In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days;
- Get a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor (this is necessary to register the death)
- Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.
- Make the necessary funeral arrangements.
Register the death
If the death has been reported to the coroner (or Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) they must give permission before registering the death.
You can register the death if you are a relative, a witness to the death, a hospital administrator or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.
You can use the ‘Register a Death’ page on the gov.uk website that will guide you through the process. This will also explain the registration process for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Arrange the funeral
The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. Most people use a funeral director, though you can arrange a funeral yourself.
Choose a funeral director who’s a member of one of the following:
These organisations have codes of practice - they must give you a price list when asked.
Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association can also help with non-religious funerals.
Arranging the funeral yourself
Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.
Funeral costs can include:
funeral director fees
things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
local authority burial or cremation fees
Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quotes.
Cruse Bereavement Care
- The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement.
- Telephone Number: 0808 808 1677
- The helpline is open Monday-Friday 9.30-5.00 pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when they are open until 8.00 pm. Alternatively you can email: email@example.com or telephone: 01761 417250.
- Please find more information on their website: www.crusebath.org
- Whatever you're going through, you can call the Samaritan’s at any time, from any phone for free. Call 116 123 at any time, day or night.
- Alternatively write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them better. They aim to response to you in 24 hours.
The Compassionate Friends
- The Compassionate Friends are bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause.
- Please call their National Helpline telephone number on 0345 123 2304; they are open every day of the year from 10.00 – 16.00 and 19.00 – 22.00 alternatively email email@example.com.