The focus of Boris Johnson’s speech to the nation yesterday was “stay home and save lives”. As we have already seen it is a sad reality that people will lose loved ones as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Faced with an increasing death toll, the Government announced new measures yesterday to ensure that the deceased are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Existing procedures in relation to the management of death are to be modified to take into account that bereaved families might be self-isolating and that there may be reduced capacity to register and manage death as a result of coronavirus-related sickness.
Registration of death made simpler
Under current rules, a medical certificate must be obtained from a GP or hospital and physically taken to the Funeral Director dealing with the death. This will no longer be required and sending an electronic copy will be allowed instead. Funeral Directors will also be permitted to register deaths on behalf of the family if they are unable to leave their homes due to illness or self-isolation.
As we currently stand, the Government are hoping that further emergency measures in respect of the treatment and management of the deceased will not be needed. At present, personal choice will still be respected as far as possible, but we cannot rule out further changes if the death toll is significantly higher than anticipated.
Funeral advice updated
The Government have also update their advice on funerals. While marriages have been halted during the lock down period, funerals are still allowed but they should be with immediate family only (which currently has not been defined) and social distancing measures should be taken at the funeral to minimise the risk of passing on infection.
We are here to help
Backhouse Solicitors have many years’ experience helping families deal with the loss of loved ones. We are here to assist families with the registration of deaths, obtaining payment for funerals from banks or other organisations in which the deceased held accounts and progressing the Probate process to help finances at an extremely difficult time.
For questions on any of the issues above, or any other matter relating to Wills, Powers of Attorney or Probate, please contact Ann Coutts at Backhouse Solicitors for expert help and advice.