The Role of Funeral Homes and Funeral Directors

March 13, 2016

What is the role of funeral homes and the undertaker in case of death?  The undertaker assists the family in a number of ways, namely; obtaining the certificate of death from the presiding doctor, collecting the body from the scene of death or from the mortuary once an autopsy is complete and lastly, aiding in arranging for the necessary doctors certificates.

Doctors Certificates that are Required from Funeral Homes

The certificates that the undertaker is required to arrange for are those that a doctor signs after confirming the death. The first certificate goes by the name, B1-663 form. The other certificate that concerns the death is usually signed by a second doctor prior to cremation in order to ascertain that the first form was correct and there was no sign of foul play.

A Third Doctor may be required!

In other cases, some undertakers or Funeral Homes require a third doctors certificate, this one is usually signed by an independent doctor regardless of the state of the body whether it is cremated or buried. The third certificate essentially is used to confirm the original cause of death.  As a result, families of the deceased are forced to pay for three doctors.

Funeral HomesAnother question that is frequently asked is – Who contacts the undertakers or Funeral Homes?

It is the responsibility of the family or the person who resides with the deceased to get in touch with an undertaker. However, getting in contact is only done after fulfilling the mandatory obligation of ensuring that a medical practitioner has filled out the B1-663 form.

And if they die in a hospital or nursing home late at night?

In case the person dies in a hospital or nursing home late at night the presiding registered nurse should, inform the family of the deceased and after consulting the family he or she should then proceed to call for an undertaker. The undertaker will arrange for a doctor to sign the B1-663 form the following day.

Have the correct documents when going to an Undertaker

There are also some mandatory documents that one should have when going to the undertaker. Firstly, the family should provide the deceased identity book or ID book, the undertaker will then proceed to make a copy of it, which they would stamp the word ‘deceased’ in all the inner pages and return it to the family.

Secondly, the family should also bring along the Identity card of the person involved in the funeral preparation and a funeral policy document if the deceased had any. The policy will be retained by the undertaker who will then proceed to stamp the word ‘deceased’ on the document to avoid it being used for fraudulent activities.

What is your Funeral policy worth?

It should also be noted that, one can access the value and status of the funeral policy if it has been held for a long time. If one cannot afford a private undertaker or the deceased has no family or is homeless, the police will be notified and will arrange for the body to be moved to a state mortuary. In such circumstances, the deceased is given a pauper funeral and buried in a designated area within the municipal cemetery.

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All info was correct at time of publishing