In Times of Bereavement (Expected / Unexpected / Suicide)

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.

image depicting bereavement


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.


image depicting bereavement

Funeral directors

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

These organisations have codes of practice - 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.


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 their quotes.

For free independent advice on bereavement issues, you can find more information at


Organisations to help

Organisation Website Phone
CALM - Campaign against Living Miserably A registered charity dedicated to preventing male suicide 0800 58 58 58
Papyrus A national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide 0800 068 4141
Samaritans A registered charity with local branches.  Available any time of the day to help anyone 116 123 (free number)
Survivors of bereavement by suicide A national charity set up to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by suicide 0300 111 5065
Help at Hand Cymru What to do when you lose someone to sucide or unexpexted death?  
City Hospice City Hospice is a charity providing freebereavement support to people living in the counties of Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taff.  The service is available Monday to Friday.  02922 671 422