Questions and Answers
This section of our website will answer some questions you might have about our service. We are passionate about helping people, please get in touch if your question is not shown below.
Planning a Funeral
Can I make plans for my funeral before the time comes?
Yes - we offer a range of pre-paid funeral plans, ensuring financial benefits, reassurance that the funeral will be undertaken as you would wish and reducing the stresses for your family of organising a funeral at a time of grief.
Do you cater for all types of religious funerals?
We work closely with the Church of England the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church and a range of other denominations within the community.
We also offer Humanist Funerals and work closely with other ethnic sectors, including Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims and the Jewish Community.
Is there any financial assistance available?
If the person arranging the funeral is on benefits, they may be eligible to receive financial assistance. The main assistance claimed is a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund, if eligible, it is calculated as follows: The cost of the cremation and doctor's cremation certificate OR the cost of burial fees and exclusive right to burial in a plot. Plus up to £700 towards any other costs, including funeral director's fees, coffin, flowers etc, this amount will be reduced by any money the deceased left or any money that someone has given you to help with the costs.
If someone makes a payment directly to us, this does not need to be declared, but if they give you the money, it must be declared. Cost of travel to make funeral arrangements or attend the funeral. Cost of transporting the deceased over 50 miles if they dies away from home.
Please note that a Funeral Payment will not cover the entire cost of a funeral and you must apply within 3 months of the date of the funeral.
A full breakdown of the assistance available from the government and whether you qualify can be found here. You may also apply to various charities or benevolent institutions for assistance depending upon what the person died of and any previous associations. e.g. The Child Funeral Charity, The British Gas Energy Trust, SSAFA, Masonic Charitable Foundation, Turn2Us, your local Church (This list is not exhaustive).
In addition to the Funeral Payment, there are a number of other benefits that you may be eligible for, please see the Bereavement Benefits Advice Leaflet for more information.
What happens before a funeral takes place?
Where do I register the death?
The death will need to be registered in the area where the death occurred, even if the death occurred a distance from home. We are happy to advise you on this.
When do I have to register by?
Deaths in England and Wales or Northern Ireland should be registered within 5 days - if this is not going to be possible, you should inform the Registrar. In Scotland, deaths must be registered within 8 days.
What happens if someone dies overseas?
If someone dies overseas the procedure varies from country to country. Contact us straight away and we will advise you.
Is embalming required so I can see my loved one?
No, embalming is never required (excluding international transport), although it may be recommended in rare situations, such as a long delay in the funeral. It is always optional, and even if declined, we will not stop you seeing your loved one.
Am I able to put personal items into the coffin?
Yes, you can put personal items in the coffin, other than any metal and glass items if the body is being cremated.
Can I bring in clothing for the deceased?
Yes, or we can dress the deceased in one of our gowns.
How many seats are available in a limousine?
There are 6 seats available in each limousine, we may be able to accommodate a 7th person next to the driver, however, please discuss this with us as we may have reserved that seat for a member of our staff or a minister.
What mode of transportation can carry the coffin?
We offer a wide range of bespoke hearse options including a Route Master London Double-Decker Bus, horse drawn carriages, motorcycle hearses, and VW Camper Van or tractor trailers. We are happy to advise on the most appropriate option for your loved one.
Will you, or can the family carry the coffin?
We will always shoulder the coffin if it safe to do so, if we feel it is not safe, we will discuss this with you prior to the funeral. If family or friends wish to carry the coffin, please let us know at the earliest opportunity. Assuming it is safe to do so, we will gather those wanting to carry at the rear of the hearse to give them instruction.
If there is a Church service, we will need to know if you want to carry both in and out of Church. If you only want to carry for one part, we would recommend doing this into church.
Is each cremation carried out individually?
Yes. The identity of the coffin name plate is checked by the crematorium attendant before it is placed in the cremation chamber. This only holds one coffin or casket at a time and again there are rules which must be abided by
After the Funeral has taken place
Does the coffin move after the service at the crematorium?
No. After the service has ended, the coffin does not move until all relatives and friends have left the crematorium chapel. At some crematoria there are curtains that close at the head of the coffin, but this is only done at the request of relatives.
How soon can I put up a headstone?
If the grave is “earth” rather than “brick” then the grave will take six months or more before the ground is firm enough to take the weight of a headstone. If the grave is “bricked” inside, then it does not take as long.
What can I do with the cremated remains?
There are a number of options available, including: They can be scattered in a Garden of Remembrance, but you may not know where they are and you cannot place a headstone with them. You may wish to purchase a grave for the purpose of interring the cremated remains.
This allows you to have a headstone and have other members of the family buried in the same place in the future. You may keep them at home in a special urn or memorial. You may scatter them in a special place The remains may be buried in an existing family grave.
I want to leave my body to medical science
This must be arranged before you die and you must tell your loved ones of this wish. Discuss this request with your GP, they will make contact with the relevant laboratories, depending on what you would permit to happen.
Alternatively, see The Human Tissue Authority site. Once you die, your loved ones must make contact with the laboratories discussed with your GP as soon as possible, time is critical, they may ask you to arrange removal of the deceased with us, or they may have specialist teams themselves, normally they will cover any costs.
Once the laboratory have completed the research, the deceased is usually cremated, which could be years down the line. Please note that the majority of people who want to leave their body to science are unable to do so for one reason or another, so it is a good idea to discuss alternative funeral arrangements with your family, just in case.