Arranging a funeral, one step at a time

on Monday, 09 May 2016. Posted in N21 Experts


Arranging a funeral checklist

Before arranging a funeral, there are three things that need to be done immediately. Everything else - from sourcing the will, to sorting the estate and affairs - can be left till after the funeral has taken place. Our 'Arranging a funeral' checklist will aid you in taking a step-by-step approach and hopefully help to reduce some of the stress that you may be under, at this difficult time. 


1. Get a medical certificate

We recommend that you request at least four copies of the original, as only these will be accepted by government agencies and organisations for proof of death.


2. Register the death

Registering the death will give you all the documents you need to arrange the funeral. When registering the death, ask the registrar about the Tell Us Once service, as it is the most efficient way of informing all those who need to know about your loved one's death.


3. Arrange the funeral

This can be a very stressful task whilst grieving, so we recommend that you visit Here you will find a list of funeral directors who are flexible, transparent and accommodating, following the strict code of conduct set out and monitored by the Natural Death Centre.


What sort of funeral do you want for your loved one?


In addition to the familiar traditional funeral, there are now many alternatives to choose from. Most funeral directors can now accommodate these with ease. These include (but are not limited to):

- Traditional burial

- Cremation

- Green or natural funerals and woodland burials

- Humanist funerals and non-religious ceremonies

- Secular / civil ceremonies

- Burials at sea

- Funerals without ceremonies


There is a lot to consider during this process, so it is very helpful to have some ideas around your preferred type of funeral before contacting funeral directors. This will make it easier to identify which funeral director is the best fit for you and your needs.


If you would like some information and guidance on the various options available to you, please contact Your White Room for an unbiased chat about your options and what is involved (0208 360 1861).


If you would like information on planning a funeral without the use of a funeral director, we can refer you to people that will be able to help.


2. Choosing the best funeral director for your needs

Make a list of at least three funeral directors based on location, recommendation or past use. Telephone them to get quotes and make a choice based on both cost (where appropriate) and how they made you feel. If the funeral director doesn't speak politely and patiently with you on the phone, then they are probably not the best choice. Time, patience and care are extremely important when arranging a funeral. This is a very difficult time for you, and in this line of business consideration should be second nature.


3. Working with your funeral director

Meet with the funeral director of your choice, tell them what you need and trust them to do what they are good at. The funeral director will oversee every detail of arranging the funeral, from taking care of your loved one until the funeral, to hiring hearses, coffins, flowers and a celebrant if required. If you have a set budget, it is important to make this clear from the outset, and the funeral director will be transparent about the cost and how to stay within your budget. These services can include:

- Coffin and fittings

- Transport of the body to the funeral director's premises

- Care of your loved one until the funeral including washing and dressing

- Hearse to transport your loved one to the crematorium or burial ground

- Providing pallbearers to carry the coffin

- Flowers

- Press notices

- An organist

- Embalming (if requested)

- Order of service / remembrance booklet and any other relevant stationary

- All other necessary arrangements e.g. getting all relevant forms and paperwork


4. The funeral reception or wake

The funeral reception is often as important as the funeral itself. After the raw emotion of the funeral service, the reception is an opportunity to remember your loved one as they lived. You can opt for an intimate afternoon tea at home or a larger event at a special location or one which can accommodate a large number of guests. Whatever your choice, it can be a hard task to plan a reception whilst grieving and can often be a source of anxiety and conflict for families.


For a more detailed list of tips on planning your funeral reception and to see how you can remember your loved one, visit 


Useful resources for arranging a funeral:



We aim to provide all the support you need, planning every detail so at this difficult time you can draw strength and comfort from the support of friends and family. To find out more about funeral reception planning please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Your White Room on 0208 360 1861

Before arranging a funeral, there are three things that need to be done immediately. Everything else - from sourcing the will, to sorting the estate and affairs - can be left till after the funeral has taken place.

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