First Steps following a Bereavement 

When a family suffers a bereavement it is of course a very individual and personal experience, however in every case there are some similar tasks that have to be performed and this page is designed to point you in the right direction.

Most importantly you should remember that as professional funeral directors we are here to guide you through the whole process. For any questions not covered by this page, please contact us.

Obtaining a Death Certificate

Provided the death had been expected it is usually straight forward to obtain a Medical Cause of Death Certificate. Currently, some of the procedures concerning the Registration of a Death have been changed and all appointments for the foreseeable future will be telephone based.  You do not need to collect the Medical Cause of Death Certificate from your GP or hospital bereavement office as it will be emailed to the Register Office on your behalf. When that has been sent, you need to call Norfolk County Council 0344 800 8020 to make an appointment.

Certified copies of the Death Certificate will be issued in the mail by the local Register Office once the death has been registered.

If the death was unexpected then it may be that the Coroner will become involved. (See below)

Registering the Death

When someone dies the death must be registered by the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths within five working days unless the Coroner is involved or there are other special circumstances.

The following information is needed by the registrar:

The full name and surname of the deceased (and the previous name if the deceased was married)

  • The deceased’s usual address.
  • The deceased’s date and place of birth.
  • The deceased’s date and place of death.
  • The deceased’s occupation.
  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower.
  • The informant’s (person visiting the register office) name, address and qualification.

The registrar will issue you with number of documents (currently by post), for us the most important one is the Certificate for Burial or Cremation which is bright green in colour. This form allows the funeral to take place and will be emailed to us by the registra. You will also be able to purchase Certified Copies of the Register Entry; these are used when administering the deceased’s estate for closing bank accounts or cashing life insurance policies.

The Coroner

Generally the Coroner becomes involved with deaths which are sudden, unexpected, due to accidents, violence, or of unknown cause. The Coroner’s role is to establish the exact cause of death.

The Coroner’s involvement is by no means unusual and you should not be worried if this is the case. It does mean however, that the registration procedure will be altered but if you speak to us we can advise you what to do.

Arranging the Funeral

As already mentioned, each and every funeral is distinct from any other and making it appropriate for the person and family concerned is our main priority. Ideally the arrangements and service should reflect the wishes of both the deceased and those left behind and if this is not possible a balance should be struck. In years past the majority of funerals in this country would have been based around the rites of the Church of England, however, today there are a number of different options that can be arranged.

Some decisions about the funeral need to be made earlier than others. One which should be made at an early stage because it influences a number of the other details is whether the funeral will conclude with burial or cremation. Once that decision has been made it is our aim to arrange the funeral to take place at a time and date which is convenient for you. However, it is important to remember that many factors affect when a funeral can take place, including when the death certificate is available, whether or not the Coroner is involved and the availability of the church/minister and the cemetery or crematorium.

It is usual to expect the funeral to be about 7-14 days from the date of death however there is of course a degree of flexibility and we will endeavour to accommodate your wishes. There are many options as to where the funeral can be held, including but not limited to, your local church or chapel, local crematoria and woodland burial grounds. Detailed below we have outlined some of the things you may like to consider before we meet to discuss the funeral in detail.

Things to Consider Before Meeting us to Discuss the Funeral

• Will the service conclude with burial or cremation?

• On the day of the service where will the hearse leave from and will you require any limousines?

• Do you want any particular vehicles, perhaps a horse drawn or motorcycle hearse?

• Will the service be religious or secular?

• Do any family members or friends wish to be involved with the service in some way?

• Is there any particular, music, readings or hymns you would like included in the service?

• Do you want any newspaper announcements to be placed for you, if so in which newspaper/s?

• Do you wish mourners to send floral tributes or charitable donations in lieu?

• Will anyone wish to visit the deceased in our Chapel of Rest or indeed will you want the deceased brought to rest at home?

• Would you like the deceased to be dressed in their own clothing or in a gown that we can supply?

• What sort of coffin would you like for the funeral?

Useful Telephone Numbers

Norfolk Registration Service
0344 800 8020
Bereavement Service Helpline (Claims)
0800 731 0469
Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Bereavement Office
01603 287165
James Paget Hospital Bereavement Office
01493 452359
Priscilla Bacon Lodge
01603 255720
Norwich and Central Norfolk Coroners Office
01603 276793
Aylsham Market Surgery
01263 733331
Aylsham & Reepham (Hungate Street) Surgery
01263 733693
Hethersett Surgery
01603 977477
Hingham Surgery
01953 850237

Click here to download this information as a leaflet