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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

If you are organising a funeral, please be aware there are still changes in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

There is no longer a limit on the number of mourners who can attend a funeral but due to the capacity at our buildings we cannot accept more than 100. Doors and windows will be left open for ventilation and we ask that you do not congregate in hallways and foyers.

We are still keeping services to a minimum of 20 and 30 minutes to ensure there is time to clean between services.

  • Our Book of Remembrance buildings at Mountsett and Durham crematoria are open in line with office hours at those premises.
  • We are encouraging mourners to wear face coverings unless exempt.
  • We will continue to 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 three weeks to arrive.
  • 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.

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:
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ