How Long After Death is a Funeral?

Mar 22, 2023

The length of time between death and a funeral can vary according to several factors. If the death was expected then the paperwork should be available quickly. However, if the deceased’s death was unexpected, or they had not been seen by a doctor for some time, then an autopsy may be required before the body is released for burial. If you are in this situation, we can help you with the provisional planning whilst we are waiting for the body to be released. We will always work with families to ensure that the funeral can take place when you wish. Whether you want to have it quickly, before a certain date, such as Christmas, or a birthday, or need to have it a certain period of time after the death due to religious reasons, we will always endeavour to do so.

Average Time Between Death and the Funeral

On average a funeral is held around one or two weeks after the death, however, depending on the circumstances, funerals can be arranged both sooner, and later than this period. This is based on the assumption that there were no complications surrounding the death. If there are any issues, then it may take longer for the funeral to take place, It is important to remember that while certain times of the year can be busier than others, we will always do our best to accommodate all funeral requests.

Common Days and Times for a Funeral

In general, funerals are held during the week. Popular times of day are late morning or early afternoon, allowing people time to travel to the burial or cremation. A funeral can be held on the weekends by prior arrangement, though a weekend funeral may be more expensive.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Date

If you are planning a funeral, there are certain factors to bear in mind when choosing a date for a funeral. The quicker you arrange the funeral, the less notice you will give to people, so more people may be unable to attend. Certain days can be more difficult than others, depending on people’s work schedules. Weekends may be easier for some people, but this may be a more expensive option. Avoiding certain dates such as birthdays or anniversaries is important, as you don’t want to make this day harder for people than it already is. We will always discuss the best timing for the funeral with you, and advise you when you are choosing a date.

Factors That Affect the Funeral Timing

Much of the timing of a funeral depends upon how expected the death was. If your loved one was ill, you may have already discussed funeral plans and made preliminary arrangements. This can make it much quicker to arrange the funeral once the time comes. In this situation, the death will have been expected, and the death certificate will be quickly obtained. If the death was unexpected, then it may take longer for the death certificate to be approved. In some cases, an autopsy will be needed to check the cause of death, and this can take time. Until you have a death certificate you cannot hold a funeral.

Timeline for Funeral Arrangements

You can start making initial plans straight after the death, and indeed some people find planning the funeral a comfort during this time. You cannot hold a funeral, burial, or cremation without registering the death. Not only that, but you will need to make an appointment at the registry office to register the death, once the death certificate has been released and obtain the green form. You can give the details of your funeral directors to the registry office so that the body can be taken into their care. After this paperwork is in place, then the funeral can go ahead. In general, the date isn’t set till the green form has been obtained from the registry office, however, you may be able to pencil in your preferred date. Once the paperwork is in place, then the date can be confirmed and the details can be finalised.

Planning a Funeral

Planning a funeral service can be stressful and difficult. At NC Funeral Directors we are here with you throughout the process, so that you don’t have to cope alone. We can offer advice and support, make suggestions or recommendations, we have a network of reliable professionals to work with to bring you everything you need in place for the funeral of your loved one. We can help with your funeral plans, the decisions and the challenges that planning a funeral brings with it.

Coping with Grief

Grief is a natural emotion, and everyone experiences it differently. There is no right way to grieve, and there is no timeline. If you’re struggling to cope with grief, then please seek professional support, there are many excellent services that will help you during this difficult time. Everyone processes their emotions differently, some people feel the need to keep busy, whilst others find it difficult to do anything. We support families during this time with kindness and empathy. Some people can be extremely emotional while they are grieving, which can be challenging for those around them. If you are supporting someone who is coping with grief, make sure that you have people to help you.

Final Thoughts

It is stressful to arrange a funeral, and it takes time and effort. At NC Funeral Directors, we are here to help you no matter what type of funeral you wish for. Whether you want a funeral quickly, or slowly, a bright and vibrant funeral or a traditional burial, we are here for you. We will spend time with you to understand exactly what you want from your funeral, provide advice and support, and answer any questions that you may have regarding the funeral of your loved one. Though this can be a lonely time, you don’t have to do it alone, the team at NC Funeral Directors are here to help you every step of the way.


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Contact us at NC Funeral Directors to discuss your burial service arrangements.