The first step: notifying the authorities of the death
You can chose to contact the authorities either before or after you’ve approached the funeral directors, if you’re using them. (That said, funeral directors will need to be provided with the death certificate when it is available).
If the person died in hospital or in a hospice, then there will likely be a register’s office in the building. If they died outside of these establishments, you will most likely need to report the death at the local registration office. It is a legal requirement to report a death within five days of it happening.
Using a funeral director versus a DIY funeral
A funeral director can provide a complete service, taking care of all the necessaries of a funeral. Moreover, a good funeral director can play an important, supportive role during this stressful time. They can also remove the need to handle tasks that may otherwise feel coldly practical to you as someone who loved and cared for the deceased, such as arranging a hearse and contacting the crematoria or cemetery.
The cost and role of a funeral director
The cost of a funeral director equates to in-excess of 70% of the total amount of a cremation funeral, and 55% of a burial funeral (Money Advice Service). While this is of course a significant amount, funeral directors do offer a wide-ranging services, including:
- Helping with the selection of a suitable coffin (on this note, the selection of coffins today ranges from the beautifully individual, such as those personalised with photographs, to the more affordable and eco-friendly, such as robust cardboard coffins.
- Transporting the deceased to the private chapel of rest.
- Taking care of the deceased (such as washing and dressing them for a final visit from friends and family).
- The provision of a hearse.
- The provision of pallbearers.
- Organising the legalities.
Beyond this, funeral directors can also be involved in a number of other tasks, such as purchasing flowers; arranging an obituary in the press; making catering arrangements for the wake; organising the chapel of rest and arranging any music.