This is obviously a sensitive matter and decisions must clearly be made very rapidly. Doctors will, where appropriate, discuss this (for example, organ or corneal donation) as soon as death is confirmed. It is worth checking if the deceased carried a donor card – the Executors may be able to arrange for organ donation even without this – where appropriate criteria are met. To arrange to register as an organ donor you may do so online and this site can be accessed via the useful links section of this site.
The question of the funeral arrangements will need to be settled relatively quickly. There is no ownership of a deceased body in law but possession passes to Execututors – and in default of a Will to the Next of Kin. Almost invariably the deceased’s family will wish to respect expressed wishes – these are often summarised in the Will.
In relation to funerals/burial:-
- The useful links section of this site contains a link to “eco-friendly” burial grounds and coffins.
- The scattering of ashes on land may only be with the consent of the landowner concerned.
- Burial on private land is legally permissible but check carefully first with your Local Authority (Environmental Health and possibly Planning Department) and ensure that the consent of the landowner is obtained and that burial does not contravene obligations in the title deeds. This is not something to be embarked upon lightly!
Registration of Death
A death must normally be registered within 5 days of occurrence and will normally be undertaken by a relative of the deceased or an Executor. The procedure requires and attendance at the Registrar of Deaths, local to where the death occurred. The medical certificate certifying death must be produced – and certain basic information as to the deceased (eg, full name, date of birth and death etc) and information on the name of the informant.
It is clearly important that arrangements are made for the care of any minor child for whom the deceased was sole carer. The Will may contain an expression of wishes as to a nominated long term carer – but ultimately should there be any dis-agreement the expression of wishes in a Will may be overridden by a Court Order.
Executors need to take prompt steps to protect un-occupied property which may include:-
- Draining water systems
- Installation of temporary security lights (perhaps on a timer device)
- Storing valuable items e.g. jewellery securely
- Checking insurance policies – buildings and contents – insurers should be notified promptly of the death and check that insurance cover is adequate and that policy conditions are complied with