In most cases, a death should be registered within 5 days in the locality in which the person has died. However, this is not always possible when there is a delay in obtaining the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death in which case the registrar will likely give permission for an extension.
Once you know that the Medial Certificate of Cause of Death has been completed, you need to contact the registration service to make an appointment to register. For deaths in Cornwall you need to ring a central number – 01872 1234181 – to make an appointment to register a death. This has usually been done in person but, during restrictions for Covid-19, appointments are being done over the telephone.
Family members normally register the death but it could also be an executor, care home manager or hospital administrator. You must have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death in order to complete registration process and you also need to know the individual’s full name, main address and date of birth. You should also have the details of the date and place of death to give to the registrar.
The registrar will ask what the individual’s occupation was, whether the individual was receiving any state benefits and if they were married, the name and date of the surviving widow or widower.
Upon registration of the death you will be given:
- A certified copy of the death certificate – additional copies are available for £11 each and it is useful to work out how many you might need to deal with the financial affairs of the deceased.
- A “green form” – which you need to give to the funeral director.
- DWP form and contact details for different available benefits.
- Information on the free “Tell Us Once” service (0800 0857308). Tell Us Once will inform central and local government departments about a death in one go – HMRC, DWP, Passport Office, DVLA, local councils, public sector / armed forces pensions. To use it you will need to have the deceased’s date of birth; next of kin and executor’s details; national insurance number; driving licence number; passport number; benefits and pensions information; and local council services used.
COLLECTING THE DECEASED
We offer a 24/7 service for collection.
Please see below for the different arrangements dependent upon where and under what circumstances the death occurs. Wherever the death occurs, please be aware that if the deceased has had an operation within the past year or a recent fall the death may be referred to the coroner to decide whether a post mortem is required. All sudden deaths and unexpected deaths will be referred to the coroner.
Hospital – Once we have been notified by the Bereavement Office or the Coroner that the necessary paperwork has been completed, we will collect your loved one and bring him or her back to our Resting Place.
Collection from a care home or a hospice – If your loved one dies in the community and it was an expected death, we can collect them once a doctor, ideally their GP, has seen them and is happy for us to collect. There is often a member of staff within the care / nursing home who is able to verify the death.
If the deceased has had a recent fall or operation, the Coroner may be informed.
Collection from home – If your loved one has planned to die at home it is most likely that an “Expected Death” form has been completed and we can collect them once a doctor, ideally their GP, has seen them and is happy for us to collect.
We are often contacted by the family prior to the death which is helpful for both parties as it enables us to acquaint ourselves with the location and access and reassures the family as they have spoken or met with us and know what to do when the time occurs.
There is no need for your loved one to be removed from their home immediately. Some families and beliefs like the deceased to rest at home for a while so that family and friends can visit them in their own surroundings. Sometimes families want to wash and dress their loved one before they leave. Should you want your loved one to rest at home it is important to ensure that the room is cool, they are lying straight and the body is covered when left unattended.
When an unexpected death occurs your loved one will be collected by the Coroner’s undertakers and taken to the hospital mortuary where a post mortem may be carried out. After the post mortem the family can arrange for us to collect their loved one.
WASHING & DRESSING
Often families want to have their loved one washed and dressed in specifically-chosen clothes which can range from a three-piece suit to a favourite old nightie. For ladies we offer a female-only dressing service. Should anyone wish to wash and dress their loved one they can do that at our resting place or, when the death occurs at home, in the home before we remove them. This can be a beautiful and healing experience.
For environmental reasons it is necessary to choose clothes that are biodegradeable and shoes are not allowed for a cremation.
VISITING YOUR LOVED ONE
A visit entails spending time with your loved one before the funeral and is important for many people as it can offer a form of closure. A visit can be done with an open or a closed coffin, photos of the deceased and music of your choice should you wish. We understand that not everyone in a family might want to visit and have a separate comfortable area where those who don’t want to visit can wait while having tea or coffee and biscuits.
When coming to visit you are able to place small, biodegradeable items in the coffin such as letters, cards and photos.
It is best to visit your loved one sooner rather than later and this is not always possible if the bereaved live further afield. In this case we are able to offer a virtual viewing using FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom.
After the death of a loved one a vigil can be held either in their home before their body is removed or at our premises prior to the funeral. Whereas a visiting is normally a more private experience for the immediate family and friends with an open coffin, a vigil can include more people and the coffin would normally be closed.
A candlelight vigil is a beautiful, dignified and respectful way to celebrate the life of the loved one as family and friends come together to mourn. It can be a powerful healing experience which may be relaxed or more formal with a planned order. Music, moments of silence, shared memories, poetry and writing messages of love can all contribute to a memorable experience.
When the weather is fine we will soon be able to offer the use of our walled garden where we can normally accommodate around 25 people.
CREMATORIA & BURIAL GROUNDS
Please note that whilst, since 19th July 2021, a lot of the legislation regarding Covid-19 has been lifted, mourners are still asked to treat others with consideration and to follow the guidance of the crematoria – see below for individual crematorium details.
There are 3 crematoria in Cornwall at Truro, Camborne and Bodmin.
For a normal service, each crematorium allows one hour – 15 minutes to arrive and settle, 30 minutes for the service and 15 minutes to leave before the next funeral attendees need access. Whilst 30 minutes is often sufficient time, some families like to have extra time to allow for a more personal feel, rearranging the seating and more contributions, slideshows etc. For this there is an extra fee which varies with different crematoria.
For families not wanting to attend there is the option of a Direct Cremation or, for those not wanting as long, there are off-peak funerals which are significantly shorter and allow the family and friends to attend but does not allow for much of a service other than some accompanying music and a poem, prayer or blessing.
Penmount Crematorium, Truro
Penmount Crematorium is in the grounds of an old stately home on the outskirts of Truro and has extensive, beautiful gardens. There is a choice of two chapels – Kernow Chapel which seats about 60 people with some additional standing room and Trelawny Chapel which seats 100 and can accommodate a further 100 under cover. Both chapels have the facilities to play virtually any requested music as well as to play a visual tribute or slideshow and to webcast the service live to anywhere in the world with internet access. Each chapel has a waiting room for family and friends.
Covid-19 restricted numbers – Kernow Chapel – 30 with standing outside only / Trelawny Chapel – 64 with standing outside only. Mourners are requested to continue to wear a facemask when inside the chapels.
Treswithian Downs Crematorium, Camborne
Treswithian Downs Crematorium is just off the A30 near Camborne and is a purpose-built crematorium with a beautiful spacious and light chapel with picture windows on one side overlooking the valley. The chapel can seat around 100 plus around 100 people standing. It has the facilities to play virtually any requested music as well as to play a visual tribute or slideshow and to webcast the service live to anywhere in the world with internet access. There is no waiting room.
Covid-19.Restrictions have been lifted but mourners are actively encouraged to continue to wear face masks and to do contact tracing.
Glynn Valley Crematorium, Bodmin
Glynn Valley Crematorium is just off the A30 and A38 at Bodmin and looks out over the Glynn Valley. The chapel seats 56 people with covered standing for another 50 or so. Again, it has the facilities to play virtually any requested music as well as to play a visual tribute or slideshow and to webcast the service live to anywhere in the world with internet access. There is a waiting room for the family and friends.
Covid-19. Restrictions have been lifted but mourners are actively encouraged to continue to wear face masks and to do contact tracing.
Apart from the many graveyards and cemeteries in Cornwall that belong to a church, town/parish council or Cornwall Council, there are also four natural burial sites.
A natural burial aims to return a body to the earth in as natural a way as possible generally in the countryside – wildflower meadows and woodlands. In order to minimise the environmental impact, you are not meant to use the embalming process or non-biodegradeable coffins. Some natural burial sites will allow graves to be marked by engraved slate or a tree while others do not permit any identifying features.
Wherever you choose to be buried, there will usually be an extra charge for the sexton to dig the grave.
PENTIDDY NATURAL BURIALS – near Liskeard
Found on the edge of Bodmin Moor near the village of Pensilva, Pentiddy Natural Burials is a small family-run site which provides a nature-rich, informal environment and an ecological option for burials in South-East Cornwall.
The site is gradually being transformed into a woodland of native trees which will be a lasting and living tribute to all who rest there. It is a quiet reflective place surrounded by woodland with a lot of bird life and beautiful views towards Dartmoor and the coast.
Pentiddy Natural Burials opened in 2009 and is proud to be a member of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds.
PENWITH WOODLAND BURIAL – near Newlyn
Situated within the tranquil grounds of Rose Farm in West Cornwall, the Lally family have created a peaceful final resting place for both people and pets.
This area of outstanding natural beauty has a strong spiritual and healing resonance, with a history of human settlement dating back to the Iron Age, if not before.
The beautiful, wild memorial garden has a wonderful variety of trees and flowers, providing ever changing and regenerating flora and fauna throughout the seasons. In the spring the fruit orchard is a spectacular mass of blossom while the winding pathways are surrounded by abundant flowers. The garden is open to visit whenever you wish.
PENMOUNT NATURAL BURIAL GROUND – Truro
A natural burial site that onpened on land at Penmount Crematorium in May 2013.
The natural graves are in the existing Wildflower Meadow beyond the overflow car park. All burials are single depth only.
There is a dedicated area for scattering of cremated remains but cremation plots are not available.
The area will be disturbed as little as possible at the time of each interment. They actively encourage wild flowers and wild life to become established in the area. No pesticides are used. Grass cutting is only done as part of a planned conservation programme. We cut pathways so that mourners and the local community can use and appreciate the area.
ATLANTIC REST NATURAL BURIAL – near Bude
Set in Penlow field and approached by a green lane leading to the field through banks of wildflowers. Penlow field is at the top of a valley, south facing, and offering, on a clear day, a glimpse of the sea – hence the name “Atlantic Rest”.
CELEBRANTS & MINISTERS
There are different types of celebrants – humanist (who will not include hymns or prayers) and civil celebrants who will incorporate some religious or spiritual content if the family would like that. We work with different celebrants, trying to match them to the needs of the family unless, of course, you have a specific one you would like to engage.
The celebrant will contact the family to arrange a meeting which is usually in person but can be done by phone or video calls – particularly since Covid-19. During this meeting the celebrant will work with you to organise a service that best suits the family and the deceased. This will involve talking about the deceased and choosing the music, readings, poems that the family would like included. The celebrant can help to write the eulogy if the family do not want to and there will be good communication throughout. The celebrant will be in touch with both the family and us to ensure that the funeral arrangements run smoothly. On the day of the funeral the celebrant will meet the family at the venue and take the service.
When the deceased and the family have set religious beliefs, it is appropriate to choose a minister of their faith to take the service. Ideally this will be a minister that knew the deceased as this can act as a great comfort to the family. A minister can take the funeral service in a church or chapel before cremation or burial or can just do a service at a crematorium or relevant graveside. As with celebrants, the minister will visit the family and to organise a suitable service.
Some families prefer to have the funeral ceremony led by themselves or someone who knew their loved one. Where this is the case, we can help the family and friends to organise a meaningful service or ceremony – suggesting a basic running order and possible committal options.
Just as funerals are beginning to change, there is a move away from the traditional black hearse. We currently offer transport in our silver Volvo estate (with or without a black ribbon) and this is included within our professional fees. However, we are happy to arrange for you to have a traditional hearse and limousine should you so wish at an additional cost. There are also more unusual options, such as VW camper vans for the more adventurous, but these will obviously add to the overall cost. Likewise, it can be lovely to have an alternative to a limousine such as one of the classic King Harry Coaches.
MAKING A FUNERAL SPECIAL
There are many ways of making a funeral special and each funeral should be a representation of the deceased and their shared life with those left behind.
The funeral service or ceremony can be held at a crematorium or burial ground or you might choose to use a separate venue for part of it such as a church, village hall, your home or anywhere that you have the landowner’s permission and offers sufficiently easy access and comfort for those attending the funeral.
It is important to have a good flow to the ceremony with a mixture of spoken tributes, readings and poems, music and visual elements. If a celebrant or minister is taking the ceremony for you they will be able to guide you as to content and timings.
Below you can see a breakdown of the different elements and what they entail…
Webcasts are a valuable offering for families and friends who cannot attend a funeral in person. They have been available for over a decade but have become particularly popular since the start of the pandemic, since when funerals have had to be smaller. There are often hundreds of mourners logging on to watch a funeral. All the crematoria offer the possibility of webcasting the service. We can provide you with the prices and will give the login details before the funeral so that mourners can log in from anywhere in the world. The recording will be available for 28 days and you can request a download link or a keepsake copy.
When a funeral is taking place in a venue other than a crematorium, it is possible to engage a videographer who can live stream the service. Alternatively, a cheaper option is to ask a friend to video or use social media to record the service either live or to send out afterwards. Please note that this can be dependent upon the internet connection and can be stressful so it is best not to ask somebody who was very close to the deceased.
Flowers bring a poignant beauty to a funeral. Arranging and placing flowers around the deceased is an old and traditional part of mourning. Whilst some families like to ask a florist to do a display for the coffin, many like to do their own flower arrangements. Laying individual flowers on the coffin during the funeral ceremony is also very popular giving individuals the opportunity to say a personal goodbye to the deceased.
Please note that for cremations it is not possible to cremate any oasis or plastic so we advise that if you would like the flowers to go in with the coffin that you opt for a bouquet or sheaf arrangement.
Orders of service are used to give the running order of the ceremony and act as a keepsake as well as being able to be sent to those who are unable to attend. We can organise the layout and printing of these or you are welcome to produce your own.
The Eulogy – this can be written by one person or as a collaborative of family and friends. It usually tells the life story of the deceased but does not have to be set out as a chronological list. Usually a family member or friend reads the eulogy but if nobody feels able to the celebrant or minister will be happy to help.
Tributes – these give others the opportunity to write about the deceased, usually with more emphasis on their relationship with the deceased. A selection of tributes is a lovely way to get a 360 degree / fuller picture of the deceased. When people are unable to attend there is the opportunity to send a visual or audio tribute to be played at the funeral.
Visual Tributes / Slideshows – increasingly popular, these can be set to music and usually run chronologically giving a lovely summary of the deceased’s life.
Readings and Poetry – whether religious / spiritual or not, these are excellent for conveying memories and emotions.
Important to many people, music is an important addition to most funerals whether recorded or live and is possible in all venues. Please note that due to current restrictions, communal singing is not permitted although a soloist is.
All the crematoria have a good quality sound system linked to a national provider who is able to procure almost any music that has been officially produced. There is also the option of uploading digital recordings of personal musical events.
FINANCING A FUNERAL
Few of us want to discuss or even think about the day when we’re no longer around. However, planning and paying for your funeral in advance can leave you with peace of mind.
We are delighted to have linked in with Open Prepaid Funeral Plans which offer you the opportunity to design your own bespoke funeral, entirely on your terms. You get to design the funeral that is right for you, even a DIY funeral, or leave the arrangements to your personal representative. A funeral fund can be opened that can cover up to five people, all of whom are allowed to pay in up to £20,000. The money in your pot will grow – between 2003 -2016 at an average rate of 3.74% a year . Your money is exempt from tax and does not count towards probate. You can choose how you pay into your pot, whether by one lump sum, staged payments, or as and when you can afford to. You don’t have to reach a target figure – whatever you pay into your pot will be there for your funeral. There is an initial non-refundable administration fee of £195 to create a funeral fund which pays for the administration of the money you put into your fund for its lifetime. Additional named pot-holders will need to pay £95 administration fee.
Open Prepaid Funeral Plans – fees.
Open are open and transparent about their admin fees and growth figures. Here are some key points that make them different from other prepaid funeral plan providers and that you should consider when choosing a plan provider:
- They have one single admin fee of £195.00
- No commissions or additional fees are taken from the plan price you pay
- They have no cancellation fee
- The growth the Open Prepaid Funerals Trust apply to the plans consistently exceeds inflation
Open are also a Funeral Planning Authority Registered Provider which means that they meet exacting standards when it comes to how they operate. Learn more about the FPA here. In simple terms, Open offer the best available balance of rate of return and lowest administrative fees of any like-for-like funeral planning company.
Full details can be found at https://www.openprepaidfunerals.co.uk
Many people are now beginning to plan ahead for their funeral and pay for their funeral in advance. This can be done through a funeral plan (where you pay up front or over a short period at today’s prices) or through an insurance policy. However, for those who have not made provision, the cost of the funeral can be unaffordable. In this case the closest relative can apply for a Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment if they are on certain benefits (see below) or the Council will arrange the funeral as a public health funeral and the family will have no say in the arrangements and be unable to keep any ashes where cremation has taken place.
There is also help from the Bereavement Support Payment for the surviving spouse if they are under State Pension age and the deceased has paid some NI contributions. This is not income-related but it is not an automatic payment and you have to claim through the DWP within 3 months of the death in able to receive all the payments.
You’ll get a first payment and then up to 18 monthly payments. There are 2 rates. The higher rate is for those who are eligible for Child Benefit.
Higher rate is an initial payment of £3,500 with monthly payments of £350.
Lower rate is an initial payment of £2,500 with monthly payments of £100.
To claim call the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469.
For more information visit – https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment
Funeral Expenses Payment
The Funeral Payment can help pay for:
- burial fees and exclusive rights to burial in a particular plot
- cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
- up to £1,000 for funeral expenses, eg funeral director’s fees, flowers, coffin
- travel to arrange or go to the funeral
- the costs for moving the body within the UK – but only for the part of the journey that’s over 50 miles
- If the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan, you’ll only get help for items not covered by the plan.
You can find the full list of what can be included in the Funeral Payment in claim form SF200. For more information visit – https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments
How the money is paid
Usually, if the funeral director hasn’t been paid, the money is paid to them.
If the funeral director has been paid, the money is paid into your account – eg a bank account.
Eligibility for Funeral Payment
Benefits and tax credits
You (or your partner) must get 1 of:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- The disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
How much you get also depends on any other money available su as an insurance policy or the deceased’s estate.
If there’s a close relative of the deceased who isn’t getting one of the qualifying benefits you may not be able to claim the Funeral Payment.
Funeral Poverty and the Crowd Funding Option.
Unfortunately many more people now experience funeral poverty and may not qualify for either of the above. Another way of raising money is by crowd funding and in recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of crowdfunded funerals. Apart from helping a family in a practical way, donations of any amount can show support for the bereaved. Just as donating to charity has already become a modern alternative to buying a floral tribute, so the crowdfunded funeral is becoming a gesture of caring and solidarity.
For some families and individuals, crowdfunding avoids the need for a public health funeral and enables bereaved them to provide their loved one with a send-off that’s fitting, with kind-hearted friends and family chipping in to help with any costs beyond their budget.