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Our Funeral Step-by-Step Guide

First things first, don’t panic!

When someone dies, the last thing you want to think about is formalities and arrangements. But there are a number of steps that are required by law.

 

An important part of the grieving process is to be able to give your loved one the funeral that they would have wished for.

 

Most funeral directors will help you to take all the right steps to arrange a funeral that is fitting for your loved one.

 

Important First Steps

Inform the family GP: In most cases, the family doctor provides and signs a death certificate, which will be required in order to register a death.

 

Register the Death: All deaths must be registered by law at a register office. In England and Wales this must be done within five days, while in Scotland the time limit is eight days.

 

You need to take as much information/documents relating to the deceased as possible to register the death, including:

  • Death certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • NHS Medical Card
  • The deceased’s full name and any previous names used
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • The details of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Whether they were receiving any state benefits.

 

Use this link to find your Register Office in England and Wales

Use this link to find your Register Office in Scotland

At the register office: Assuming that there is no post-mortem, the register office will supply you with a Certificate for Burial or Cremation and a Certificate of Registration of Death. If you require any duplicates of the death certificate, you can request this at the register office. 

Second Step, Make Plans for the Funeral

When someone dies, especially if they were close to you, you will be faced with so many emotions. Our guide will help you to make the right steps to arranging a funeral.

 

WHAT’S IN THE WILL?

It is recommended that you visit the deceased’s solicitor to check whether a will includes any instructions on funeral arrangements. Even if you were close to the deceased and you know what they had planned, you are advised to check what is written in the will.

 

These wishes are not mandatory but you may want to take them into account when arranging the funeral. The will also include information on the executor(s) who will subsequently administer the conduct of the estate.

 

Provision for the Funeral

The will may have details of a pre-paid funeral plan. If so, the funeral director they have appointed can carry out the funeral arrangements according to the plan.

 

Alternative arrangements can be made through a professional funeral directors, a council funeral or a community funeral.

 

More Funeral Considerations

These are some of the questions that a funeral directors will ask you so that they can help you to arrange the right service:

  • Burial or cremation
  • Where the body should rest before the funeral?
  • Date for the funeral?
  • Where to hold the funeral?
  • What type of service, eg religious, humanist, civil or green?
  • Who will conduct the funeral?
  • Funeral vehicles.

Useful Links

 

 

Choices Between Burial & Cremation

In many cases, the deceased will have left word or intimated verbally whether they preferred a burial or cremation. The choice is very personal and may be influenced by a family’s tradition or religion.

 

For a Burial

It might seem obvious but if the funeral is to be a burial, there will need to be a burial plot or space. It could be that a space has already been reserved, such as an existing family burial plot. (Check in the will for this information or ask close family members if you do not already have this information.)

If not, you may need to find and pay for a burial plot in a churchyard or cemetery. The cost of some plots where space is limited can be high. A cemetery burial will also require a memorial headstone, or a new inscription on an existing headstone.

Perhaps you might consider a woodland burial, which is available in many places in the UK.

A burial will usually be preceded by a funeral service in a local church or in a cemetery chapel.

 

For a Cremation

It is possible to hold a service in a church before proceeding to the crematorium. Here, you can take advantage of another service in the crematorium building. The alternative is to simply hold the whole funeral at the crematorium.

Cremations usually cost less that a burial and the choice of service can be religious or non-religious.

You will also need to decide on the final resting place of the ashes. Many people choose to take away the ashes of their loved one in an urn and decide later on to scatter or bury them.

 

Step Three – the Funeral Itself

Once you have arranged the date and place of the funeral you can send out the invitations and consider placing a notice of details in the newspaper. 

 

MORE FUNERAL PLANS

  • Music, hymns and readings for the service
  • Who to ask to deliver the eulogy
  • Flowers for the funeral
  • Stationery, including service booklets, thank-you cards and maps
  • Preference for flower tributes from mourners or a charity donation
  • Location of a gathering following the funeral
  • Catering for the after-funeral gathering

You funeral director is there to help and advise you through each and every step. 

Useful Links

 

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