In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days:
- Request a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor. This is necessary to register the death.
- Register the death within 5 days, or 8 days if you live in Scotland. You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.
- Make the necessary funeral arrangements.
Registering a death
If the death has been reported to the coroner, or alternatively the 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 to guide you through the process. This will also explain the registration process for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Arranging a 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. Please ensure you choose a funeral director who is a member of one of the following:
These organisations have codes of practice, meaning 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.
Please be aware, funeral costs can include:
- Funeral director fees.
- Things the funeral director pays for on your behalf, known as disbursements or third-party costs. These may include 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.