Your frequently asked questions when you lose a loved one

How can I stop unwanted mail addressed to the deceased?

Companies who send out direct mail have a moral and social responsibility to check their mailing lists, but many fail to do so.

Rosedale is encouraging the relatives of anyone who has died to register with The Bereavement Register to help reduce the amount of direct mail that continues to be sent after their death.  This is especially useful at a time when a so-called ‘impersonation of the dead’ – where individuals take on the identity of the deceased in order to gain illegal access to loans and credit cards – is now recognised as the fastest growing identity fraud in the UK.

What happens at the crematorium?

At the conclusion of the funeral service, the coffin will either descend from sight or will be concealed by a curtain closing, depending on which crematorium you are using.  The funeral director will show you out of the chapel where you will then have the opportunity to chat with relatives and friends and view the floral tributes, before going home or to a venue for refreshments.

There are many myths surrounding cremation and if you are worried about any aspect, please discuss your concerns with us.  The coffin does not enter the cremator straight away but usually within about half an hour of the service.  Each cremation is carried out individually and according to a strict Code of Cremation Conduct.  The fear that you may not get the right ashes is unfounded.  Thorough procedures mean that cremated remains are always kept separately and can always be identified.

What do I need to do when someone dies?

If someone has died at home, then you will need to contact the family doctor and the Funeral Director.

In normal circumstances, the family doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Death, which you will need to take to the Registrar.

If the cause of death is uncertain or the death was sudden, then the Doctor will probably report the death to the Coroner. See our guide to Coroners investigations.

If someone has died in a hospital or a residential home, those in charge will contact a doctor and inform you when and from where the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be available.

What happens when we phone the Funeral Director?

When you phone us initially you will be asked a few simple questions to help us guide you from the outset.  If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to ask. What may seem daunting to you is probably something that we deal with on a regular basis. There is no such thing as a silly question.

We never make assumptions about any situation and if someone has died at home we would ask whether you require them to be moved to our chapel immediately or whether you would prefer to have some time at home.

When we call to take the deceased into our care and move them to our Chapel of Rest, we appreciate that this can be an extremely difficult time for the family. Please be assured that we take great care at this stage and are sensitive to each individual situation.

At this point, we would also guide you through the early procedures and would usually make an appointment to meet with you so that we can discuss the funeral arrangements.

What should we do with the ashes?

If you wish to have the ashes close to you, it is perfectly acceptable to keep them with you at home for as long as you desire.  Be reassured that all cremations are carried out individually and a strict code of cremation conduct is adhered to. The fear that you may not get the right ashes is unfounded.

Traditionally, cremated remains were either scattered at the crematorium or they were brought back to the local cemetery or churchyard and interred there.  There are however, many other options and requests at Rosedale have included dispersal at sea, dividing the ashes up for family members or scattering them in a bluebell wood. While tradition may provide due respect and reverence to the ceremony, many families are looking for something more striking to commemorate the passing of a loved one.

We can also arrange to scatter the ashes on your behalf at beauty spots around the country.  The lakes, the moors or a place that is special to your family. We can suggest sites of special peace and tranquillity set in nature’s most wonderful surroundings or you can use a location of your choice.

It is possible to incorporate the cremated remains into a beautiful lead crystal glass such as a vase, paperweight or made into a life diamond and set in a piece of jewellery.  We have also heard of instances where the deceased had specified that they wanted to ‘go out with a bang’, requesting that their ashes be incorporated into a firework display.

Our range of urns for cremated remains is vast and varied.  Of particular interest are bespoke papier-mâché urns, which can be commissioned by a local artist and personalised in whatever way you feel best celebrates the individual’s life, passions and personality.

We have more information on this on our Ashes and Urns and Memories and Keepsakes page.

What if we can’t find the will?

Trying to locate a will can be a key root of anxiety for the family following a death, especially as they often contain a letter of last wishes.  In the UK, there are in excess of 300,000 intestacies every year because a will cannot be found or is presumed never written.  In a recent survey commissioned, 67% of people were unaware where their parents’ wills were located.  The most comprehensive way to conduct a will search is through The National Will Register.  A will search takes around 60 seconds and costs £25.00 plus VAT.

What if we don’t want a ceremony?

There are a whole variety of reasons why someone might choose to have no funeral ceremony.  Sometimes it is the express wish of the person who has passed away that no one should attend their funeral, the geography of the situation can dictates things, there may be a much more significant way of marking the passing of someone you love or there may be funeral constraints.

Direct cremation is an option that we offer and we have wide experience of helping people to find a way that feels appropriate to them to say goodbye. Whatever your needs, we hope that we can help you achieve what you want.

Can we claim Gift Aid when we send a donation in lieu of flowers?

Gift Aid is one of the simplest and most effective ways of giving to charity. Using Gift Aid means that for every pound you give, the charity you are supporting will receive an extra 28 pence from the Inland Revenue.

If you are making a donation online, via the memorial website, you can select the Gift Aid option here.  If you are making a donation via cheque, cash or a CAF voucher, and you want to claim Gift Aid, you will need to download and complete a Gift Aid form and send it in with your donation.

Should a child be allowed to visit a family member in the chapel of rest or attend the funeral?

Death is a difficult concept for a child to understand and generally his or her experience and developmental age will dictate how much is understood.

When trying to impart information, be honest and try to explain things as simply as possible.  Death is final and irreversible and there is danger and confusion in drawing comparisons and saying such things as: “It is like sleeping.”  Generally if the child is old enough to ask a question, then that child is old enough to receive a truthful reply.

Children are often omitted, excluded and even physically removed from the family environment until after the funeral.  It is important that they be allowed to share in the mourning with the family.  Research shows that if children are allowed to participate in funeral ceremonies and view the deceased, they are better able to accept death.  However, it is likely to be harmful to coerce a child to take part in anything against their will.

Children over five years of age should be encouraged and allowed to make their own decisions.  Their feelings must be respected.  As siblings may respond differently to the same situation it is important to respect the views of each child on an individual basis.  Children are less likely to be anxious if they know what to expect.

Chapel visit – it is important to explain what the Chapel of Rest will be like, and that the deceased will be in a coffin, that the person may feel cool to the touch but will look relaxed and peaceful.  We can always arrange a preliminary visit with an adult who is close to the child and who they trust to ascertain how the deceased is presented.  We can also arrange for the child to visit an empty Chapel of Rest first to help them build up a mental image beforehand which will make the actual visit less frightening.

Funeral Service – Details of the funeral service should be talked through with the child, whether it is burial or cremation, the format of the service and the procedures at the committal.  Do tell us if we can help here – our knowledge can be very useful.  Because there are natural limits to a child’s attention span it may not be realistic to expect a young child to sit quietly through a lengthy religious service.

If you are still finding it a difficult decision to make, it may be worth bearing in mind a statement by Elizabeth Hogg, author of ‘Facing Death and Loss’:  “It is usually better to err on the side of allowing children to be part of family experiences, than to exclude them from the painful ones.  Being close to the family at a time of bereavement can be a vital source of strength.”

Is it true you have to pay a fee when a deceased is taken over a county border?

This is a question that we are often asked by the general public as many people believe that if you are transporting a deceased over a long distance that you must pay a fee for every county boundary that you cross.  There is no legal requirement to pay any such fees and to our knowledge never has been.  Any fees that have been charged by other funeral directors over the years have been purely a charge that they will have instigated and presumably retained.