Legal requirements for a Cremation

These are the documents that the funeral director often times state that they will arrange or take care of ‘all legal requirements‘ to enable for the funeral to ‘legally’go ahead. However, in terms of actually completing these documents, the legal obligation is on the relatives of the deceased / executor of the Will, the Coroner and medical professionals to complete these, not the funeral director. The role of the funeral director is that they gather these completed documents and deliver them to the Crematorium within the correct time frame.

The forms required will depend on two factors, whether death has been reported to the Coroner or not.

FOR A CREMATION OF A DECEASED WITH NO CORONER INVOLVEMENT

The paperwork required for a Cremation to take place:

  • Green Certificate (from the Registrar)
  • Medical Certificate – Cremation Form 4
  • Confirmatory Medical Certificate – Cremation Form 5
  • Application for Cremation – Cremation Form 1

THE GREEN CERTIFICATE:

When someone passes away the medical practitioner who certifies that death has occurred will produce a medical certificate which is given by them to the family. Most cases the family is also provided with details of how to register the death.

The Family themselves or the person legally responsible for registering the death will make the appointment and attend the registrar wit the relevant documents and information needed to register the death. When you register the death the registrar with give you a green certificate. This is the authorisation for Burial or Cremation. The family gives the green certificate to the funeral director. (The Green Certificate is also required to collect a deceased from a hospital mortuary).

THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATES – CREMATION FORMS 4 AND 5:

The Medical Certificates are two forms which are completed by two Doctors. The first form is the Medical Certificate – Cremation Form 4 and is completed by the Doctor who attended to the deceased in their last illness before they died. The second form is the Confirmatory Medical Certificate – Cremation Form 5 and this form is completed by a Doctor who does not have any connections to the Doctor who has completed Cremation Form 4.

There are specific requirements on who can and, importantly, who cannot complete each form. The first doctor completing the form must arrange the second doctor (the funeral director cannot do this).

In the case of death occurring in the hospital the funeral director calls the hospital bereavement office to ask for Cremation Forms to be completed. The hospital will arrange for both forms to be completed. In order to complete the forms both Doctors have to view / examine the deceased in the hospital mortuary and both Doctors must be independent of each other. Once the forms are completed the Doctor will take the forms to the hospitals bereavement office, the hospital then contact the funeral director and inform them that the forms are complete and also the names of the Doctors to be paid for each form. The Forms are then collected from the Hospitals bereavement office and the funeral director pays the office for the forms.

Where the death has occurred at home or in a nursing home and the deceased has been taken to the funeral directors premises, the funeral director will contact the first doctor, normally the patients GP, to request the cremation forms. The first Doctor, the GP, will then visit the deceased in the funeral home and complete the Medical Certificate (Cremation Form 4) and leave it at the funeral directors for the second Doctor, who the first Doctor will arrange. The second Doctor will then visit the deceased at a separate time to complete the Medical Confirmatory Certificate (Cremation Form 5). The funeral directors will pay each Doctor at the time of the forms being completed.

If the death has occurred in a Hospice the Medical Certificate Cremation Form 4 will be completed by the Hospice Doctor who has provided end of life care and given to the funeral director when they come to collect the deceased. The hospice doctor will then arrange for the second Doctor to attend the Funeral Directors premises to complete the Confirmatory Medical Form Cremation Form 5.

APPLICATION FOR CREMATION OF A BODY – CREMATION FORM 1:

This form has to be completed and signed by the person legally empowered to do so, this is the nearest relative or executor of the Will.

This form is a legally binding document, in the same way that the medical certificate Cremation Forms are, and they should be filled in by the person signing the document.

This form is normally filled out with the Funeral Arranger / Funeral Director at the time of making the funeral arrangements. However, it is important that the relative completes this form as there are pertinent questions that they have to answer and also choices that the relatives should have knowledge of having, such as if they wish to view the medical forms. If they do want to view the medical forms, this is the only opportunity for them to request this. Also, the relative should know exactly what they are signing.

Application for Cremation of a Body Cremation Form 1 is a statutory form that is required, it is the form that has to be used at every crematorium whether local authority owned or privately owned, can be obtained from the Crematorium, downloaded from the Gov.uk website or from the Funeral Directors.

COST OF FORMS REQUIRED FOR A CREMATION WITH NO CORONER INVOLVEMENT

Total Cost is £184 which is the fees for the Doctors forms.

  • Green Certificate from the Registrar: FREE
  • Medical Certificate Cremation Form 4: £82.00 (Doctors Fee)
  • Confirmatory Medical Certificate Form 5: £82.00 (Doctors Fee)
  • Application For Cremation Form 1: FREE

FOR CREMATION OF A DECEASED WHEN THE CORONER IS INVOLVED (THE DEATH HAS BEEN REPORTED TO THE CORONER)

The forms required when the death has been reported to the coroner:

  • Application for Cremation – Cremation Form 1
  • Certificate of Coroner – Cremation Form 6

When the Coroner is involved with a death there is no Green Certificate from the Registrar (as a death cannot be registered until the Coroner has closed their investigation) so the Certificate of Coroner – Cremation Form 6 replaces the Green Certificate.

The Certificate of Coroner is required because when the Coroner is investigating a death there permission for cremation of the body is required.

The Coroner will complete the Certificate of Coroner Form and this is either collected from the Coroners Office or emailed to the Funeral Directors.

When the Coroner is involved you still need to complete the Application for Cremation – Cremation Form 1 which is the same as it is for a Cremation Application without a Coroner being involved.

COST OF FORMS REQUIRED WHEN THE CORONER IS INVOLVED

  • Application For Cremation – Cremation Form 1: FREE
  • Certificate of Coroner – Cremation Form 6: FREE

COMPLETED FORMS

Completed forms have to be submitted to the Crematorium where the Cremation is taking place, normally 48 working hours prior to Cremation. This is important, if you miss this deadline the cremation may be cancelled.

The forms have to be submitted in advance as the Medical Referee, who is employed by the Secretary of State, reviews the documents to ensure that they comply with the Cremations Regulations, that all inquiries and examinations have been sufficient by people completing the Certificates and that the cause of death is agreed or that the Coroner has opened an Inquest.

The medical referee will complete an Authorisation of Cremation – Cremation Form 10. Only when this form is completed can the Cremation go ahead.

Cost of the Medical Referee is included in the cremation fee.

INSPECT THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATES

If you want to view the medical forms the request MUST be made in part 5 of the Application for Cremation Form – Cremation Form 1.

The Medical Certificates that you can request to view are Medical Certificate – Cremation Form 4 and the Confirmatory Medical Certificate – Cremation Form 5 which are completed by two Doctors.

There is no legal rights to view the Certificate of Corner so you will not be able to view the forms if the Coroner is involved with the death.

The Crematorium will then make the forms available for viewing for a period of 48 hours. You can view these forms yourself or elect someone to view them for you.

There may be a cost involved with viewing the Medical Certificates which is best clarifying directly with the Crematorium involved.