How to arrange a funeral?
A detailed process to dealing with the death of someone close to you.
The loss of a near and dear one creates a void in our life and leaves us overwhelmed with emotions when we reminisce about the memories made with that person.
We understand that you are weighed down by grief due to the personal loss you have suffered but you have to arrange a funeral for your loved one so that people can pay proper homage and tribute to the departed soul.
We will take you through the step by step process of how to arrange a funeral and help you deal with your immense emotional loss:
Report the death and take care of the person who has died
There are a lot of formalities associated with the death of a person like preparation of medical certificate, arranging for the body to be transported to a particular place, getting in touch with a funeral director, to name a few. While you are taking care of completing all these formalities, the body of the person who died has to be taken care of in a cool place.
If the person has died in a hospital, then the hospital authorities will take care of the deceased while you complete the formalities.
If the person has died at home, make sure that you immediately call for a doctor or an ambulance to have a complete check up before you proceed towards the subsequent formalities. If the death occurred under suspicious circumstances then call a coroner together with a doctor to investigate and check the deceased.
Appoint a Funeral Director
You might want some helping hand in aiding you with the funeral arrangements. You can get in touch with a funeral director and hire their services. A funeral director has a lot of functionalities right from handling the deceased till the completion of the funeral services.
A funeral director takes care of the following:
- Helps in taking care of the deceased
- Guides you throughout the funeral service
- Provides emotional support to the family and friends of the deceased
- Directs you through the paperwork, documentation and legalities involved after death of a person
- Helps you in arranging for the funeral services
- Helps you with the arrangement of the burial services
- Helps you in arranging a memorial service
- Guides you in announcing the news about the death of your loved one.
Register the death and arrange for Medical Certificate
In order to proceed further with your funeral arrangements, you need to get a medical certificate and register the death without which your funeral proceedings, insurance paperwork, bank account paperwork will be stalled and cannot be completed.
You need to register the death within 5 days since the person has breathed his or her last. In Scotland, you can register the death within 7 days. The medical certificate has to be duly signed by the doctor who has declared the person dead and must contain the date and time of the death. You should be prepared to give all the information requested by the concerned official at the registry office. You should have the following information ready which might be requested by the registrar:
- Name of the person (including maiden name)
- Last address of the deceased
- Date of birth of the deceased
- Date and place of death
- The person’s job
- If the person had a deceased spouse or partner, then the full name, date of birth and job of the deceased spouse or partner is required
- If the person was still married at the time of death, the date of birth of the deceased’s husband or wife is required
- If the person was receiving a pension or other social security benefits, then the details have to be mentioned.
Once all the formalities have been completed at the registry office, you will be issued a Certificate for Burial or Cremation which is also known as the reen form’, and a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8).
With the help of Certificate for Burial or Cremation, you will be able to book a crematorium or a burial ground.
You need to keep in mind that not anybody and everybody can go and register the death.
Only the following set of people mentioned in the list, can do the duty of registering the death which is listed in terms of order of priority:
- A relative who was present at the time of death
- A relative present during the person’s last illness
- A relative living in the district where the death took place
- Anyone else present at the time of death
- An owner or occupier of the building where the death took place and who was aware of the death
- The person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director).
Decide the type of service you want to organise
There are 3 services which are generally conducted in honour of the deceased.
Anybody who is close to the deceased can arrange the funeral.
A funeral can be conducted in any church, chapel or religious building under the guidance of the minister of religion. You have to plan for all the ceremonies which you would want to be conducted within the religious building during the funeral service and prepare an ‘Order of Ceremony’ to be distributed among the guests. You might also have to arrange for choir group to sing your list of preferred songs and hymns.
A memorial service can be conducted anytime after the death. It is generally organised to allow the friends, family members and acquaintances of the deceased to pay their last respects and eulogise about the deceased.
A graveside service is the final stage of disposing the casket carrying the deceased. You have to make proper arrangements at the gravesite like setting up chairs for the aged guests, have a funeral celebrant or a humanist officiate in place who can lead the service.
Book the requisite places where the funeral service can take place
You need to book an appointment with your local church or any religious building for conducting the funeral services and have a burial ground in a place where the deceased will be put to rest. In the church or chapel, the priest or the minister of religion will be leading the service and pray for the departed soul. The front row aisles are reserved for immediate and close family members. Other acquaintances and friends can occupy the subsequent aisles.
You can conduct the burial services in a local cemetery, churchyard, or a privately owned cemetery. In North Ireland, proper approvals have to be taken in order to bury the deceased in private land. If the deceased has not pre-purchased any plot for burial, then you have to do the needful of buying a plot and conduct the burial services. You can take the guidance of your funeral director in helping you find a cemetery plot or a place in a mausoleum.
You can have the deceased buried within the parish yard if you have lived within the parish area, provided that it has enough space. You will not be allowed to bury inside the church. You can only have the funeral ceremony conducted inside the church.
You can bury in the cemeteries owned by local authorities or private organisations at a nominal rate if you are living in the area falling under those local authorities. People from different locales can also be allowed to bury in the local site but the fee charged will be higher.
Choose the type of coffin or shroud
You need to buy a coffin according to the size specifications of the deceased and the quality you would want for the coffin. Nowadays, as per UK laws, you need not cremate the deceased in a coffin. You can use a shroud to cover the dead and cremate. There are varieties of coffins from which you can choose like willow coffins, wool coffins, wooden coffins, eco-friendly coffins made up of pine wood and biodegradable elements which takes 60% less energy to burn and causes less emission.
You can choose either of the following options when you want to obtain a coffin:
Have it tailor-made from a carpenterPurchase it from your funeral directorYou can buy a coffin onlineYou can rent a coffin for the funeral service.
When you rent a coffin, you get an outer coffin made of wood or any material which you would prefer together with an inner coffin which is made up of cardboard. After the funeral service is conducted, the outer wooden coffin is removed and the inner cardboard coffin is cremated.
Have your pallbearers in place
You need people to carry the coffin in a religious building for the funeral service to be conducted as well as carry it towards the burial ground if it is near to the religious building. Choose your pallbearers and have them in place during the ceremony. The pallbearers can be among the family and friends. Have your funeral director coordinate with the pallbearers and have them in place whenever they are required.
Arrange for a transportation
You will have to arrange for the transportation of the body to be carried to the funeral ceremony and subsequently to the burial ground. You can use a hearse, an estate car or van to transport the deceased. You might also need transportation to carry the immediate family members to the funeral service and from there to the burial site. Funeral homes can also provide you with these services. Your funeral director will guide you and arrange for all the transportation required to carry the deceased as well as the immediate family members.
Announcement of the Death
You have to break the grievous news to all the family members and the acquaintances of the deceased. We understand that it is an extremely emotional moment to gather your thoughts and announce the news about the loss of your loved one. It might help to have properly written points in place regarding the date when your loved one departed from this world or some eulogy about the deceased.
You can gather all the email ids of the people known to the deceased and shoot a bulk mail informing about the loss. You can also contact a select few individuals from the deceased’s workgroup, college group, school group and inform them regarding the sad loss thereby requesting them to spread this news.
If you want to inform a larger audience, then you can take the guidance of your funeral director and post an obituary in a newspaper.
Some of the points you need to keep in mind
Cost of the funeral
Arranging a funeral can cost you some money depending on the services you avail and the type of funeral materials and arrangements you use. You have to take care of the expenses for hiring a funeral director, coffin or shroud expenses, funeral services expenses, expenses incurred for purchasing a plot of burial ground, expenses incurred due to purchase of funeral materials, to name a few.
You can also arrange the funeral on your own once you know what all you need to do. You can cut down on the expenses in terms of funeral materials or purchase coffin which comes at a nominal rate.
If the death has occurred abroad
If the death has occurred abroad, then the death should be reported and registered as per the laws of the country in which the death has taken place. You have to reach out to the British consul in that country and they will help you with the paperwork and facilitate the transport of the body.
Make sure you register the death and get a death certificate issued from the country where the death has taken place. The death certificate will contain the date, time and the authorised signature of the doctor who has attended to the deceased. The British Consul might help you in reporting the death in UK.
As soon as the body is returned to UK, you have to reach out to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the location where the funeral is to take place and intimate them about the death. They will issue a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the reen form’), after which you will be allowed to bury the deceased. You also need to take permission from the home office if you want to cremate the body.
We sincerely hope that this article has aided you in giving an overall understanding of how you can arrange a funeral. We earnestly hope that this piece of writing has helped you in your difficult time.