Bereavement Advice

National Bereavement Service

Most people will have to take responsibility for all the practical arrangements after a death, at least once in their lives. For others, it can be many more times. In any circumstance, loss is a difficult and often distressing time.

The National Bereavement Service offers practical and emotional support to guide you through what needs to be done. We can introduce the bereaved to trusted partner organisations in both private and charitable sectors, as well as provide information on the statutory requirements following loss, such as the registration of death and probate.

Telephone: 0800 0246 121


a vase filled with flowers sitting on top of a wooden table

In Times of Bereavement

In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days:

  • Get a medical certificate from your GP or hospital Doctor (this is necessary to register the death)
  • Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.
  • Make the necessary funeral arrangements.

Register the death

If the death has been reported to the coroner (or Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) they must give permission before registering the death.

You can register the death if you are a relative, a witness to the death, a hospital administrator or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.

You can use the ‘Register a Death’ page on the website that will guide you through the process. This will also explain the registration process for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Arrange the funeral

The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. Most people use a funeral director, although you can arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral directors

Choose a funeral director who’s a member of one of the following:

National Association of Funeral Directors

National Federation of Funeral Directors

Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors

These organisations have codes of practice - they must give you a price list when asked. Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association can also help with non-religious funerals. You can also contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:wefuneral director fees

  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors normally list all these costs in their quotes.


St Clare Hospice Bereavement Support Group

We each experience grief and bereavement in our own way. St Clare Hospice is there for everyone who has experienced the loss of someone close, offering tailored, compassionate support that suits you. They also offer a selection of community services available to every bereaved person in our local area - whether their loss was recent or a long time ago.

The Bereavement Support Helpline operates from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. The number to call is 01279 967670It is free to call, though charges may apply in line with your standard network rate.

By calling the St Clare Bereavement Support Helpline, you will have access to a range of supportive services:

  • A listening ear, and emotional support from our trained St Clare staff and volunteers
  • Information and guidance on what to do after a death (things like registering a death, closing accounts, planning and funeral, and other practical arrangements and considerations)
  • Sign-posting to other St Clare services that you can access, as well as resources in your local community that could benefit you