Bereavement Support and Advice

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.

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.

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.

The Coroner’s Office

If someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly, the Coroner must investigate the cause. This is necessary under law and it not anything to worry about. For example, some medical conditions and diseases, such as those caused by working conditions, must be reported to the Coroner and will usually investigated. If the death occurs in hospital, a doctor from the hospital will notify the Coroner of the death.

In these circumstances you should still contact a funeral director straight away but you should tell them that the death has been referred to the Coroner. If the death is to be investigated by the Coroner, a post mortem examination may be necessary to find out the exact cause of death. The consent of the relatives or carers is not needed for the Coroner to carry out a post mortem.

Address - HM Coroner’s Court 29 Wood Street Barnet EN5 4BE
Ring - 020 8447 7680

Bereavement Support

If you are finding it hard to cope after a lost in your family or friend or require specialised support or counselling you can now self refer for bereavement counselling. Patients need to be 18 or over. 

Ring - Bereavement counselling 0207 263 8884 or 0300 303 0400
Bereavement support from suicide

If your lost one died from suicide and you would like some help with counselling you can ring the national helpline below or visit survivors of bereavement by suicide.

Ring - 0300 111 5065

At times you may need more than practical support and advice. You may want to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience or someone who is outside your family who can offer a sympathetic ear. There are a number of organisations that can offer comfort and support:

Age Concern / UK: 0208801 2444
Child Death Helpline: 0800 282986
Compassionate Friends (bereaved parents): 0845 1232304
Cot Death Helpline: 0808 8026868
Cruse: 08444779400
MacMillan Cancer Support: 0808 8080000
Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Society: 0207 4365881
The Samaritans: 0845 7909090