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Arrange a funeral

You can arrange a funeral once you have registered the death. Most people use a funeral director or you can arrange a funeral yourself.

Coronavirus information

Please be aware that from 12 April there is no change to the number of mourners allowed at funerals.

If you are organising a funeral, please be aware of the arrangements currently in place.

  • Although government guidance states that funeral ceremonies must have no more than 30 people attending, the maximum number of people allowed to attend a funeral at one of our crematoriums or graveside is 15. This limit has been put in place having carried out risk assessments of our venues, to ensure that we can safely accommodate attendees within the venue with social distancing measures and to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19Those attending should be members of the deceased's household, close family members or in their absence a close friend. Gatherings outside of our crematoria buildings during the service are not permitted.
  • If the funeral takes place at a church, depending on the size of the church, more people may attend up to 30. The funeral director should be able to advise you of exact numbers, but it is the responsibility of the organiser to ensure that attendees do not exceed this limit. If the church service is followed by a cremation then only 15 can follow on to the crematorium.
  • You must wear a face covering unless you have a valid medical exemption.
  • Alongside the funeral director, chapel attendant funeral staff, you may ask for a celebrant of your choice to attend.
  • We will provide web casts at a charge to allow family members to watch services provided that they are ordered with your funeral director 48 hours in advance of the service. A download link will be made available for anyone requesting a web cast, but this may take up to 3 weeks to arrive.

When attending funerals, we ask that you and those attending with you:

  • follow advice on social distancing during the service and when travelling to and from the funeral gathering
  • do not attend a funeral if you or they are unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus, have been instructed by NHS test and trace to self-isolate or have tested positive for Covid-19. If you or they are self-isolating and / or displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, you may only attend the funeral of a close family member and you would need to notify the funeral director or those arranging the funeral so arrangements can be made. We would advise that anyone self-isolating and / or displaying symptoms consider paying their respects in alternative ways such as a web cast. We understand and respect if you wish to attend a funeral of a close relative in these circumstances. However, we would be grateful if you would work with your funeral director so that we can minimise the risk of spreading the virus and help keep everyone safe.
  • avoid any direct face-to-face or physical contact, unless you have been living as part of the same household
  • follow national advice on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection before and after the service
  • avoid singing, shouting, chanting or raising your voice due to the associated increase in risk of transmission

As well as following the above guidance, to reduce the risk of infection we ask that you:

  • advise other attendees if there is a clinically vulnerable person attending and to be respectful of the vulnerable person's need to avoid close contact at any point.
  • reiterate the need to stay at home if they are unwell or are self-isolating. If they are displaying symptoms and / or self-isolating and wish to attend the funeral of a close family member, they should notify you and other attendees so arrangements can be made to reduce the risk of spread and to help keep everyone safe.
  • advise people to travel to the venue via the safest route possible, preferably by car by themselves or with someone from their household.
  • ensure that people who are in a clinically vulnerable group do not attend the same ceremony as people who are in household isolation

Choose a funeral director

Funeral directors will manage funeral arrangements for you and give you advice and support.

Choose a funeral director who's a member of either the National Association of Funeral Directors or The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF). These organisations have codes of practice - they must give you a price list when asked.

The funeral director can:

  • make all the necessary funeral service arrangements
  • provide a suitable coffin
  • transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral director's premises
  • care for the deceased prior to the funeral
  • provide a hearse to the nearest crematorium or cemetery
  • arrange for cremation or burial as appropriate

Arrange the funeral yourself

If you don't want to use a funeral director you can arrange the funeral yourself. This is known as a 'personalised' or 'independent' funeral.

It is your right to:

  • organise a funeral without the use of a funeral director
  • as executor (or next of kin) to be given the body by a mortuary, hospital, etc, in order to carry out a funeral without a funeral director
  • obtain a coffin (minimum biodegradable type) via your charter member
  • obtain a personalised or independent funeral leaflet from your charter member describing how to arrange a funeral without a funeral director

You must provide a green certificate or coroner's certificate for burial or cremation.

The information in the individual sections of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management - Bereavement Services will help you make arrangements. You could also get information from The Natural Death Centre. You can find out more about funeral options and pricing for your area at Your Funeral Choice.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees
  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf such as crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quote. You can get quotes from several funeral directors to see what is available within your budget.

Get help paying for a funeral

You could get a Funeral Expenses Payment (also called a Funeral Payment) if you get certain benefits and need help to pay for a funeral you're arranging. See Get help with funeral costs.

Get help paying for a child's funeral

The Children's Funeral Fund for England can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18 or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.

It is not means-tested: what you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get.

The burial or cremation must take place in England.

See Support for child funeral costs (Children's Funeral Fund for England).

Contact us
Bereavement Office
03000 265 609
Our address is:
  • Morrison Busty Depot
  • Regeneration and Local Services
  • Annfield Plain
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH9 7RX
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