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Guide TO:

What To Do After Someone Dies

So, a line’s been drawn in the sands of time… A loved one or relative has passed on, and you’re casting about for what to do next. The commemorative arrangements have fallen to you; it’s only fair to head into them with your chin held high, confident you can deliver what the deceased would have wanted.

But how do you get from the first aftershocks of a bereavement to a memorable, heart-warming funeral? We’re going to show you, with the following guide to the challenges you’re facing, and how to surmount them…

Certify the death

The first thing you’ll have to do is register the death. This needs to be carried out as soon as possible. Under UK law, a doctor doesn’t have to examine the body before they issue a certificate, but there are exceptions.

Death in a hospital, for example, will be verified by the medical staff. In a private home, however, the departed’s GP should pay a visit. There are also circumstances in which you’ll have to report it to a coroner (check government resources for more information on these scenarios).

You’ll need to obtain:

  • A medical certificate
  • A death certificate (multiple copies, for banks and other companies)
  • A certificate for burial or cremation

As soon as the forms are signed, you’ll have to arrange for storage at a crematorium or morgue. Your funeral director can take care of this, which makes it a good idea to explore your options from the start.

Tell everyone the death will affect

Now that the body has been transported and prepared for storage, it’s time to pick up the phone. As the nearest friend or loved one, it’s your job to call other friends or family members with the sad news. Don’t announce it publicly before you’ve had the requisite talks: the internet spills far too many beans before they’re due, and Facebook/Twitter memorials could be seen as insensitive.

Then comes a lengthier phone job – ringing around banks, power companies, internet providers; basically any service that the departed relied on. Accounts have to be cancelled in quick succession to avoid any issues from cropping up over the weeks ahead. Professional aids – such as the lawyer, accountant, insurance team etc. – fall into this list too.

Begin planning the funeral

Were there instructions in the deceased’s will? Had you both discussed what would happen if a funeral was in your hands? If so, it’s time to solidify those concepts, and make them real with the budget you have to draw on. But equally, don’t worry if not.

Funeral directors can bring their experience to bear on everything that must be done. Through a comparison site like ours, you’ll find the right service, separating the most relevant personnel from those who aren’t going to be appropriate for your needs. Multiple factors such as geography, burial/cremation prices, and venue options will collide until the picture of your perfect match becomes clear.

Via a comparison portal, it’s incredibly easy to select what’s most relevant to you, and discern how it fits with your budget and vision. Arrange a sit-down with your director-of-choice so you can ask questions and discuss your options. Then, if you can, firm up a date or timeframe for the ceremony to take place in the coming weeks.

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Consider what’ll make the service unique

The dusty, buttoned-up style of mourning is becoming a relic of the past. Steadily, we’re seeing drab and formal funerals being supplanted by those speaking to the joie de vivre of whoever’s left this earth.

The venue, for instance, could reflect something personal about the deceased. Fancy eschewing a church for a sporting ground, or a glade in a nearby wood? Liaise with your funeral director to see how much the booking will be, what the access times are, and how much of a down-payment – if any – is required.

At this stage, you can also look over commemorative coffins or urns, deciding which material/style is best for the occasion. Then there are flowers, orders of service, keepsakes and other personal touches to consider.

A theme may push you in one direction, and give further relevance in the dress code, service schedule, or musical accompaniment you choose to highlight a special, well-lived life.

Gauge practical issues for the day itself

Is there disabled access at the venue? Do some relatives need to shack up at a house or hotel before the funeral, seeing as they’re hopping over an ocean to get there? How many drive, and who needs to be chaperoned to the burial or ceremonial site?

It’s worth approaching such issues in advance. Again, speak to guests who might have lone practical concerns, and work out a plan that suits everyone. Give directions as accurately as you can, along with the meeting/departure times.

Your funeral director can be on-hand with a fleet of vehicles to taxi people to and from the service, should you desire them. It’s common to hire a limousine for family and friends to arrive at a funeral, but it’s by no means necessary if your budget is tight.

Lastly, it’s worth thinking about food, drink and celebratory tributes. A family member could supply snacks and sandwiches, or you could lean towards a professional team for the silver-service treatment. Similarly, there might be one amongst you who’s a talented musician, saving fees on an organist.

Get bereavement counselling if necessary

In the rush to arrange a funeral, it can be difficult to cope with and process that whirlwind of emotions. So, when things settle down, it’s important to give yourself the breathing space to grieve.

Because it’s very tough coping with the passing of a loved one, we always recommend seeking bereavement advice from the NHS, your GP, or any of the wonderful charities that approach the subject of moving on.

It might seem exhaustive, but by breaking down the process into manageable tasks, you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve. Whether you’re seeking a course of action for the future, or you need to sort a ceremony ASAP, we’re here to help. To get your head and wallet in good stead for what’s to come, why not complete our contact form or talk to the Dead Right team on 0203 937 7707?

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