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How to find out when a funeral is being held

We cover some of the most frequently asked questions about funerals in the UK

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 7 September 2021

5 min read

How to find out when a funeral is being held

Losing a friend or family member is always hard. The death of someone you know is a difficult time for anyone and there will usually be a lot of things to keep track of and organise when this happens.

The main thing to organise will usually be the funeral, but if you’re not directly involved in this process how will you know when it is taking place?

How to find out if someone has died

The first thing that will happen before a funeral is you will find out that the person has died. There are several ways you could find this out:

  • From a close family member of the deceased (e.g. a spouse, sibling or child)
  • From a friend of the person
  • From a death announcement (often found online or in local newspapers)

The timeline between a person’s death and their funeral can vary. In most cases, a funeral will happen around two weeks after the person has died.

If a funeral is longer than two weeks later this will usually be due to factors like:

  • Organisation: If the person has not left funeral plans in place, it could take longer to organise the funeral director, church service, crematorium etc.
  • Availability: It may be that the funeral director is having a particularly busy time, causing a delay in planning
  • Investigations: If a post-mortem or other investigations are needed, the funeral will likely be delayed several weeks at least
  • Difficulties in paying: There can sometimes be issues in funding the funeral, particularly if the deceased doesn’t have a life insurance policy or there are issues processing the claim
  • Religion of the person: Certain religions will have specific processes when it comes to funerals meaning a funeral may be sooner or later than two weeks from the person’s death

You may not be sure how to find out when a funeral is being held. Usually, the person organising the funeral (most often a close relative) will take on the responsibility of letting people know when it is. They may:

  • Put out an announcement online (social media most commonly)
  • Put an announcement in the local paper
  • Tell you face-to-face (if they see you before the funeral)
  • Speak to you via phone call

This question really depends on each individual person. Many people will choose to have pre-paid funeral plans in place, which makes it easier for their loved ones to organise things.

They can just contact the funeral director and with all the plans already set, the funeral could be fully organised within a day or two.

You can check if your loved one had a funeral plan in place by seeing if there is any evidence of having one. This could include:

  • Paperwork
  • Payments (e.g. bank direct debits)
  • Specified in their will or trust forms

If there isn’t a funeral plan in place, it can take a bit longer to work out what the person may have wanted their funeral to be like. There will also sometimes be an issue with cost as well, as funerals can be very expensive.

Legal and General state that in 2022 the average cost of a funeral in the UK was £4,216 with cremation costing around £3,940 and burials costing £5,241.

RECOMMENDATION: It can be helpful to try and have funds put aside in the form of a funeral plan or life insurance policy that will pay out to your loved ones to cover the cost of your funeral when you die.

It may be that you are the person who is organising the funeral following the loss of a loved one.

Organising a funeral is likely to be a very hard experience for you, with a lot of emotions involved. If someone has died, there will be several steps you need to complete (both before and during organising the funeral):

  • You will need to register the death as funeral directors won’t be able to do anything until the death has been registered
  • Choose the funeral director (the person who has died may have already specified their preference to you or have a funeral plan in place)
  • Contact the local council to arrange either a cemetery plot (burial) or crematorium service (cremation)
  • You may also choose to have a religious ceremony and so will need to contact your place of worship (church, mosque etc) to organise this
  • Arrange any other important things such as decorations (e.g. flowers) or a wake for after the service
  • Let people know when the funeral is (often through a public announcement)

Note: For more information about what to do when someone has died, you can visit the Gov.uk website for a helpful step-by-step guide.

A death announcement is a statement that is released to inform the general public that a person has died. This can also be referred to as an obituary (if a longer statement) or a death notice.

A death announcement will usually include:

  • The person’s date and place of birth
  • The date the person died (and where in some cases)
  • Funeral information e.g. date, time and location
  • Any requests e.g. no flowers

What days are funerals held UK?

Although it can be helpful to have a funeral on a weekend (as many people work Monday to Friday), it is possible to have a funeral on any day of the week in the UK.

Are funerals held on Saturdays?

Yes, it is possible to hold a funeral on a Saturday in the UK. It can be easier to have a funeral on a Saturday as it might be easier for people to make it who are unavailable on a weekday e.g. office workers.

Are funerals held on Sundays?

Yes, you will be able to have a funeral on a Sunday in the UK. Some people may even prefer this due to religious beliefs (Christians for example viewing Sunday as a Holy day).

It is more common for people in the UK to be buried on a weekday (Monday to Friday) due to lower costs. There can also be higher demand for weekend days, meaning you may have to wait longer if you choose a Saturday or Sunday.

Resources

Gov.uk – Get help with funeral costs (Funeral Expenses payment)

Citizen’s Advice – Arranging a funeral

Citizen’s Advice – What to do after a death

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