What should I do if a relative dies at home?

When a death, which has been expected, occurs at home the doctor who has been treating the deceased should be contacted. Provided the deceased has seen a doctor during their final illness within the preceding 28 days the doctor or a suitably trained medical professional with death verification qualifications (district nurse, paramedic, out of hours doctor) will either attend to confirm that death has occurred, or will give permission for the deceased to be transferred to a funeral directors premises if it is your wish for this to happen. You can then contact the funeral director of your choice, who will attend to convey the deceased back to its Chapel of Rest.

If the death is sudden or unexpected the first contact must be the Police. They will attend on behalf of the Coroner and will make the necessary arrangements for the deceased to be transferred to a local hospital mortuary.

What should I do if a relative dies in hospital?

If a relative who has been a hospital in-patient dies, the doctor who has been treating the deceased will usually be able to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.  You should then notify the Bereavement Office at the hospital whether there will be a burial or cremation (if known at this stage) and which Funeral Director will be dealing with the arrangements.

Once the hospital has completed their paperwork they will issue a release instruction to the funeral director, giving them opermision to collect the deceased.

Who can register a death?

A close relative of the deceased, relative in attendance during last illness, or a relative living in the district where the death occurred. A person present at death or the person dealing with the disposal of the body, ie signing the paper work the funeral.

How do I register a death?

Unless the death is sudden or unexpected in which case it will be reported to the Coroner, the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be sent electronically by the Hospital or Doctors’ Surgery directly to the Register Office.  You will need to book an appointment with the Register Office in the area where the death occurred as death registrations are now made by telephone interview due to COVID situation:-

For deaths that have occurred in East Sussex:-

Book Online

or call 0345 60 80 198 for an appointment.

For deaths that have occurred in Kent:-

Go to the Kent County Council website and complete the online form for a telephone appointment.

What information will the Registrar require?
  • the person’s full name at the time of death.
  • any names previously used, ie maiden name.
  • the person’s date and place of birth.
  • their last address.
  • their occupation.
  • the full name, birth date and occupation of a surviving/late spouse/civil partner.
  • whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits.
The Doctor says he will not issue the medical certificate of cause of death. Why is this?

If the doctor will not issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, it is usually because the circumstances surrounding the death mean it should be referred to HM Coroner for further investigation.

The doctor can only complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death if they know the cause of death having seen the deceased for this illness in the 28 days prior to death occurring.

The doctor cannot issue the Medical Certificate of Cause 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 Cause of Death but refer the death to HM Coroner in whose sub-district the death occurred.
  • If the death is referred to HM Coroner their office will arrange for the deceased to be taken to their mortuary in order that the death can be investigated and, if necessary, an inquest opened.
What does Her Majesty’s Coroner do?

The main duties of the Coroner today are:

  • To investigate all sudden and unexpected deaths,
  • To investigate all deaths that happen abroad where the body is repatriated to the United Kingdom.
  • To give permission to remove bodies out of England and Wales.
  • To act for the Crown in respect of treasure trove.
  • The holder of the post of HM Coroner usually has a legal background and is not infrequently a solicitor. He/she can also be a doctor with a legal background and is occasionally both. Although the Local Authority supplies the Coroner Service, paying all costs – including the costs of removals by funeral firms acting on behalf of the Coroner – the Coroner is not employed by the Authority, being only answerable to the Crown in the person of one of Her Majesty’s Secretaries of State, namely the Home Secretary.

We are familiar with the Coroners in the area and will liaise with them directly and advise you on how to proceed.

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 the burial options available. Each cremation is carried out individually and the coffin is cremated with the deceased. 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. Generally, the cremated remains (often referred to as “ashes”) are available within 24 hours 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. The regulations are slightly different for each one and are explained below.


The deceased will usually need to have resided/died in the parish to qualify to be buried in a churchyard. Under certain circumstances the minister may consider burial of someone not living in the parish. 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 (either indefinite or 99 years).

Extra fees may be payable if the person who has died was residing outside the parish and these can become very expensive at either double, treble, quadruple or even five times the normal fees for a parishioner, 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

Woodland burial is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burials and cremation. It usually takes place in natural burial grounds, or designated woodland burial sites in larger cemeteries.

Generally, woodland burial does not include embalming. Some natural burial grounds will not allow embalming, as the chemicals used may pollute the ground.

How do I choose a celebrant or vicar?

No, there is no requirement to hold a religious funeral service and there are several alternatives. Perhaps a relative or friend could take the service if they feel able to do so. Other members of the congregation could speak or read verses or poems. We work with several Celebrants and would be happy to recommend and match you with one depending on the nature of the service you would like to have.

Will the body be kept safe locally or at a central hub?

The body will be kept in our mortuary which uses refrigeration to aid the preservation of the deceased and all the facilities required to ensure that all needs can be dealt with on-site. The body will remain here until it has been prepared for the chapel of rest.

The chapel of rest is a viewing room which allows families to privately pay their respects to the deceased.

Can family and friends carry the coffin?

Yes, they can, either on their own or together with our team. We would brief anyone who wished to do this, so they know what to expect. We would be on hand to assist on the day of the funeral.

May I come to see the deceased?

Yes, you may. The person instructing us in the funeral arrangements will usually advise us who may come to visit the deceased in our viewing room, and we will advise  accordingly.

Embalming - What is it and is it necessary?

It is the process of removing the natural fluids from a body and replacing them with a preservative fluid, through the vascular system. In some cases, embalming is necessary, such as if the body is to be kept for a long time before the funeral, if the body is to be exported by air or sometimes, if the deceased is to be viewed by family or friends. In other cases, embalming cannot be undertaken, such as if the deceased is to be buried in a natural burial ground. In any event, we do not undertake embalming unless the person instructing us has given their permission.

Can I bring in clothing for the deceased to be dressed in?

Yes, you can, however certain materials are restricted. alternatively, we can dress the deceased in one of our gowns.

May we put some personal items in the coffin?

Yes, you may. However, certain items are not permitted in the coffin during the cremation process, so may have to be removed prior to the funeral taking place.

What types of transport can you offer?

We have always taken great pride in providing only the finest vehicles to its clients. We operate our own fleet of vehicles, that is modern, well maintained and immaculately looked after featuring our Mercedes Hearses and Limousine. If you simply prefer something discreet, we can transport the coffin in one of our Subaru estate cars.

In addition, we can also provide Horse Drawn Turnouts – (the traditional Plumed Horses and Glass carriage for the funeral with a variety of options including pairs, teams or “six in hand” in both Black or White horses with either Black or White carriages. A variety of different coloured plumes are also available to really tailor the turnout.)

Classic Hearses Motorcycle Hearses, Land Rover and Volkswagen Hearses are also available.

We can accommodate most requests for funeral transportation as long as they are safe.

What happens to the flowers after a funeral?

Once date and time of funeral is fixed the floral delivery can be scheduled. Our local florists work closely in conjunction with us for the delivery of wreaths and coffin sprays.  Whether you are looking for funeral or sympathy flowers, the florist can help you to create the perfect floral tribute.  In accordance with family wishes donations may be specified in preference to floral tributes.  You decide what is to happen to the flowers after the service.  You can take them with you after the service, place on a  family grave, leave them at the crematorium, or anything else you feel fitting.

How do you collect and distribute donations?

We can provide an easy and simple solution to handling charitable donations through an on-line platform run by Memory Giving but displayed on our website. It works for any charity your family may nominate.

Gift Aided donations can be collected to increase the amount charities receive from in memoriam donations. Memory Giving charge a fee per donation but not for Gift Aid.  The fee is the same as for a Just Giving page and contributes to cost of running the platform.

How much does a funeral cost?

Funeral costs are made up of two types of charges; the funeral director’s fees and the disbursements that we initially pay on your behalf. (crematoria charges, church charges, minister’s charges, etc.) Generally speaking, it is best to arrange an appointment to meet one of the advisors and they will guide you on the best options and explain how the costs apply. A Price list can be emailed upon request and if you ask about final arrangements in person, we will give you a written general price list that you can keep, itemising the range of costs of the goods and services offered. Before you look at any caskets or coffins be sure you have seen a price list with specific prices for each item.

Do you require a deposit?

Yes, we do, towards the disbursements, usually £3,000 payable when the arrangements are made, before the funeral has taken place. An invoice for the balance of the funeral account is sent after the funeral has taken place to the person who has signed our quotation and accepted responsibility for the funeral expenses.

Is there any help towards funeral expenses from the Government?

Yes, in certain conditions. You may qualify for a Social Fund Funeral Payment which will help towards the funeral expenses. This payment is currently not large enough to cover the entire funeral expenses. More information can be obtained by clicking this link: