What should I do if a relative dies at home?
When a death which has been expected occurs at home or at a nursing home, the doctor who has been treating the deceased or the doctor on call should be contacted first. After calling the doctor, you should contact ourselves and we will be with you as soon as possible. Provided the deceased has seen the doctor within the previous 14 days, the doctor or a colleague will attend to confirm that death has occurred and give permission for the deceased to be transferred to our premises. The doctor will issue the Medical Certificate of Death which you will need to register the death.
If the death has been sudden and unexpected and the police are in attendance, or the doctor cannot issue the Medical Certificate of Death, the death may need to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a Post Mortem. If this is necessary, the deceased will usually be taken to the hospital mortuary by the police undertaker.
What should I do if a relative dies in hospital?
If a relative who has been a hospital in-patient dies, the doctors who have been treating the deceased will usually issue the Medical Certificate of Death, which you will then collect from the ward or reception.
Most hospitals will give family members the opportunity to sit with the deceased before transfer from the ward. The deceased will then be taken to the mortuary from where they will be collected by ourselves on your instruction.
The doctor won’t issue the Medical Certificate of Death. Why is this?
If the doctor will not issue a Medical Certificate of Death it is usually because the circumstances surrounding the death mean it should be referred to the Procurator Fiscal for further investigation. The doctor can only complete the Medical Certificate of Death if they know the cause of death and have seen the deceased for this illness in the 14 days prior to death occurring. The doctor cannot issue the Medical Certificate of Death if the deceased:-
has died a violent or an unnatural death;
has died a sudden death of which the cause is unknown;
has died in prison or in such a place or in such circumstances as to require an inquest under any other Act.
If the death does not fall into these criteria but the deceased underwent an operation shortly before death or there is a suggestion of a possible industrial disease, then it is probable that the doctor will not complete the Medical Certificate of Death but refer the death to the Procurator Fiscal.
What happens when someone dies abroad?
If a death occurs abroad, a local funeral firm will be contacted by the authorities to take the deceased into their care and repatriation will be organised. Once we have been contacted by the family, we will liaise with the repatriation company and take the deceased into our care when they arrive in the UK. All of the necessary documentation will be transported with the deceased. The death certificate will have been issued in the country where death occurred. However, a copy in English can be obtained by the family from The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, if necessary.
Can you provide eco-friendly coffins?
We understand that choosing a coffin can be very distressing for many people and would usually supply a traditional golden oak or light oak coffin with brass handles. However, upon request, we can supply bio-degradable coffins made from materials such as bamboo, willow and cardboard.
Can family members or close friends carry the coffin?
We will provide bearers to carry the coffin unless you request otherwise. Six people would be required to shoulder the coffin into the church or crematorium, and we would be on hand to organise and assist on the day of the funeral.