When someone dies, your reaction is often unexpected. Sometimes the death may be expected, but nothing prepares you for the emotional shock of losing someone close. Staff at family-run and managed Harold Wood Funeral Services have spent seven decades helping families to organise funerals. We have made it easy for people to be listened to and receive advice about the arrangements when needed.
You can telephone us at any time, or visit us in person during working hours at one of our four offices (including on a Saturday morning). Please let us know before if you can which office you would prefer to use.
On first getting in touch with us there will be a few basic questions to go through. If the Deceased has died at home or in a residential home we can organise the immediate transferral of that person into our care. (If the death happened in a hospital this may take a few days.) During office hours we can help you make detailed plans, give you an accurate detailed estimate for services requested and produce paperwork for signing.
The date of the funeral and other provisional arrangements can be made at your earliest convenience, before registration. They are often made by the next of kin, or an executor of a Will if one exists – but for the funeral to take place, registration and funeral paperwork has to be in place some days before the funeral. Usually the next of kin will register, or if not possible, somebody else by arrangement with the Registrar (see further on).
If death was expected, usually the next of kin or other responsible person will contact the Hospital Bereavement Office in working hours for the Medical Cause of Death Certificate.
This is taken to the local Registrar in the area where death occurred, who will then issue copies of Death Certificates (more details in further pages).
The hospital needs to know if a cremation will be taking place for particular forms to be filled in. Usually we are permitted to take the Deceased into our care after death registration, during working hours.
– If the death was not expected, there will be Coroner's involvement. If a Coroner is involved it is often for only a few days, during which time the Coroner's Officer keeps relatives informed of the situation.
Call your GP who must be informed to arrange a visit immediately to confirm death. The doctor may be a locum. Please then telephone us to let us know that you have called the GP.
After the visit and with the GP's permission please then telephone us again to ask us to bring the Deceased into our care. The GP will request that you collect the Medical Cause of Death Certificate from the surgery, often the next working day, to take to the Register Office.
– If however death was not expected, or the GP had not seen the deceased in the last fourteen days, then the Deceased may be taken into the Coroner’s care to investigate the cause.
The doctor's Medical Cause of Death Certificate has a number which must be quoted if you have to make an appointment to see the Registrar.
If you have chosen to arrange a cremation then the GP has additional paperwork to complete we request on your behalf. The Deceased’s GP may contact you again to confirm circumstances of the cause of death, and additionally you will receive a second independent GP’s call to confirm the same. This is nothing to worry about, just a legal necessity.
Eg outside of home or hospital in the UK, or abroad. We can provide advice and help arrange the funeral.
In less common circumstances, when a death occurs and the causes are not easily established, a Coroner's inquest may be necessary. The Coroner can open an inquest and adjourn to a later date. The Coroner will then release the Deceased to enable the funeral to take place.
You do not need to have registered a death at the appropriate Registrars in order to begin making funeral arrangements with us. We do need the certificate for burial or cremation (a green form) – issued by the Registrar alongside death certificates – as soon as you have registered.
We will ask you to choose different elements of the funeral, and offer advice to you if you have not already decided upon – such questions as:
Please note – All these points can also be discussed more thoroughly with a celebrant/minister.
Please let us know if you would like a home visit by calling us on: 0800-731-1855.
In England and Wales, you normally need to register the death within five days. It's best to go to the register office in the area where the person died, as otherwise it may take longer to get the documents you need and this could delay the funeral. It will take about half an hour to register the death.
To find out which Register Office you need to go to, for the area in which the person died, please go to this Government website .
If the person died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by a relative, or someone present at the death, or an occupant of the house, or an official from the hospital, or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.
When registering a death, you'll need to take the Medical Cause of Death Certificate (issued by a doctor) and, if available – the birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate, NHS Medical Card.
You'll need to tell the registrar the person's full name at time of death, any names previously used, including maiden surname, the person's date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad), their last address, their occupation, the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or civil partner and if they were getting a state pension or any other state benefit.
If a post-mortem is not being held, the registrar will give you:
Click below for contact information on register offices near you.
Appointments Direct line: 020 8708 7123; or London Borough of Redbridge: 020 8554 5000 Redbridge (Ilford) Town Hall, 128-142 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1DD. Visit their website »
Appointments Direct line: 01277 233565; or Essex County Council: 0845 603 7632 1/2 Seven Arches Road, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4JG. Visit their website »
Queens Hospital deaths – Registrar usually available on site with appointment
Non-hospital deaths – Please follow this link to book an appointment with the Registrar on site at South Essex Crematorium, Ockendon Road, Corbets Tey RM14 2UY. Visit their website »
Directly for urgent registrations: 01708 433481; or London Borough of Havering: 01708 434343
Direct line: 01992 572788; or Essex County Council: 0845 603 7632 Saint John’s Road, Epping, Essex CM16 5DN. Visit their website »
Whipps Cross Hospital direct line: 020 8496 2716; or London Borough of Waltham Forest direct line : 020 8496 3000 106 Grove Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9BY. Appointments also online at www.walthamforest.gov.uk
Direct line: 020 8270 4744 Appointments not currently necessary but telephone to check opening times for Arden House, 198 Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex IG11 8SY
Tel: 020 7600 4977 St Bartholomew's Hospital Pathology Block Room 36 – 37 London EC1A 7BE
Contact: 0845 603 7632 The Water Gardens, College Square, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1AG. Open details: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Visit their website »
Tel: 020 7364 7880 Bromley Public Hall, Bow Road, London E3 3AA No need to make appointments – closed for lunch. For London Chest and Royal London Hospitals call directly.
Tel: 01277 233565 or 221155 Basildon Centre St Martins Square Basildon SS14 1DL. Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm 0845 603 7632. Visit their website »
0845 603 7632 Tel: 01245 430700 17 Market Road Chelmsford Essex, CM1 1GF. Monday to Friday: 9am–5pm Saturday: 9.30am–11.15am. Visit their website »