In the event of a death

Taking the first steps when a loved one dies can be a daunting experience. We are here to support and advise you throughout, guiding you at every stage with care, compassion and empathy. At this difficult time, our family will care for your family.

We hope these frequently asked questions will help to guide you through the first stages of the funeral planning process, but please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call us for further advice and support.

What should I do when a death occurs?Reveal

When death occurs at home, you will need to contact the deceased’s GP, or the out of hours service, so that they can attend and certify the death, providing a Medical Cause of Death Certificate. Once death has been confirmed by a doctor, we, as Funeral Directors, can then attend and move the deceased into our care.

When death occurs in a nursing home, the staff will make arrangements for the death to be certified.

When death occurs in a hospital or hospice, their doctors will certify the death and their Bereavement Office Staff will advise you when the Medical Cause of Death is available.

If a death is unexpected and its cause is uncertain, the attending doctor will contact the local Coroner’s Office. They may advise that the deceased be moved, by their contractors, to the Coroner’s Mortuary and it may be that an examination takes place to determine the cause of death. The Coroner’s Office will liaise directly with the next of kin and will advise when they can make arrangements with their chosen Funeral Director.

By law, all deaths in England and Wales must be registered, normally within 5 days of the death occurring (unless by prior agreement with the Registrar).

How do I register a death?Reveal

Once you have the Medical Cause of Death Certificate (or it has been electronically sent over to the Registrar), you should contact the Registrar to make an appointment.

You will need the following documents:

  • Medical Cause of Death Certificate
  • Birth Certificate (of the deceased) or relevant information
  • Marriage Certificate (of the deceased) (if applicable)

Personal information relating to the deceased:

  • Date and place of death
  • Their full name and any previous names used
  • Date and place of birth
  • Their last address
  • Their last occupation
  • Whether they were in receipt of a state pension or other benefits
  • Details of a surviving spouse or civil partner

If a Coroner’s post mortem has been carried out, the Registrar will give you:

  • ​A certified copy of Entry of Death (the Death Certificate)
  • A Certificate for Burial/Cremation that should be given to the Funeral Director
  • A Social Security Certificate (for the local department of Works & Pensions)
  • Advice leaflets

A nominal fee will be charged for the certified copy of Entry of Death (the Death Certificate). Banks, building societies, insurers and other institutions will require this in order for them to proceed with their administration.

Who can register a death?Reveal

  • A relative
  • Someone who was present at the death
  • An occupant of the house where the death occurred
  • An official from the hospital, hospice or care home where the death occurred
  • The person making the arrangements with the Funeral Directors

How soon following a death can a funeral take place?Reveal

There are a few factors that will determine how quickly a funeral service can proceed, so we suggest that you contact us so that we can advise you personally.

Can you help us place a notice in the newspaper or online?Reveal

We can. A funeral notice – often called a Death Announcement or Intimation – is still a well-used way to give notice that someone has passed away and to make the public aware of when a funeral will take place. It usually provides details such as the name, age and date of death of the deceased, as well as the date, time and location of the funeral and any specific requests related to that. We can give guidance on how to word an intimation and can email it to relevant newspaper publishers on your behalf.

Online intimations are becoming increasingly popular, offering the benefit of immediate publication and editing rights, plus the ability to link to google maps or the facility where the service will take place. It is also easy to share an online notice with friends and family via email, text or social media. Please talk to us about what you would prefer.

Funeral Arrangements

Taking the first steps when a loved one dies can be a daunting experience. We are here to support and advise you throughout, guiding you at every stage with care, compassion and empathy. At this difficult time, our family will care for your family.

We hope these frequently asked questions will help to guide you through the first stages of the funeral planning process, but please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call us for further advice and support.

When and how do I make funeral arrangements?Reveal

Usually, appointments are made with us once a death has been registered, or you have been informed by the Coroner’s office that you may proceed. However, if you would like to make a provisional date and time before this point, then do please contact us. Personal circumstances vary and we will endeavour to accommodate your needs whether you would like to visit our office at 103 Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BX or liaise with us via telephone and email. Once in touch, we will guide you through each stage of the funeral process.

What funeral service options are available?Reveal

From Direct Cremation to burial, from traditional funerals through to more elaborate and personalised farewells, we’re able to arrange the funeral service you would like. We’re here to listen, advise and guide you through the options and choices available to you and your family.

It may be helpful to know that there are a few key decisions that will need to be made:

  • Will this be a Burial, Cremation or Repatriation?
  • What coffin, casket or urn would you like?
  • Would you like the deceased to be dressed in their own clothing or in one of our gowns or robes?
  • Would you like to visit the deceased in our Chapel of Rest?
  • Where would you like the cremation or burial to be held?
  • Would you like there to be a service in a church before the burial or cremation takes place?
  • Would you like a religious or secular service?
  • Would you like floral tributes or perhaps donations to a chosen charity instead?
  • Would you like Order of Service booklets to be printed?

Do I choose a burial or cremation? Reveal

This is a decision for the family of the deceased to make and it can, understandably, be a difficult one. Often families haven’t discussed death before this point, never seeming to have found the right moment, or because it’s a topic their loved one did not want to discuss. In these cases, we will be able to talk you through the different options and encourage family members to chat amongst themselves to agree on the best way forward.

What cremation options are there?Reveal

We offer a range of services from a simple Direct Cremation, through to bespoke packages. Whatever you decide, we’re here to listen, advise and guide you through all the options available to you and your family.

In addition to the cremation itself, a decision will need to be made regarding the eventual dispersal of the cremated remains. All crematoriums offer similar options:

  • Ashes can be retained at the crematorium for 6/8 weeks (or longer for a small monthly storage fee), giving the family time to make a decision.
  • Ashes can be removed, either by the person responsible for making the initial ​arrangements, or by the Funeral Director.
  • All crematoriums have a Garden of Remembrance where the ashes can be scattered, either by the crematorium staff, or on an arranged day should you wish to be present or to have a short service.
  • An entry can be made in the crematorium’s Book of Remembrance.
  • Ashes can be buried, with a memorial plaque placed by trees, roses or shrubs in the crematorium grounds, or ashes can be interred in internal, or external niches.

​Please note, most of the above options incur extra charges set out by the crematorium. After each cremation service an information pack will be sent directly to the person who made the funeral arrangements, listing all options along with the crematorium’s current price list and the contact details of their Memorial Advisor.

What burial options are there?Reveal

  • Church Yard burial: some churches have their own cemetery, but their burial plots are often solely for their parishioners and permission must be granted by the church for the interment to take place.
  • Cemeteries: most boroughs have a cemetery which is owned and run by the local council. They have different fees for interments, resident’s fees and non-resident’s fees, plus different charges depending on the grave location you choose.

Once you have decided on a cemetery, we always advise that you make an appointment to be shown the cemetery grounds, the selection of graves and locations available and to be provided with information about the relevant costs.

How do I arrange a headstone or memorial?Reveal

It is normal to leave at least 12 months after a burial before erecting a headstone on the grave, so that the ground has had time to settle. Stone masons will be able to advise you on timings, costs and permissible materials. We do not have our own stone mason, nor do we personally recommend one.

Can I delay the funeral?Reveal

Yes, we have full mortuary facilities on our premises at 103 Wood Street, Barnet and we can advise you of your options.

Can I place personal items in the coffin?Reveal

Should you choose to visit our Chapel of Rest, you are welcome to bring along items such as letters, photographs, or a favourite cuddly toy that you may wish to place with your loved one. Or, if you prefer not to visit, we are able to place these items for you. There are certain items that are not allowed and we would advise if necessary.

Can I personalise the coffin?Reveal

Of course. If your choice of coffin is a plain painted one and you want to decorate it with meaningful pictures, images or hand-written messages, then please let us know. We will arrange an appointment with you to come along to our Chapel of Rest. All you have to do is bring your pens, pictures, glue and artistry skills.

What transport can I choose?Reveal

The range of funeral transport options is vast and we are happy to organise whatever you feel would be most fitting. Often, families choose our saloon motor hearse and Mercedes Limousines which carry up to six people. Other popular choices include:

  • a Victorian black hearse pulled by matched Friesian horses
  • a white horse-drawn hearse pulled by black or grey horses
  • a vintage Austin hearse
  • a motorcycle hearse

Can you help us to organise the music we would like?Reveal

Yes, of course. For some people, music is a really important part of the funeral service, for others it is less significant. Whatever your wishes, we will be able to advise you on the necessary format for music tracks and provide guidance on how many tracks will be required. We can also help with organising live music, such as an organist, or piper.

Most crematoriums have a music system and will, when notified in advance, download requested tracks ready to be played during a service. Many churches also have their own music system, but occasionally a portable system is required and this is something we can provide.

Most crematoriums and churches have an organ. We’re able to arrange an organist and pass on any requests for individual music choices.

The individual requirements for playing music in each funeral venue vary, so this something best discussed as we make arrangements.

Financial Matters

Taking the first steps when a loved one dies can be a daunting experience. We are here to support and advise you throughout, guiding you at every stage with care, compassion and empathy. At this difficult time, our family will care for your family.

We hope these frequently asked questions will help to guide you through the first stages of the funeral planning process, but please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call us for further advice and support.

How much will the funeral cost?Reveal

The total cost of a funeral will depend on a wide range of factors, from the type of coffin you choose to the transport you select. Third party charges may also apply and will vary according to location and service choices. When you have made your funeral choices, we will give you a full written estimate of all costs involved and once the funeral has taken place, we will provide a fully itemised invoice. At each stage, we are able to offer advice on costs and the range of budget-appropriate options available.

See our funeral price list

Is burial more expensive than cremation?Reveal

Generally speaking, cremation costs a little less than burial. However, costs can vary depending on the individual crematorium or cemetery chosen.

When arranging a burial, there may be the cost of purchasing a grave, as well as the burial fee itself. A service held at a separate venue will often also incur additional costs. However, if a grave is already owned by your family and the service is held at the graveside, this may cost less than a cremation.

Please do discuss your individual circumstances and requirements with us and we will be able to advise.

Contact J.A. Clark & Son on 0208 449 3578 or complete the form below

We are here to listen, to understand your specific needs and circumstances and to guide you through each stage of the funeral process.


    • We can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful and respectful care of my dad. It was an impeccable service from start to finish.
    • I’d like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my brothers & family to thank you for everything you did, looking after our mum and making this difficult day go as well as possible. Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved.
    • You can be proud of Charlie to know that everything ran smoothly for Ray’s funeral service and Lauren and I were very pleased with the result. Thank you also for arranging the most beautiful floral arrangements. I’m drying the foliage as it dies and arranging it as an Autumn display.