Death is never easy and when someone close to us dies, we have to deal with the process of giving them a decent send-off on top of the grief. Most people don’t realize how complicated it is to arrange someone’s death which can be overwhelming especially if you haven’t handled it before. If you have to handle the arrangement, here’s a guide of what to do when someone dies in Kenya.
Time Of Death
It’s crucial to indicate the time of death especially when you suspect foul play or the person was a murder victim. There are three different times of death – The physiologic time of death which is when the victim’s vital functions actually ceased, the legal time of death which is the time recorded on the death certificate and the estimated time of death – the time the medical examiner estimates that death occurred.
If the person died in a hospital, the doctor will record their time which is indicated in the death certificate. However, if they died at home, you should call the police who will record an estimated time of death.
The next step should be arranging how the body will be stored. Nowadays, most hospitals have morgue facilities and you won’t have to move the body from the hospital to a different mortuary. However, the spaces are usually limited and they usually recommend that the loved ones of the deceased should transfer the body to a funeral home.
Some of the good funeral homes in Nairobi include Lee Funeral Home, Monalisa Funeral Services, and Umash Funeral Home. At the funeral home, they offer a variety of services other than storage including embalming, restoration, and transportation.
Post mortem procedures will have to be followed if someone dies suddenly, unexpectedly, suspiciously, or through an accident such as a road accident. The government pathologist conducts the procedure but if the family wishes to have a separate post mortem done, they can hire another pathologist. You can also waive the procedure or opt for alternative ways to identify the cause of death due to religious reasons.
You can acquire a death certificate through the eCitizen portal or a manual application at the Registrar of Births and Deaths office. You’ll need to fill a form accompanied by a burial permit, the deceased’s ID, and the application fee.
If the deceased passed on abroad, you’ll make the application at Central Records Registry at Sheria House. You’ll need to produce the deceased’s passport and/or ID and a medical certificate. The deceased’s travel document should be in order to allow for transportation. If there was a previous death certificate issued at the country of death, the Kenyan Embassy to the country will verify this.
Once the mortician is done with the body, they’ll alert you so you can start the burial arrangement process. This entails digging a gravesite, acquiring a casket, and organizing the burial ceremony. You can do this as soon as the death occurs to avoid incurring extra costs at the funeral home. However, if it’s under investigation, you have to wait for the investigating officer to give you the go-ahead to bury the body.
To obtain a burial permit, you should obtain a Register of Death Certificate from the hospital or police station which you’ll then present it to the local district registrar. This form should be accompanied by an ID and birth certificate of the deceased. The Registrar will then grant you a burial permit.
You cannot bury a person on a leasehold property in Kenya. In case you wish to bury someone in one of the public cemeteries, you can get in touch with the relevant administration who’ll give you their rates depending on the type of grave.
There are so many factors that determine which procedure you need to take when someone dies. For instance, if they were in a business partnership, the issue of succession has to be addressed. However, in this case, we’ll assume that the deceased was an ordinary man.
You may need need to go to court for successorship proceedings. This is usually straightforward if there is no objection but as we know this is not usually straightforward.