Organising Wakes & Funerals

As soon as the death occurs, it is helpful to contact a funeral director who can guide you through the process and will take over all arrangements for moving the body to either a chapel of rest or mortuary. If in hospital, the body is usually moved to the hospital mortuary or chapel of rest.

A funeral director can arrange viewings of the body; bear in mind that funeral arrangements should follow any wishes set out in a will. Funeral directors will give you an estimate of costs which are usually payable on the day of the funeral (sometimes beforehand). A funeral usually takes place a few days after the death but if a coroner is involved this may mean that arrangements can not be made until much later.

You do not have to use the services of a funeral director. This may save money but careful consideration needs to be given to this choice as transporting a body is a difficult task. Local undertakers may be willing to help with transport once a doctor has certified the death.

Telling people that someone has died can be a difficult task. It is helpful if you sit down with a friend or family member and make a list of the people it is vital to inform. At the initial stage this should be close friends and family. You can pre-prepare what you are going to say to people and if you find the task too difficult this is a good point at which a sympathetic and supportive friend or family member can step in to help with some calls.

Remember, this may be shocking news for people and they may be very upset. You don’t have to console them but do tell them the funeral arrangements if you have them.

You may choose to place an announcement in the newspaper to let other people know of the death. You can find some examples of announcements here. You can also place death announcements and obituaries on websites such as Your Announcement .

Permission from the coroner must be obtained to move a body out of the country. Permission has to be gained at least four days before the move is intended, although a coroner can allow it to happen sooner. The coroner will provide a removal notice; part of this form is sent back to the local registrar once the funeral has taken place.
If you are organising a funeral then you will find a useful funeral planning checklist here.

A funeral director will be able to help guide you through what will happen on the actual day of the funeral, this depends where the body is and what kind of funeral is taking place.

The ashes of the deceased will be kept for one month following a cremation and must be collected within that time. After a burial, it is normal for the headstone to be laid after a few months once the ground has settled.

More detailed information on types of funerals and cremation can be found here.