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The English Funeral Director

Questions & Answers

Funerals are a subject many people avoid speaking about, especially their own funeral, thinking that if we talk about it we are going to tempt fate. The truth is, it is going to happen to everyone of us whether we admit it or not, but hopefully not for some time. Many people have similar concerns regarding funerals in Spain and are unsure how our services work. Here we shall explain some funerals facts and the services I can offer.

Question 1 Do I have to be cremated within 24hrs ?

It is actually against the law in Spain to cremate within the first 24 hours after death. Although it is customary for the Spanish to be cremated or interred within 24-36 hours, it is not a legal requirement for foreigners; we can delay the funeral for as many days as necessary.

Question 2 Do I have to pay all costs before the funeral takes place?

Most funeral homes do require payment before the cremation takes place or before issuing the death certificate and releasing the ashes. The reason for this is they don't generally deal in cash as the majority of their clients are Spanish and therefore have funeral insurance in place. (To the Spanish buying a funeral Insurance is as vital as house insurance or car insurance). If you have a funeral Insurance or funeral plan then they should cover the full cost of the funeral. Please bear in mind that some funeral homes only accept certain policies, and some funeral insurances have a payout ceiling amount (This will be on your paperwork, so please check that this will cover the full cost. Any shortfall will have to be paid by the remaining family).

Question 3 I have heard some funeral directors have taken away the deceased without permission. Does this occur?

Unfortunately, yes these situations do occur from time to time. There are two areas where this can happen. Firstly, when someone passes away in hospital, some hospital staff will want to use their preferred funeral home. It is important that your remaining family do not sign any paperwork at the hospital which they are unsure about, as this will often be a consent form and a legal contract with a certain funeral director. Once this paperwork has been signed it is almost impossible to change the funeral director, or the location of where the funeral will take place, without paying a substantial fee, which could almost double the cost of the funeral itself. Many families have experienced this due to the pressure from the hospital to remove the deceased within a tight time frame. Secondly, if it is a death at home and the forensic services are called, they also can have a preferred funeral director which normally accompany them to your home. The forensics will not always take the person back to Cartagena for examination and so at this stage it is important for you to state which funeral director you want to use. Once again, it is important not to sign any paperwork that you are unsure of and do not let your beloved be taken away unless you are absolutely sure you know, and are happy with, the chapel of rest they are going to.

Question 4 What are the benefits of having a funeral plan or Insurance?

People take out plans for different reasons. One reason is financial, unlike the UK there is no state help towards funeral costs so it is down to the next of kin and as discussed many funeral homes in Spain require payment before the cremation takes place or within a week. The responsibility to pay the cost of the funeral, currently between 3,000 and 4,000 Euros, adds pressure to an already traumatic experience. A funeral plan or insurance will pay for this cost and relieve the associated financial pressure. Most funeral insurance companies do not get involved in arranging the funeral they are simply a way of paying for the cost. Alternatively a Golden Leaves funeral plan will both pay for the cost and be involved in the arrangements at the time of death which saves your loved ones the trouble and anguish of making funeral arrangements in a foreign country. Or you may not have any relatives who could deal with your affairs and want to put things in order now so that you have peace of mind that your affairs will be dealt with professionally.

Question 5 What services do you provide?

We provide a complete 24hr English funeral service to the expatriate community covering the whole of the Costa Calida, Costa Blanca South and the Almeria Region. Tony Smith is first and foremost a professionally qualified funeral director with over 23 years experience. We can also offer many different ways of paying for the funeral (ie Golden Leaves Funeral Plan, Spanish Funeral Insurance, or, if registered with English Funeral Director at the time of death). We will even work with clients who have an insurance or plan with a different provider. Once contacted, 24 hours a day, we will visit your home or hospital to move the deceased back to the chapel of rest of your choice, we will inform the correct authorities (ie doctors, police, forensics etc) and then will guide you through the arrangements step by step. There will be no pressure to make important decisions that you are not ready to make. Our services include all viewings at the chapel of rest, to dress your loved one as you would prefer (something the Spanish are not accustomed to), arranging full funeral service with an English minister of your choice, arranging the music, hymns, poems and personalised service sheets for the funeral, arranging flowers, donations and funeral teas. We will stand in attendance at the funeral, and will be with you every step of the way . Afterwards we will arrange and pick up all paperwork, certificates and ashes. And we will include an obituary notice dedicated to your loved one and your memories. We are only a phone call away and we are only too happy to answer any questions you may have with no obligation, no pressure, we are not a sales persons and Tony Smith is a qualified funeral director. If you would like to discuss what options are available or to arrange an appointment please call 968 956 409 or please contact 650 631 719 (24hrs) in the event of a death

 24 HRS CONTACT NUMBER 650 631 719