Specialist care for adults in Dorset with a life limiting illness

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We've put together some commonly asked questions to give you more information about Weldmar and the services we offer.

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Weldmar Hospicecare

What to do when someone dies

On behalf of everyone at Weldmar Hospicecare, please accept our sincere condolences at this challenging time.

We understand that you might be feeling a variety of emotions but there are some important things that you need to do over the coming days following a death.

This guide is designed to support you with the various steps that you need to take to register the death; informing government departments and organisations, arranging the funeral and thinking about what help and support you may benefit from over the coming weeks and months ahead.

Should you require further assistance at any point of the process, we advise visiting www.gov.uk/after-a-death to find the latest information, help and support available via government services.

Registering a death

In most cases you will be required to register a death within five days. Following a death, the next of kin will be contacted by the Medical Examiner’s service. This is a new service, in which a senior independent doctor is required to scrutinize every death, whether in the hospice, hospital or community.

The next of kin will receive a telephone call from the Medical Examiner, who will talk through the cause of death, the certification process and any concerns with regard to the care received. The death certificate will be completed by a doctor.

This certificate is then sent to the Medical Examiner’s office to ensure the details are correct. The death certificate is then forwarded to the Registrars office ready for your appointment.
If the death requires referral to the coroner’s service, the death certificate will be produced following the coroner’s enquiry. The need to register the death within 5 days does not apply in this case.

The death should be registered by a relative, but this doesn’t have to be the next of kin. If this is not possible then it can be registered by someone who was present at the death, the occupier of the building in which the death occurred or the person making funeral arrangements.

You must register the death at an office in the district where the death occurred. If you are unable to attend the registration office in the appropriate district then please call 01305 225153 or email registrationinformation@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

You will be required to provide the following information:

  • The person’s full name at the time of death and any names previously used, such as a maiden surname
  • Date and place of birth (please provide both town and county if they were born in the UK, or country if born outside of the UK)
  • The person’s most recent occupation and their usual residential address
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
  • Ideally, their NHS number, if this is easily accessible
  • You will be able to purchase one or more death certificates at a cost to you

Arranging a funeral

Taking the time to think about funeral arrangements can be upsetting, but your chosen funeral director will be able to support you throughout this process. Some people choose their funeral director and plan their funeral before they die and it is important that you are aware of these wishes. Alternatively, if there isn’t a chosen or preferred funeral director then this is the first step to take.

Although funerals can seem expensive, there are many low cost options available when arranging a funeral. Please be aware when you are appointing a funeral director that if you are considering choosing a company that provides a direct cremation service, such as Pure Cremations, we are regretfully unable to hold your loved one here at our Inpatient Unit for an extended period of time. The direct cremation company may charge you an additional fee to collect your loved one earlier.

With the help of the internet, you should be able to find a package that meets your needs. If you receive certain benefits, you may be able to get help with funeral costs. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/funeral-payments.

Have a think about what special readings, hymns and music might form part of the funeral service as well as whether you wish for people to wear a certain colour or dress code. Once you have agreed a date and location with your funeral director, share this information with those who may wish to attend.

Some people request family flowers only and instead encourage donations for a personal chosen charity. If you wish to collect donations for Weldmar Hospicecare, please inform your funeral director who will arrange forwarding any donations directly to us. You can also easily arrange collect donations online here. If you wish to find out more information, please phone Weldmar on 01305 261800 and one of the team will be able to assist you.

Informing government departments and organisations

The government have a service called ‘Tell us Once’ where they can help inform the people who need to know about a death. Once you have registered the death you can call the ‘Tell us Once’ service for free on 0800 085 7308 or Textphone 0800 141 2218 for deaf or hard of hearing. Phone lines are open between Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Alternatively, you can use the online service. You will need the unique reference number provided by the registrar to use this service: www.gov.uk/tell-us-once

Using this service can notify all of the following in one go:

  • Local councils (including housing benefit office, council tax, electoral services, Blue Badge, adult services)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (including pensions, benefits and overseas health team)
  • HM Revenue and Customs (including child benefit, child tax credit, working tax credit and personal taxation)
  • Identity and Passport Service
  • Pensions (including public sector pensions, armed forces pensions and Local Government pension schemes)
  • DVLA (including driving license vehicle tax refund)
  • Ministry of Defence, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (including war pensions scheme)

All information provided is treated securely and confidentially.

You will need the following information:

  • The person’s date of birth and National Insurance number (if this is accessible)
  • Details of any benefits or services they may have been receiving
  • Unique reference number provided by the registrar
  • Their driving license
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Their passport
  • Details of Blue Badge
  • Dates of any recent stays in hospital, a hospice or care home
  • Contact details for next of kin
  • Contact details for the person dealing with their estate

You may still also need to inform banks, insurance companies, utility companies and landlords yourself.

Help and support for you

It is important that you also receive the right help to support you though this difficult time. Weldmar Hospicecare offers bereavement and counselling support and our team will be in touch with you to discuss these services over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, have a think about the following three areas:

Are you eligible to receive bereavement benefits?

Look at your own taxes, benefits and pension

Depending on your relationship with the person who has died, your tax, benefit claims and pension may change. For more information visit www.gov.uk/death-spouse-benefits-tax-pension.

Do you need to apply to stay in the UK?

If your right to stay in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who has died, you might need to apply for a new visa. www.gov.uk/visas-partner-dies.

Additional support for you and your family

As well as support from the team at Weldmar Hospicecare, other bereavement help and support is available:

  • The Bereavement Service at the Department for Work and Pensions – 0800 731 0469
  • Cruse Bereavement Care – staffed by trained bereavement volunteers offering emotional support – 0808 808 1677
  • Silver Line – confidential help and advice for older people, open 24 hours a day – 0800 470 8090
  • Age UK – a free confidential helpline open 8am-7pm every day – 0800 678 1602
  • Citizens Advice – www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Dealing with their estate

You may need to apply for the right to deal with the estate of the person who had died. This is called probate. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/probate-estate.

If you already have probate (known as an executor or administrator) then you can start dealing with their estate. There are a number of good solicitors to support you with this process.

As part of probate you will be required to access financial assets, pay any debts and taxes, and distribute the estate as detailed in the Will.

If there is no Will in place then you will need to identify who is entitled to a share of someone’s money, property and possessions. www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will.

Dealing with the estate of a loved one can be a difficult and emotional process. Access the bereavement and emotional care and support that is right for you.

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