For your information we set out below the most often asked questions about the funeral and services associated with it. However, please do not hesitate to contact us with any question which you may have and we will do our best to help you.
What should I do when a death occurs?
If the death is expected and occurs at home:
- Contact the deceased’s doctor and inform them of the death
- Once the doctor has given permission to move the deceased, you may contact us and we will aim to be with you within 1-2 hours, to move the person who has died into our care
- The doctor will issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to the family representative for registration purposes
If the death occurs at a Nursing Home:
- If a resident dies in a nursing home the GP (or qualified nurse on duty) can verify death
- The GP will issue a medical certificate for the family to collect which will allow them to register
- Most nursing homes will record the resident’s funeral wishes on their care plan. This will specify the chosen Funeral Director and whether the deceased wanted a cremation or a burial.
- Once called, we will remove the deceased into our care
If the death occurs in Hospital:
- If death occurs at the hospital, then the Doctors and Nurses will liaise with the hospital Bereavement Office, who will arrange all the appropriate paperwork on your behalf.
In cases of sudden and unexpected death:
- If a death is unexpected then dial 999 and request an ambulance and police immediately, explaining the circumstances. In the event of an unexpected death occurring, then a coroner may become involved and may order a post-mortem to be carried out to establish an accurate cause of death. The coroner’s officer will keep you informed should this be the case and will liaise with us.
Where is my loved one taken after they die?
In cases where the Coroner is required to investigate the death, the deceased will be taken to a hospital or mortuary until a post-mortem examination is completed. If the death is expected, the funeral director will collect the deceased from the place of death and transport them to the appropriate chapel of rest, pending the arrangement of the funeral. Many large companies have central mortuaries or “hubs” where they store the deceased.
Here at W. Uden & Sons, each of our funeral homes are equipped with their own chapel of rest and have fully hygienic facilities for the care of your loved one. The only exception to this is our Dulwich branch, which shares these facilities with our branch at Camberwell.
Can I arrange a funeral before I register the death?
Yes, once the deceased’s death has been certified, call your local branch and our experienced staff will guide you through the process of arranging the funeral. The only exception is when the Coroner has indicated that he intends to hold a full inquest into the circumstances surrounded the death.
Where can I register a death?
What documentation do I need to register a death?
Call the registry office to make an appointment – you will need to take the following with you:
- Medical card (if available) of the deceased
- Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD)
- Birth certificate & information regarding date of birth (if available) of the deceased
- Some money to pay for copies of the death certificate required to administer the deceased’s estate.
What Information is required by the Registrar?
The Registrar will ask for the following information:
- Date and place of death
- Full name of deceased (maiden name if applicable)
- Date and place of birth
- Occupation and home address
- If married, full name and occupation of surviving spouse.
The registrar will then issue you a green form which you should give to the Funeral Director to proceed with the funeral arrangements. You are also entitled to one copy of the Death Certificate. Additional copies can be purchased.
How soon can the funeral take place?
We always aim to accommodate your wishes with regards to the day and time of the funeral, but there are occasions when we are restricted by the availability at your local Crematorium or Cemetery. On average, there is a 10-14 day wait for a suitable opportunity, but during busy periods, the wait may be slightly longer. Should you require a service at short notice, choosing an early morning service or having more than one choice of cemetery or crematorium will improve the chances of us being able to arrange a funeral quickly for you.
What should I choose - Burial or Cremation?
Approximately 75% of funerals in the UK involve cremation and in the majority of cases, this tends to be less expensive than a burial. Generally, the cremated remains (often referred to as “ashes”) are available within 24 hours of cremation and we would usually collect these for you, pending your decision on their final place of rest.
There are three general options surrounding burial; in a churchyard, in a civil cemetery or in a natural burial ground. In each case the regulations are slightly different.
Many local churchyards are already full and can only accept new burials where the families already own an existing grave and there is still room for a further interment. The deceased will usually need to have resided/died in the parish to qualify to be buried in a churchyard. It is not generally possible to pre-purchase or reserve a burial plot in a churchyard and no grave deed is issued, as the plot remains the property of the church.
You should be aware that the rules and regulations concerning certain types of memorials/headstones allowed in churchyards are different and are often restrictive.
Graves in cemeteries may be purchased before death or at the time of death and this usually confers an exclusive right of burial for a period of time
Extra fees may be payable if the person who has died was residing outside the local area. Please be aware these can become very expensive at either double, treble, quadruple or even five times the normal fees for a local resident, depending on the cemetery concerned.
Cemeteries are more flexible on the type of memorial/headstone you can have and this generally will allow a much wider choice on the type and size of stone, style and colour of font for engraving and the colour of the stone itself.
WOODLAND/NATURAL BURIAL GROUND
All coffins must be made of natural bio-degradable material and Embalming is often not permitted unless under exceptional circumstances such as repatriation.
Can I bring in clothing?
Yes, of course you can. Please bring in whatever clothing you wish the deceased to be dressed in, the normal clothes that you would have known them in. Please be aware though that no rubber-soled shoes are allowed for a person being cremated. We will dress your loved one, or if you prefer, we can supply a tasteful satin gown for them to wear.
Spectacles, watches and items of jewellery can be worn for the purpose of viewing but these will normally be removed and returned to you before the actual funeral, please speak to a member of staff for further information regarding this.
Can I help prepare the deceased?
You are welcome to be involved in the washing, dressing and preparation of your loved one if you wish. You may also like to apply makeup or prepare the hair of your loved one. Please contact the office you made the arrangements through to book a suitable time to do this.
Can we put personal items in the coffin?
Yes, you may. However, certain items are not permitted in the coffin during the cremation process, so they may have to be removed prior to the funeral taking place. For further details please speak to our staff.
What is embalming and is it necessary?
It is the process of removing the natural fluids from a body and replacing them with a preservative fluid which is injected through the veins. In some cases, embalming is necessary, such as if the body is to be kept for a long time before the funeral, or if the body is to be exported by air. Unlike other funeral directors who charge extra for this process, we will not undertake embalming unless the person instructing us requests this.
May I visit the deceased?
Certainly. Your loved one will be cared for in our Chapel of rest which is incorporated within our funeral home, so you know they are always in safe hands. All we ask is that you call us prior to your visit so that we can prepare everything before you arrive.
Do we have to have a religious ceremony?
Not at all. Most funeral services in the UK do follow a traditional format which includes music, readings, a eulogy and tributes, but you do not need to have any religious content. You may wish to have a secular service to celebrate the life of the person who has died, and this is of course totally acceptable.
Can family and friends carry the coffin?
Yes they can, although we cannot mix and match family bearers with our own staff, so please arrange for a minimum of four, and a maximum of six people to carry the coffin. We will brief those who wish to do this so that they know what to expect. We will also be on hand to assist on the day of the funeral.
How much will it all cost?
Funeral costs are made up of two types of charges; the funeral director’s fees and the disbursements that we pay on your behalf. Disbursements include things like charges for burial or cremation, doctor’s fees, offerings to places of worship and payment to the officiate.
When arranging the funeral, we will always fully break down these costs and provide you with a full written estimate, so that you know exactly what everything will cost. The style of the funeral, choice of coffin, number of vehicles, etc., will all have an influence over the final costs of the funeral. Our exceptional standards of service will be the same, whatever style of funeral you choose.
We would encourage you to obtain at least one other quote regarding the cost of your funeral, which will allow you to compare our price, together with the quality of our vehicles, our staff and our service, to those of our competitors.
When do you require payment?
We do not require a deposit at the time you make the funeral arrangements but in order for us to provide the funeral at such a competitive cost, we require payment in full at least 5 working days before the actual service. We accept payment by cash, debit or credit card, although we cannot accept American Express. Our funeral staff will advise you when the final payment date is due when you make the initial arrangements.
Where can I get help towards the cost of a funeral?
We are unable to provide definitive advice on this subject, although in certain circumstances, you may qualify for a Social Fund Funeral Payment which will help towards the funeral expenses. However, this payment is currently not large enough to cover the entire funeral expenses and you will be expected to make up any shortfall. More information can be obtained by clicking below.
What sort of cars do you have?
We have a fleet of immaculately-presented Bentley and Jaguar limousines with matching hearses. They are regularly maintained and meticulously cleaned inside and out to ensure they meet our exacting standards and your expectations. We also have Motorcycle hearses and Horse-drawn carriages available, to view our fleet press the link below.
How many people do they hold?
Each car seats six adults in complete comfort.
Do they provide wheelchair access?
No, If you require specialist transport please let us know and we can arrange this on your behalf.
Can children travel in the cars?
Yes, they can, although you will need to supply your own correctly accredited car seat. Children must be properly restrained and cannot be carried on your lap.
What sort of other vehicles are available?
The type of hearse to carry the coffin is only restricted by your imagination. In addition to horse drawn carriages, motorcycles, VW vans and Lorries, we can source whatever vehicles you may require.
Where does our Limousine journey end?
After the funeral, we will take you back to your chosen destination, where our drivers will see you safely out of the vehicle and will then depart.
Does the body always need to be moved by a funeral director?
No. It is possible to keep the body at home, provided registration of the death takes place within 5 days. However, the length of time the body may be kept at home may vary and you may need the technical support of your local funeral director if you wish to consider this.
Does the body always need to be embalmed?
Not alway, no. There are certain circumstances when embalming is required or would be recommended, but with modern hygienic methods to care for the deceased, there should be no noticeable deterioration of the body before the funeral, as long as there is not a long period of time from date of death to the funeral date. Some funeral directors recommend embalming as this incurs an additional fee.
Do I have to order my flowers from you?
Not at all. We are not connected with any florist and do not receive commission from any other company. You are welcome to make your own arrangements for floral tributes, although we can assist and advise you if required, giving you the details of local florists who we know have done a good job on previous funerals.
What about printing and "Orders of Service"?
Once again, we are not affiliated with any particular printers. We are happy to recommend a local company, and your funeral celebrant may also be able to assist you with regards to the content of your funeral printing requirements.
How much do you charge for storing the ashes?
There is no fee for storing the ashes. We will collect the cremated remains and store them securely until you arrange their collection or give us further instructions regarding their final resting place.
Can I have the funeral on a day of our choice?
Unlike some companies, we do not have set “slots” for funerals. We will do all we can to arrange the funeral for the day and time you require, although we cannot guarantee to be able to get the exact date you want. The greatest constraints are normally the availability of your local Cemetery or Crematorium, but if you require a specific date or time, there may be a vacancy at another location if you are willing to be flexible. We can also arrange the funeral on a Saturday or Sunday but this will incur additional costs.
Can you provide a "no frills" funeral?
We can provide A Pure Cremation Service, which includes: –
● Collection of the deceased into our care. Please note that the body will be taken back to a branch of our choice, and it’s possible that for logistical reasons, the branch we choose may not be local to you.
● Completing all arrangements
● A suitable coffin
● Transporting the deceased in a vehicle of our choice to the crematorium. This could potentially be either our private ambulance, a Land Rover Discovery or a Seat Alhambra. The vehicle will be chosen according to whatever fits our logistical needs.
● Collection of Ashes – if required
● Date, time and crematorium of our choice
● All relevant medical documentation is included in our fees
● No viewing is permitted
● No personal dressing
● No family to attend either the branch or crematorium on the day of the service
Do I need a coffin, and if so, what sort is required?
All crematoria require that the deceased must be enclosed in a coffin. For religious reasons, some cemeteries and natural burial grounds may allow “earth burials” without the need for a coffin. We provide an extensive range of coffins but at the same time, we always remind our clients that for a cremation, everything is consumed in the final process and it is therefore not always necessary to provide an expensive coffin.
Can you supply urns, memorials and mementoes for the deceased?
Yes we can, but our core business is to provide the best possible funeral service and to leave a lasting impression on those who are left behind. We do not promote the sale of these items either during or after the initial arrangements, but are happy to supply them upon request.
Do you recycle the coffin?
Each cremation is carried out individually and the coffin is always cremated with the deceased.
What happens to the handles on the coffin?
All coffin furniture remains exactly as it is and is either buried or cremated.
How do I know these are the ashes of my loved one?
The cremation process is strictly regulated requiring the crematorium to always have full control of who is being cremated and therefore label cremated remains correctly.
How can I be certain that you bury or cremate the right body?
Each of our branches has their own Chapel of Rest, which means that we know the individual details of all our clients. At every stage of the funeral process, the details on the wristband or other identifying mark are checked against the paperwork and the nameplate on the coffin. A final check is made by the staff at the cemetery or crematorium.
What about clothing and jewellery?
We make a note of every item of visible jewellery when a body comes into our care, and we seek instructions from the person making the funeral arrangements as to whether these items are to remain or be returned. A last check is also made just before the coffin is finally sealed. Whatever is in the coffin after this final check is completed is buried or cremated with the coffin.