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What to do when someone dies?

What to do when someone dies?

You will need to inform a number of people and organisations and complete certain documents needed by law. If you are a relative or friend you can do some of these things yourself.

Others will need to be done by the Executor or Administrator of the estate. Please visit the Islington Council website for more information.

Cremation or burial?

The option of cremation or burial is a personal choice. There are certain religions which will specify what the preferred option is. Generally the cost of burial is higher than the fee charged for cremation.

What type of service can I have?

A traditional religious service is appropriate for some people. For others, a totally non-religious ceremony, or ‘semi-religious’ service is more apt. Some families/friends conduct all parts of a ceremony themselves or there are celebrants who can help you. You may want no service at all. The choice is yours.

Can I arrange a funeral myself without going to a Funeral Director?

You do not need to use the services of a funeral director. However many families find the prospect of arranging a funeral entirely without support from an undertaker daunting. A middle road is to find a funeral director who would provide as much or as little help as you require. If you want to arrange the funeral yourself you will need to contact the Cemetery or Crematorium of your local council.

Where can I find a Funeral Director?

We would recommend that you 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

What happens after the cremation?

The cremation will usually take place shortly after the service. The Code of Cremation Practice specifies that the cremation should always be completed as soon as practically possible. If this is not on the same day, it will usually be within 72hrs of the service, after which the ashes will be available for collection.

What happens after the burial?

There is a period after the burial when the ground needs time to settle and consolidate. During this time the cemetery staff monitor for any sinkage and top up with topsoil if necessary until the ground has settled. The amount of time needed for this to happen may differ around the country due to differing soil types and conditions. After this period a memorial can then be placed on the grave.

What if I can’t afford the funeral costs?

You can apply for a Funeral Payment if you have difficulty paying for the funeral. You could get a Funeral Payment if you’re on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging. There are criteria to qualify and how much you get depends on your circumstances.

If there are no relatives or friends to arrange a funeral, in England and Wales, the local authority or health authority will arrange a simple funeral. The public authority that arranges the funeral will then try to recover the cost from any money left by the person who died. If the money left isn’t enough, the public authority can sometimes recover the funeral cost from a spouse or civil partner (but not from anybody else).

Can I pre-pay for my funeral?

A Funeral Plan is a funeral you can plan and pay for in advance. There are a number of different plans available and are often provided through a Funeral Director.

Further guidance on burial and cremation is available here

download pdf Information on Burial and Cremation.