Funerals without a funeral director

Funerals without a funeral director


When arranging a funeral most people choose to use a funeral director, but some people see "do it yourself" funerals as more personal and less expensive. This page aims to give simple advice and basic guidance on arranging a funeral without a funeral director.

Death at home

If you think that someone has died, call the doctor or ring for an ambulance (999). If the death was expected, and the doctor had recently seen the deceased, call them. The doctor will then issue a medical certificate, which will show the cause of death. This is free of charge. If the deceased is to be cremated, let the doctor know, as they will have to contact a second doctor to also confirm the cause of death.

Both doctors will then have to complete cremation certificates; a charge is made for this.

Death in hospital

If the deceased died in hospital, the hospital staff will contact the next of kin. The deceased will be kept in the hospital mortuary until collection of the body has been arranged.

The staff at the hospital will advise on the collection of the deceased's personal belongings and other formalities.

The funeral arrangements

Do not make any funeral arrangements until you are sure that the death does not have to be reported to the coroner. If the coroner is involved, it may affect the date when the funeral can take place. Find out if there is a Will, as this may give specific requests for arranging the funeral.

Remember that if you arrange a funeral you are responsible for paying the bill. It is a good idea therefore, to check how the funeral will be paid for and whether there will be enough in the deceased's estate to cover the costs.

Once a decision has been made as to whether the funeral will be a burial or cremation, the next step is to contact the cemetery and crematorium office on 01246 345888. Staff there will be able to advise you and reserve a time for the funeral service.

It is important that the funeral arrives at the cemetery or crematorium at the reserved time, as this avoids delaying other funerals. At Chesterfield, we hold services in the chapel at 20-minute intervals. Alternatively, arrangements can be made with your local minister for a church service.

We can give advice on coffin construction. The coffin must have some form of identification on it, stating both the full name and age of the deceased.

The coffin will have to arrive at the cemetery or crematorium in a dignified manner, so you will need to make suitable transport arrangements.

If you wish to use our crematorium chapel, then you can choose to have organ music (the organist will be arranged by the crematorium office). Compact disc players are also available, together with religious hymns. Any requests you make will be considered.

You may also choose to have:

  • a favourite piece of music
  • a member of the family or friend to say a few words
  • an informal ceremony
  • a tape recording of the service
  • no service at all

Whether you decide to have a burial or cremation, the death will have to be registered (please see what to do after a death).

For a cremation, the crematorium office will require the:

  • Registrar's Certificate or Coroner's Order issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths
  • a Preliminary Application Form setting out the funeral arrangements and instructions for the disposal of cremated remains, obtainable from the crematorium office
  • an Application for Cremation, obtainable from the crematorium office
  • medical forms signed by the two doctors who confirmed the cause of death, unless the death has been referred to the coroner

All of the forms above must be received at the crematorium office by 10am on the day before the funeral (this does not include Bank Holidays or weekends). If the forms are not received on time, the funeral will not be allowed to go ahead.

If you prefer a burial, then the cemetery office will require:

  • an interment form signed by the applicant – this can be obtained from the cemetery office
  • the Registrar's Certificate or Coroner's Order issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths

If the grave is an existing one, other documentation will be required. For more information please ask at the office.

All burial forms must be received at the cemetery office 48 hours before the burial taking place (not including Bank Holidays or weekends). This is so we can guarantee the grave will be prepared in time.

Other considerations

  • Who will carry the coffin?
  • Will there be flowers or donations? (Which charity?)
  • Will an order of service be required?
  • Is there to be a press announcement?
  • Will there be an obituary?
  • Will there be a memorial?
  • Will catering arrangements have to be made?

Last updated on 29 April 2021