Sourcing cremation paperwork is a hassle. Every day we get a lot of questions regarding the types of forms needed to arrange a direct cremation––and one of the most confusing elements for people is the Cremation Form 4. In this blog we explain what this form is and the technicalities behind it.
What is a Cremation Form 4?
The Cremation Form 4 is the medical certificate certifying the cause of death that is completed by a medical practitioner before the body is sent to a crematorium.
What does a Cremation Form 4 say about the deceased?
The Cremation Form 4 includes the personal details of the deceased such as address and occupation, details on the cause of death, and finally a statement of truth from the medical practitioner who fills out the form. The Form costs £82 which is payable directly to the GP. The funeral director will usually contact the hospital or GP directly to obtain the Cremation Form 4. The form can be filled out and signed electronically and sent to the Funeral Director via encrypted email.
The Cremation 4 Form is essential
Before the UK went into lockdown, a Cremation Form 5 was also required in conjunction with a Cremation Form 4 for a cremation to take place. However, given the global health crisis and its effect on mortality rates in England, the UK Government decided to eliminate the previous requirements to have the accompanying Cremation Form 5. These new guidelines have been legislated in the Coronavirus Act 2020, which came into effect on 26 March 2020.
In line with new Government guidelines, any medical practitioner is able to fill out a Cremation Form 4 even if they have not attended to the deceased just prior to the death. Because of these new regulations in place since March 2020, the crematorium medical referee is now able to accept a Form 4 where the deceased has not been seen within 28 days before or after death; but where a death has been registered with a medical certificate cause of death (MCCD). This can be explained further in the revised guidance document from the UK Ministry of Justice.
The filling out of forms, multiple signatures, and changes in regulations seems like a long process and an impasse which is inconvenient to the bereaved. Medical practitioners who are responsible for the completion of Form 4 are urged to complete the form in a timely manner in order to prevent a delay to funerals which would be unfair to families of the bereaved.