting, thought provoking. All these aspects can help pay tribute to your loved one. If family or friends would like to read a poem, verse or reading discuss this with the officiant of the service.

We have more information on funeral poems, verses and readings here:

Funeral music

Music is also a key element within a funeral that can personalise the service to your loved one. In some cases, religious funerals will often contain hymns, or prayer calls. Whereas non-religious funerals may often contain special songs, such as songs played for a first dance at a wedding. But there is no set rule, and this can be personalised to suit your loved one’s personality.

The Eulogy

A Eulogy can help pay tribute to your lost loved one by sharing their history and memories. They are often considered one of the most important parts of a funeral service. The Eulogy can be delivered by a family member, a friend or the officiant taking the service.

Order of Service Sheets

We can work closely with the officiant and a graphic designer to produce order of service sheets should you wish. We have a range of designs to choose from and can create bespoke design upon request. We can also create Thank You Cards and bookmarks. Many people choose to keep these items as keepsakes.

Funeral Attire

Some people wish to specify a dress code for the funeral. Some people wish to have no black mourning attire be worn and, in some cases, request a specific colour to be worn. Some people also pay tribute to their loved one’s favourite sports team or connection to a specific organisation.

We can, upon request also wear an alternative tie colour to pay tribute to your loved one.

On the day

You can choose to start the funeral procession at our office, or alternatively we can start the procession from a home address. Where no limousines have been required, some families wish to meet our procession at the ceremony location. This will be decided during the arranging of your loved one’s funeral, and precise timings will be confirmed with you. Should you have family cars following the funeral service we will drive you to your chosen location and will be able to help you with any final questions.

The Funeral Ceremony is the culmination of the work that has taken place since the death occurred. Devall & Son will be in the attendance throughout the proceedings, to ensure the smooth running of events. We will take on the role of master of ceremonies, carrying out the task of guiding, directing and overseeing the funeral. As well as the Funeral Director, additional members of staff will also be present. Our pallbearers will be attired in smart dark blue appropriate dress and will ensure professional dignified attendance and supervision throughout the funeral.

If you or any member of your family is unsure of what to do, tell your Funeral Director. This is what we are here for, to help guide you through one of the hardest days of your life.

Following the Funeral

If your loved one was cremated, we will be in contact as soon as their ashes are safely back in our care, from here we can advise you on next steps should you need it.

We will hold all donation accounts open for 6 – 8 weeks following the funeral date. We will then send yourself a letter with details of who has donated and a total amount. From there you can decide to either collect these donations or ask us to forward them on your behalf.

Memorials

Memorials can come in all shapes and sizes, including vases, plaques and headstones. Headstones can vary in size and colour and depending on the location there can be strict rules and regulations that your loved one’s memorial must conform to. We have our in-house Monumental Masonry department and would be honoured to assist you in creating a beautiful everlasting memorial for your loved one, please ask if we can help and guide you through some options.

Alternative Memorials

Some people may wish for alternative memorials, such as a memorial bench in a local park. Alternatively, memorial jewellery is becoming more popular and with jewellery being made from your loved one’s ashes or fingerprints they often provide a great comfort to the wearer.

Further Advice

As your trusted, local, independent funeral director we are here to help and advise you. Should you need further guidance please do not hesitate to get in contact where one of our friendly, professionally trained members of staff will be on hand to help.


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