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What to do after someone dies

Funeral arrangements

Funeral Director

Your funeral director can make all the arrangements for the funeral. They can also give advice on how and what is needed to register the death. If they belong to one of the following associations they will follow a Code of Practice:
National Association of Funeral Directors
Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors

Independent Funerals

Some people prefer to organise funerals themselves. Anyone wishing to take this route will be helped and advised by us where possible. Some people find this way a more meaningful experience.

An independent funeral can mean taking responsibility for:

  • Collecting and moving the body
  • Arranging embalming and viewing of the deceased
  • Providing a coffin, hearse and arranging the service

However, it can just mean arranging the burial and service.

The Natural Death Centre is a charitable project that provides information to help people arrange inexpensive, family-organised, and environmentally-friendly funerals. They promote bio-degradable coffins and woodland burials.

Non-religious Services

Many people now choose to have a humanist ceremony where the proceedings involve a celebration of the dead person's life through readings, tributes and appropriate music. The British Humanist Association website offers advice on all aspects of humanist ceremonies.

If you don’t want a ceremony at all, members of the family or close friends can attend the committal, which can be in silence or with some music being played.

Municipal Services

You could get help to pay for a simple funeral for a partner, close relative or friend if you receive certain benefits. More details can be found here.

Non-Christian and Minority Group Funerals

Most cemeteries are owned by local authorities or private companies and are non-denominational. Although some have space dedicated to particular religious groups. Some religious groups also have dedicated cemeteries.

Most Muslim communities appoint one person who is responsible for making funeral arrangements. It will be their job to advise of the rules and to select a suitable funeral director.

Hindus are always cremated and never buried. The Asian Funeral Service can give advice on and arrange Hindu Funerals. They can be contacted on 020 8909 3737 or by emailing [email protected].

Jewish funerals are usually arranged by a dedicated Jewish Funeral Agency. The local community may have a contract with a Gentile funeral service which will be carried out under strict rabbinical control. The Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service offers support and can be contacted on 020 8349 0839.