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In times of bereavement

In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days:

  • Get a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor (this is necessary to register the death)

  • Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland).  You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.

  • Make the necessary funeral arrangements

Register the death

If the death has been reported to the coroner (or 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 website that will guide you through the process.  This will also explain the registration process for Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Arrange the 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.

Funeral Directors

Choose a funeral director who’s a member of one of the following

  • National Association of Funeral Directors

  • National Federation of Funeral Directors

  • Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors

These organisations have codes of practice – they must give you a price list when asked.

Some local councils run their own funeral service, 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.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees

  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third party costs’), for example, 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 the quotes.

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service

A team of friendly bereavement practitioners who are there to listen and help people find the support they need.    The service offers support for people  who have been bereaved or affected by death, no matter the cause of death or how long it’s been.

Access the service via telephone or email:   0161 983 0902


Date published: 13th November, 2023
Date last updated: 13th November, 2023