A guide to funeral planning and associated costs

Funerals: a step-by-step guide

When a loved one dies, you naturally want to provide a funeral that’s a personal and unique celebration of their life. But making the arrangements can seem daunting, especially given the emotional stress that many people feel at such a time.

This guide will help. By outlining the key steps in the funeral planning process, along with an illustration of the costs typically associated with these steps, it will help you make the choices best suited to your needs and circumstances.


Initial steps: who should you call first?

Before you can arrange a funeral, you need to do certain things. These are:

1. Obtain a Certificate of Cause of Death, signed by a GP or hospital doctor.

2. Remove the body. Whether the death occurred in a hospital or at home, you will need to call a funeral director to arrange for the deceased to be removed.

3. Register the death

Usually, a death must be registered within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). However, under some circumstances, the doctor may report the death to the coroner. This will delay things slightly. When the death has been registered, the registrar will issue you with the documents you need to arrange the funeral.

Why are deaths reported to the coroner? 1

A Doctor needs to have seen and treated a patient for at least 14 days prior to death in order to issue a certificate of cause of death, if this has not occurred then the death must be reported to the coroner.

There are also a number of other situations where a death must be reported, including but not limited to:

  • Deaths of anyone below 18 regardless of the cause of death
  • Deaths linked to medical treatment or within 24 hours of admission to hospital
  • Suspected suicides
  • A death linked to any suspicious circumstances
  • A death linked to an accident, regardless of when the accident occurred
  • Deaths linked to a person’s professional occupation

How to register a death


  1. Manchester City Council – Which deaths must be reported to the Coroner?
    www.gov.uk – What to do after someone dies.

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