Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Happens when Someone Dies at Home?

If a person dies at home, their doctor should be called. The doctor should do a home visit to confirm the death. Once the doctor has been to the property and confirmed the death, the next of kin should get in contact with a funeral director to arrange for the body to be removed to the Chapel of Rest. It is normally possible to make contact with a funeral director 24 hours a day, and the body will usually be removed within a couple of hours. The process can take longer in rural areas.

  • What happens when someone dies in hospital?

When somebody dies in a hospital, the hospital should try to inform the next of kin as soon as possible. The hospital will get a doctor to confirm the death. Most hospitals will provide the next of kin with a pack which should explain any legal obligations, such as registering the death. The body can be temporarily stored by the hospital but can be released to the family immediately if the cause of death is not disputed. A funeral director should be called to remove the body to their Chapel of Rest.

  • How do I register a death?

When a person dies, the death must be properly registered at the local Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It is sometimes possible to register a death by declaration. This should be done within 5 days of the death. The person who is registering the death must provide the Registrar with a medical certificate that shows the cause of death. There should not be a fee to register a death, but there may be a charge for copies of the death certificate. Ask your funeral director if you need assistance with registering the death.

  • What happens if the Coroner needs to become involved?

In some circumstances, the death may need to be reported to the Coroner. The Coroner may need to do a more thorough investigation into the cause of death. If the Coroner is investigating the death, they should try to keep the next of kin updated. The death does not need to be registered within 5 days if the body is still in the possession of the Coroner. Once the Coroner has finished their investigation, the body can then be released to the next of kin and the death can be registered.

  • How do I plan a funeral service?

Most people will utilise the knowledge and experience of a funeral director when it comes to planning a funeral service; however it is possible to plan a service without assistance. A funeral director will be able to talk you through all of the most important aspects of the funeral, such as casket choices, death announcements and funeral transportation. They should be able to help you to find a venue and a celebrant to lead the service. Although a funeral director plans funerals every day, they will be able to help you to fill the ceremony with personal touches.

  • Can funerals be personalised?

Yes! A funeral is a hugely personal event and almost every aspect of it can be personalised. You will be able to add personal touches through the music, readings and flowers that you arrange as part of the ceremony. You don’t even have to follow a set format for the order of service. Your funeral director will help to talk you through the choices that you have to make, so that you can give your loved one a fitting send off. These personal touches will allow you to truly celebrate the life of your loved one.

  • How soon can a funeral be arranged?

The length of time that it takes to arrange a funeral can depend on the location of the death and what time of year it is. Your funeral director should be able to help you to find out when the earliest available date is at your venue of choice. If you wish to have the funeral as soon as possible, it can be arranged very quickly with the assistance of a funeral director. Funerals can take longer to organise in the winter months, because it can be harder to find availability at venues.

  • Should I choose burial or cremation?

The choice between burial and cremation is a very personal one and should be considered carefully. Burial tends to be more expensive than cremation and it can be hard to find a suitable burial plot. However, burial is required by some religions. There will also be a special location for friends and families to visit to remember the deceased. Cremation is a more cost-effective option and a burial plot does not need to be found. The family of the deceased may then choose what they do with the cremated ashes. On the other hand, some religions forbid cremation of remains.

  • Where can the funeral take place?

The majority of funerals that take place in the United Kingdom still take place in Christian forums such as a church, chapel or graveyard. All residents of the UK have the right to a funeral in their local parish church. However, funerals can also take place in a temple, mosque, synagogue or other religious venue. There are almost no regulations governing where funerals can and cannot take place. This means that it is possible to host a funeral in a private residence or alternative community space if you wish.

  • Who can conduct the service?

The person who will conduct the service may depend on the chosen venue for the funeral. When a funeral takes place in a church, it will normally be led by a priest, vicar or member of the clergy. A religious leader from another faith may also lead the ceremony if it takes place in a different religious venue. If the deceased was not religious, then the funeral director may be able to introduce you to a humanist celebrant. It is also possible for the person who is arranging the funeral to conduct their own service.

  • What transport will be required?

The next of kin will normally need to arrange transportation from the Chapel of Rest to the location of the funeral. Transportation may also be required to take the coffin to the burial site or crematorium. The coffin is normally carried in a traditional motorised hearse, but alternative vehicles can be provided on request. The family may also wish to arrange funeral cars to transport them as part of the funeral procession. Funeral limousines can normally carry 6 or 7 family members. The hearse and the funeral cars will be driven by employees of the funeral directors.

  • What music can be used in the service?

There is a lot of freedom about the type of music which can be used as part of a funeral service. If there are any restrictions, these are normally imposed by the venue. Music can be live or recorded. If you advise your funeral director of the musical choices, they should be able to find the music in a format which can be played at the venue. If you wish to choose hymns for the service, the minister may be able to give you additional advice about suitable songs.

  • Do we need to carry the coffin?

Pallbearers are provided by the funeral directors, although friends and family members may be able to assist via prior arrangement. Mourners are not recommended to carry the coffin unless they have been given prior guidance by the funeral directors. A coffin which contains an adult can be surprisingly heavy, so failing to follow safety instructions can cause injury. If you wish for friends and family members to carry the coffin at the funeral, you are advised to discuss this with your funeral director at the earliest possible convenience.

  • Can children attend the funeral?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, so you will have to make a personal choice based on the age, maturity and understanding levels of your children. Younger children may be upset and confused by a funeral if they do not understand what is going on. However, if children are able to understand the significance of a funeral, they may feel upset if they are not allowed to attend. It may be a good idea to explain what will happen during the funeral, so that the children understand the events. More about this question here.

  • What will happen before the funeral?

Your funeral director should explain to you how the funeral will proceed based on your choices. If the family is planning on following the coffin to the church as part of the funeral procession, the funeral directors will arrange a time and a place to meet. They will bring the hearse and any pre-arranged funeral cars. The procession will then proceed to the venue of the funeral. The minister or celebrant will normally meet the family outside of the venue so that they can make sure that the family is ready for the ceremony to begin.

  • What will the funeral cost?

The cost of the funeral will largely depend on what you have chosen to include as part of the funeral package. Funeral costs also vary depending on the location in the UK. If you choose to include optional extras such as a live musicians or a post-funeral gathering, then the cost of the funeral will be much higher than it would be if you elected for the most basic funeral package. If you are worried about covering the costs of a funeral, you should start with the most basic package and then add on extras as required.

  • Who will pay for the funeral?

The deceased may have already arranged a pre-payment or funeral insurance to cover the cost of the funeral. The costs may also be paid for by the estate of the deceased, but this is only possible if the estate contains enough money. The next of kin may offer to pay for the funeral if they want to. Certain people may be eligible for support from the government to help them to pay for the funeral of a loved one. The government Funeral Payment may not cover the whole cost of the funeral.

  • Do we need to arrange a post-funeral gathering?

You can choose to arrange a post-funeral gathering, although this is not mandatory. This type of gathering can take place in a community space such as a village hall, in a local pub or restaurant, or at a private residence. If you want any advice about venues that are near to the funeral venue, crematorium or burial site, you should ask for advice from the funeral director. They may be able to offer recommendations or help to arrange catering if you intend to provide food for the attendees.

  • How do I arrange donations to charity?

Many mourners wish to make a donation in lieu of sending flowers. It is not uncommon for the next of kin to nominate a charity to receive the donations. The funeral directors may be able to make some suggestions if you do not know which charity to donate to. If you wish to accept donations at the funeral, you should notify your funeral director. They should help you to promote the charity in the order of service and they should help you to collect and collate the donations.

  • Is it possible to set up a pre-payment plan?

Many people now choose to pay for their funeral in advance. This means that the cost of the funeral has already been covered or partially covered by the time that they die. This can help to reduce the financial burden which is placed on the next of kin. Discussing a pre-payment plan with a funeral director also means that you will have the opportunity to make choices about your service before you die. This can help to take away some of the stress and confusion which is associated with organising a funeral for a deceased person.