There are many things you will need to consider when you are arranging a funeral. You will need to decide if the deceased is to be buried or cremated. You will need to consider whether to have a religious, a non-religious or a partially religious/spiritual ceremony and where this is to be held. You will have to decide who you want to lead the service and who will be invited to attend. Will the people at the funeral take any active role in the ceremony or not? You will have to consider how the deceased will be transported to the funeral and how you will get there yourself.

You will need to decide if there is to be a gathering after the funeral and if so what form it will take. Finally, you will need to decide about a memorial by the graveside, or what is to be done with the cremated remains of the deceased. You may know what the wishes of the deceased were with regards to some of these issues, or you may have to make all of the decisions on their behalf; either way there is a lot to think about and you only have one chance to get it right.

This is where Saint and Forster come in. We are here to help you at any time of the day or night. We will take as much time as you need to talk through all of the options available to you and we will always be completely transparent with our pricing so that you know exactly what you are paying for and you don’t pay for anything that you don’t want. We can organise as much or as little as you want us to, and we will address any concerns or questions you might have. Our advice is free, so please feel free to contact us at any time.

Please click on the options on the right for more detailed information about how we can help you.

We realise that this is a very difficult time and that the decisions that need to be taken and the paperwork that need to be completed certainly don’t make it any easier. Whilst we cannot change the grief you will be experiencing, there are some things we can do to make this time a little bit easier and less worrying for you. At Saint and Forster we think it is important to ‘go the extra mile’ with you. There is no charge for any of the following services.

While it is a legal requirement that the death is registered by a family member, we can pick you up and take you along to your appointment if transport is a problem- or if you would just like a bit of support or reassurance. If you wish, we can register the death for you with the ‘bereavement register’ which should stop you from receiving ‘junk mail’ addressed to the deceased which can be very upsetting.

Our relationship with you does not finish with the funeral. If you find that you are experiencing problems with grief or in dealing with the changes in your life, please feel free to contact us. We work closely with a number of bereavement specialists and we will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you.

Finally, you can call us at any time if you want help, advice or information. This includes during the time when you are making a decision about which funeral director to use. Obviously we hope that you will choose us, but we do not want you to feel pressured into making a quick decision and we expect that you may spend some time speaking to several funeral homes before you decide which one is right for you. Once you instruct a different funeral director to act for you it would be unprofessional for us to continue to advise you but until that time if there are any questions or worries that we can help you with, or if you want more information about anything on this website, please give us a call and speak to Keith or Jenny.

When a death occurs

If you are not present at the time of death of a next of kin the doctor, hospital, hospice or nursing home will contact you to inform you that death has occurred. A doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

If death has occurred at the family home, nursing home or hospice relatives or nursing staff will usually contact the funeral director who will then bring the deceased into their care. This can be done at any time of the day or night although if death occurs during the night you can wait until the following morning if you prefer.

When someone dies there are various people and organisations who need to be informed and forms which need to be completed. We at Saint and Forster will advise you and talk you through the process but the guide below will explain the most important things that you need to do.

When and where to register a death
A death usually needs to be registered within five days in the district in which it occurred. In Darlington registrations are by appointment only and will last about 30 minutes. You will need to register the death yourself but we can accompany you to the appointment if you wish.

You can contact the Register Office at the following address:

The Register Office
Town Hall
Feethams
Darlington
DL1 5QT
01325 406 400

When registering a death you will need to take:

  • The Medical Certificate of Cause of death, signed by the doctor
  • Any paperwork issued by the Coroner, if applicable.
  • If they are available you should also take:
  • The Birth Certificate of the Deceased
  • The Certificate of Marriage or Civil Partnership of the deceased if applicable
  • The NHS Medical Card of the deceased.
  • You will need to tell the Registrar the following information about the deceased:
  • Full name at the time of death
  • Any names they have previously used, including maiden name if applicable
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last address
  • Last occupation
  • Details of any state pension or other state benefits they were receiving
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of any surviving spouse or civil partner.

Provided a post-mortem is not being held the Registrar will provide you with:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation (known as the ‘Green Form’). This gives permission for the body to be buried, or for an application to be made for cremation. If the body is to be cremated the GP or hospital will arrange for a second doctor to sign the form. The Green Form is required by the funeral director.
  • A BD8 form, which is required by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) for social security purposes relating to pensions, benefits and National Insurance.
  •  A Death Certificate. Extra copies of this are available if you require them, although a charge will be made for these.

If the death is referred to the Coroner
In a small number of cases, where the death is sudden or suspicious, or where the cause of death is unclear, the doctor, hospital or Registrar will refer the death to the Coroner. In this case the registration of the death will be delayed. Only provisional arrangements can be made for the funeral at this point. If this applies to you the Coroner’s Office will liaise with you throughout the process.

The Coroner’s Office can be contacted on 01388 761564 or 03000 265556. If a post-mortem is needed, the Coroner will issue any necessary documents to you as quickly as possible afterwards.

If you find yourself in this situation please don’t worry. We will be on hand to discuss funeral arrangements, give information and advice, or just for reassurance and we will be here for you when you are ready to proceed with the funeral.

The Bereavement Register
When somebody has died there are enough things to think about without the upset of receiving post addressed to the deceased. The bereavement register exists to make sure that people who have passed away do not continue to receive post from mailing lists. You can contact the bereavement register at www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk or, if you prefer, we can take care of this for you.