Arranging the funeral intro

Information to help with carrying out the required tasks and collecting all the relevant documents before you start arranging the funeral. Find out how to register a death.

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher

Following the death of a loved one, arranging a funeral can add more stress to this already difficult time. 

A funeral can either be by burial or cremation. You can organise it with or without the help of a funeral director and personalise it as much as you want. In some cases, the deceased may have planned their own funeral in advance. It may be beneficial to check the details of the deceased person’s will first.

What do you need to do?

  • Make sure the death does not have to be reported to the coroner, as this could affect the date when the funeral can be held. Please see here for more information on the coroner’s service. 
  • Take the wishes of the deceased into account. Remember to check the will or other written instructions for special wishes about their funeral, or what should happen to their body. If there are no clear wishes, it is generally the executor or closest relative who decides on a cremation or burial. 
  • Check if the deceased had an organ donor card or a request for their body to be given for medical research. 
  • Clarify whether the deceased paid into a funeral plan to cover some or all of the costs. 
  • If there is no will or instructions, the next of kin should decide what to do. 
  • If you arrange the funeral you are responsible for paying the bill, so check where the money will come from and whether it will be enough first. Most funeral directors will wait until probate has been granted or funds are released from the deceased person’s bank account. Please see here for more information on financial help. 

Know your rights under the law

The main legal requirements in England and Wales are: 

  • The death has to be certified by a doctor or coroner. 
  • The death is registered with a registrar of births, deaths and marriages. 
  • The body should either be cremated or buried. 
  • There is no legal requirement to have any kind of funeral ceremony at all.  

Documents you will need

The correct documentation will be given to you when the death is registered. In order to make the funeral arrangements, the funeral director will need:

  • The full name of the person who has died. 
  • Their full address. 
  • Their date of birth. 
  • Details of where and when they died. 
  • Confirmation of whether the person who has died had any implants fitted, e.g. a pacemaker. 

Things to remember

When arranging the funeral, remember you: 

  • Can decide for yourself what form any ceremony should take. 
  • Do not have to use a funeral director, though the majority of people do as they will help you through the process and try to follow your wishes at all times.
  • Can choose a religious, non-religious or civil ceremony. 
  • Do not have to use a clergyman unless you and your family want a religious service. 
  • Can choose a service that reflects any religious beliefs or multi-cultural traditions. 
  • Do not have to hold the funeral ceremony in a licensed building - for example, it can be held in your home. 
  • Do not have to choose a service that takes place in a crematorium or place of worship - you could have a service in a town hall or even in a local social club if you are granted permission.  


When can burials take place? 
Burials (otherwise known as interments) in the council cemeteries may take place Monday to Friday between 9.30am - 3pm and Saturdays between 9.30am - 12pm. 

What is required before a burial can take place?

You will need to complete a notice of interment form and provide the registration certificate for cremation or burial, or the coroner’s order for burial.

If the family already has the exclusive right of burial in a grave, they should provide the appropriate details. If available, they should also provide the grave deed to the local cemetery office

There is a notice of three working days before the service to allow sufficient time to prepare the grave.

Muslim burials

Northumberland County Council, in partnership with Ponteland Town Council, provides a dedicated Muslim burial area in Prestwick Cemetery. This section has been developed with local Muslim community representatives, is orientated appropriately with Mecca and is only available for use by people of Muslim faith.

We offer a same-day burial service Monday to Friday, provided we are contacted before 10am. For same day bookings, we will call back by 11am to say what time the burial can go ahead. If we are contacted after 10am, we will take a booking for the next working day.

For further details of this service, please contact:

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher