Questions to ask
It can be difficult to remember everything that you need to ask at a time when you are coping with the loss of a loved one and may be upset and confused, so here are some checklists that may be useful when speaking abouth the funeral with various people, in person or on the phone.
These questions don’t cover everything but you should find them a useful starting point!
Questions to ask the hospital or GP when someone has died
If the person died in hospital it is likely that you will need to see a Hospital Bereavement Officer or staff from the Patient Advisory Liaison Service at the hospital. These may be the first people that you see and they may also return any belongings to you.
If the person died at home, it may be their GP that you see first.
In either case they will give you the Medical Cause of Death Certificate that you will need to take to the Register Office.
If the death has been referred to the Coroner, they will not be able to give you this form, but they will explain what will happen next.
So you need to ask ...
- Where is the register office to register the death?
- When is the register office open and do I need an appointment?
You can find Register Office details and telephone numbers on funeralmap
Questions to ask a funeral director
- What crematoria, cemeteries or natural burial sites are in the area where the funeral could be held? (You can also see these on funeralmap)
- What times are available for the funeral?
- How long can the actual funeral ceremony be?
- Is a longer time available if wanted?
- Are Saturdays or Sundays available (if so , any additional cost)?
- What do they advise on embalming?
- When can the person be viewed and where?
- What types of transport can they offer?
- What choice of coffins are available? (Coffins are now available in traditional wooden styles, with photographs and pictures coating them, in wicker, bamboo, wool, cardboard, willow and wood pulp)
- Which of the following services can they provide?
- Newspaper obituary
- Odering flowers for the funeral
- Orders of ceremony for the funeral
- Can they organise any funeral donations?
- What are the choices for what happens to the flowers after the funeral?
- Can they recommend and give details of ministers or celebrants who could conduct the funeral?
- Can family members/friends carry the coffin? If so will they receive instruction on the day?
- What are the costs of the funeral and how are they broken down?
- Can they collect the ashes for you afterwards?
Questions to ask a Minister or Celebrant about the funeral ceremony
- Ask a Celebrant if they belong to any 'professional association'.
- Can they visit you at home?
- Roughly how long will the interview take?
- Will they send you what they have written for you to check it beforehand?
- How can any changes be made to the ceremony?
- Will they be able to advise on music and poetry?
- Are they paid by the funeral director or directly?
Questions to ask Crematorium, Cemetery or Natural Burial Site staff about the funeral
- Is public transport available?
- When can the ashes be collected?
- What facilities are there for scattering or burying ashes at the crematorium?
- Is there a book of remembrance?
- When are the grounds open?
Natural burial sites/Cemeteries
- What is the future of the site in terms of planned tree planting etc?
- What Is the environmental policy for the site?
- Does the site only accept coffins that are biodegradable?
- What are the terms of purchase for the burial plot?
- Is there a building of any sort for a funeral ceremony to be held?
- Is the site accessible at all times? If not when is it open?
- Is it possible to come and see the funeral location beforehand, if so, can someone meet you there?
- Is there plenty of car parking for mourners?
- How long can the funeral ceremony last?