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Arranging a funeral

The person responsible for arranging a funeral must first register the death with Walsall Register Office.

What to do after someone dies 

Death registration

Help arranging a funeral

Arranging a funeral yourself 

Choosing a burial or cremation 

Out of burials service 

Booking a funeral

Forms for burial or cremation

Attending a funeral

Booking a burial or scattering of ashes

FAQs

Repatriation

 

COVID-19 update

In order to meet government guidelines regarding social distancing the number of people permitted to attend a burial or cremation is restricted to a maximum of 30. All attendees must observe social distancing.

You are permitted to visit the council's cemeteries but please observe social distancing whilst you are there.

 

 What to do when after someone dies

There are a number of things that must be done when someone dies:

  • their death must be registered within 5 days unless a referral has been made to the Coroner.  More information on how to Register a death can be found on GOV.UK 
  • arrangements must be made for their funeral.
  • the Government must be informed of their death.
  • you must check if you can get bereavement benefits and deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes.
  • deal with their estate.

There are more details on each of these stages on GOV.UK: What to do when someone dies.

 

Death registration

All death registrations will now be completed by telephone between the hours of 9:30am and 4pm Monday to Friday

  1. The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) will be issued by hospital / GP Practice and scanned to Walsall Register Office
  2. As the Informant you will need to book a death registration appointment online to register the death
  3. The Registrar will ring you at the time of your appointment
  4. The Registrar will ask you for details of the person who died. It would be helpful but not essential if you have documents to hand showing details of the deceased e.g. birth / marriage certificate / passport and last address
  5. The Registrar will check all the details with you to make sure they are correct and your name as the Informant will be shown on the registration
  6. Details of the death will be captured on the Tell Us Once system with information of what to do next provided
  7. The form for burial or cremation (‘Green Form’) will be scanned to your Funeral Director to allow funeral arrangements to be made
  8. The Registrar will take payments for death certificates, if requested
  9. We will issue a form BD8 so that if the person who died was receiving any benefits or State Pension, you can use this form to ensure that those payments are adjusted
  10. Death certificates and the form BD8 will be posted to your home address

This procedure also applies to out of hours registrations. Out of hours registrations can be arranged by calling the Standby Bereavement Officer on 07734 544806 during the following times:

Saturdays

8:30am - 12pm

Sundays & Bank Holidays

9am - 10am

 

 


Help arranging a funeral

People often have ideas about what they think a funeral should be like, or must include, but in reality there are no set requirements. Every person and every family is different. The most important thing is that you have the funeral that feels right to you for the person who has died.

 

Before you start organising a funeral it is worth:

  • checking if the person who died left any instruction about what they wanted
  • discuss what is practical and affordable
  • decide whether you want to make the funeral arrangements yourself or with the help of a funeral director. We provide further guidance on self arranged funerals 

 

Using a funeral director

If you plan on using a funeral director we suggest you find one who belongs to one of the professional trade associations, such as the:

 

A basic funeral is likely to include:

  • a plain, lined coffin
  • transport of the body of the person who has died to the funeral directors premises
  • care of the person who has died (including washing and dressing, but not embalming) until the funeral
  • provision of a hearse to take the body to the cemetery or crematorium
  • provision of people to carry the coffin
  • making all other necessary arrangements, e.g. getting and submitting the required forms.

There are a wide range of optional elements – such as funeral flowers and putting a death notice in the local paper - which can add substantially to the cost. Prices can vary a lot, so it is worth getting several quotes.

 

There are a number of fees that must be paid, irrespective of the service you choose to have.

 

  1. Burial fees:
  • the fee for purchasing the Exclusive Right of Burial
  • the fee for the preparation of the grave, known as the interment fee
  1. Cremation fees:
  • the doctors fees for completing the relevant medical forms
  • the cremation fee

You might be able to get help paying for a funeral if you’re on benefits. Check if you can get a Funeral Expenses Payment on GOV.UK: Get help with funeral costs.

If your loved one had a life insurance policy or funeral plan they may have already arranged and paid for many of the important elements of their funeral with a local funeral director. Industry regulator The Funeral Planning Authority has a helpful search tool for tracing funeral plans that were taken out with registered providers.

 


Arranging a funeral yourself 

Although most funerals in the UK are arranged with the help of a funeral director it is possible to arrange a funeral yourself. You could do this for a number of reasons, including cost savings, but it will require more effort on your part.

 

If you decide to organise a funeral yourself, you will be responsible for, among other things:

  • collecting the body of your loved one from the place of death
  • storage of the deceased until the time of the funeral
  • registering the death
  • deciding whether the service will be at a cemetery, crematorium chapel or other place
  • booking the service venue
  • if required, the appointment of a person to deliver a funeral service
  • arranging the transport of the coffin
  • directing the mourners and arranging the flowers at the cemetery or crematorium
  • if required, organising the wake/reception

 

There are a number of sources of information about how to arrange a funeral yourself online:

There are a number of fees that must be paid, irrespective of the service you choose to have. 

 

Burial fees:

  • the fee for purchasing the Exclusive Right of Burial
  • the fee for the preparation of the grave, known as the interment fee

Cremation fees:

  • the doctors fees for completing the relevant medical forms
  • the cremation fee

 

You might be able to get help paying for a funeral if you’re on benefits. Check if you can get a Funeral Expenses Payment on GOV.UK: Get help with funeral costs.

If your loved one had a life insurance policy or funeral plan they may have already arranged and paid for many of the important elements of their funeral with a local funeral director. Industry regulator The Funeral Planning Authority has a helpful search tool for tracing funeral plans that were taken out with registered providers.

 


Choosing burial or cremation

In the UK 75% of deaths result in cremation, however the choice is likely to come down what is right for you and your family. Your decision will be based on a number of factors which might include your:

  • budget 
  • personal beliefs
  • religion
  • loved one's wishes 

If you choose burial you should remember,

  • burials in a new grave can be arranged to take place within hours of a death occuring.
  • burials allow for the deceased to be exhumed for further examination if there are any concerns over the cause of their death.
  • burials cost more than cremation.
  • you can only purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial (‘Right’) for a grave - you cannot own the land itself. Walsall council ‘Rights’ are for a period of 100 years.
  • if you, or the deceased, already own a ‘Right’ the deed will need to be produced to allow the burial to take place. If the deed is not available the council will need to carry out records searches which could delay the funeral.
  • if you, and/or the deceased, lived outside of Walsall the fee for the ‘Right’ and the interment will be doubled.
  • there are restrictions on the types of memorials and memorabilia permitted in Walsall cemeteries.
  • new graves are only available at:
  1. North Walsall Cemetery
  2. Streetly Cemetery
  3. Willenhall Lawn Cemetery
  • if you, or your family, live or move away it might be more difficult to visit the grave.

     

Out of Hours Burial Service

Walsall Council offers and Out of Hours burial service. Although this service is aimed at those with a spiritual or cultural requirement for a funeral to be carried out as soon as possible after a death the service is available to anyone.

Full information about this service is held in the Out of Hours Burial Procedure.

 

The following forms are required for this service:

  • Order for burial
  • Self-arranged funeral form

 

Booking a funeral

  1. In the event that someone dies:
  2. A doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)
  3. Family to contact their chosen funeral director (FD) to collect their loved one
  4. Family register the death – see Death Registration (Green Form issued directly to family’s chosen FD)
  5. Family decide whether to have a burial or cremation and inform their FD
  6. FD books a service time / date: for Burial by calling 0300 555 2848, for Cremation by using the dedicated PIN system
  7. FD arranges for all relevant paperwork to be completed by the relevant people; Burial - order for burial and Statutory Declaration; Cremation - Order for Cremation, Crem Form 1 and Crem Form 4
  8. FD submits all relevant paperwork, including Green Form, to Bereavement Services by email
  9. Funeral takes place at the time and date requested with only members of the deceased’s household / close family present.
  10. Post-funeral paperwork, e.g. the Exclusive Right of Burial grant or the Cremation Certificate, will be issued automatically but there may be some delays

This procedure also applies to out of hours burials. Out of hours burials can be arranged by calling the Standby Bereavement Officer on 07734 544806 during the following times:

Saturdays

8:30am - 12pm

Sundays & Bank Holidays

9am - 10am

 

 

Forms for burial or cremation

Burial

There are no statutory forms required for a burial to take place, however the council is legally obliged to keep a register of every burial which takes place within its cemeteries. The only form which is required to allow a burial to take place is the Order for Burial. However other forms may need to be submitted:

 

Cremation

There are a number of statutory forms which must be completed to allow a cremation to take place. Typically these are:

Note: The forms required can vary dependent on the age of the deceased and whether the Coroner has been involved – further guidance can be found on GOV.UK: cremation forms and guidance.

 

Attending a funeral

  1. Anyone who has been in contact with someone with Covid-19, or who has Covid-19 themselves, has to self-isolate and cannot attend a funeral
  2. Anyone who is over 70 or who has underlying health conditions should be shielding themselves and should not attend a funeral
  3. You must practice social distancing measures at all times - please remain 2m away from everyone and follow all instructions issued by council employees
  4. Only members of the deceased’s household / close family should attend the funeral
  5. Attendances:

Streetly Crematorium

Social distancing must be observed by all attendees. To encourage this we have marked out ‘safe’ seats in each chapel at Streetly Crematorium. There will now be:-

• 10 seats in the East Chapel, and

• 15 seats in the West Chapel. ​

In addition, a maximum of 15 additional attendees can stand outside the chapel and listen to the service. Once again, 2m social distancing must apply. ​

Council cemeteries

A maximum of 30 attendees will be allowed to attend a burial. The attendees must observe social distancing and should be careful not to stand on other graves.

  1. It is the responsibility of each family to determine who the attendees will be
  2. Funeral services must not take more than 30 minutes
  3. Families must not touch the coffin at our premises – rather they should ‘blow a kiss’ or wave
  4. We are unable to accommodate requests to witness coffins being charged into the cremators or for families to backfill graves themselves
  5. Funeral attendees are welcome to film the service and make this available through media platforms as long as prior permission has been sought from the officiant and cemetery / crematorium staff

Booking a burial or scattering or ashes

  1. Family decide whether to have the ashes buried or scattered.

Burial options:

  • Under a kerbside plaque at Bloxwich, Ryecroft or Streetly cemetery
  • In a Foley vault at Streetly Cemetery
  • In a cremated remains grave at Bentley, Bloxwich, James Bridge, North Walsall, Streetly or Willenhall Lawn cemetery
  • A family grave (this will require the permission of the grave owner)
  • A new full size grave at North Walsall, Streetly or Willenhall Lawn cemetery

Scatter options:

  • Gardens of remembrance are available at Bloxwich, Ryecroft and Streetly cemeteries. These are large grassed communal areas where a number ashes are scattered each year. There are specific areas for leaving floral tributes but no individual / personal memorials can be placed in the gardens themselves
  1. Family complete the relevant application form :

Burial:

Scatter:

  1. Family or funeral director submit all relevant paperwork via email to BereavementServices@walsall.gov.uk
  2. We will call you to book an appointment and take payment so please make sure you supply us with a contact number. Please note our number shows as withheld
  3. We will email confirmation of your appointment. This will include a map of where to meet our representative
  4. On the day of the service family arrive at the cemetery or crematorium and gather in the specified location
  5. Council representative will meet you and carry out identity checks, then:

Burial:

  • Representative will place the ashes in accordance with your application
  • Representative will install the memorial plaque or backfill the grave

Scatter:

  • Representative will take the ashes and transfer them into a scattering urn
  • Representative will return and lead you to the Garden of Remembrance where the ashes will be scattered in accordance with the instruction you gave on the application form
  1. Our representative will leave you to have time for reflection
  2. Our staff will update the records to show the location of the ashes

Repatriation

There are a number of requirements which must be met in order for the body of your loved one to be repatriated from the UK to any worldwide destination. We would recommend that you approach a company which specialises in repatriation services for full details and assistance - these companies can be found by carrying out a simple internet search.