Arrange a funeral

When someone dies, you will need to inform a number of people and organisations and complete certain documents by law:

  • Tell the family doctor, if they aren't already aware 
  • If the death is sudden or unexpected, contact the police
  • Contact a funeral director if you intend to use one
  • Get a medical certificate of cause of death, signed by a doctor (if the coroner is involved, they will give you more information about this)
  • Register the death, or register a stillbirth
  • Begin arrangements for the funeral - check the person's will for any special requests 

Find out more about what to do after someone dies (

You should also contact the executor (usually nominated in the person's will) so they can start the process of obtaining probate if necessary. If not, decide who will apply to sort out the person's affairs and contact the probate registry where required. Find out more about wills, probate and inheritance on

Planning a funeral

You can use a funeral director who will organise the collection, removal, embalming and viewing of the body, and provide a coffin, hearse and other vehicles. They will also contact the crematorium, clergy and doctors to ensure that all necessary arrangements are made, as well as the newspaper if you wish to have an obituary notice published. Find a funeral director:

The British Humanist Association can help with non-religious funerals.

Alternatively you can arrange the funeral yourself.

Alternative burials

If you’re planning a private burial, i.e. not in a churchyard or cemetery, you must register your intention to do so. If you’re planning an interment on private land you must:

  • Check the deeds, even if you own the land, to ensure there are no restrictions
  • Check local byelaws
  • Contact environmental health via or 01925 443322 so they can make sure local water supplies won’t be affected
  • Keep a record of the burial with the deeds or other documents relating to the land
  • Remember that your property value may decrease, and any new owners can apply to have the body exhumed and moved elsewhere


If you are using a funeral director, they will arrange this for you. If not, you will need to arrange and provide the following to the crematorium, no later than 10am on the working day before the cremation:

  • A CR1 form - you must fill this in and sign it the presence of someone who knows you
  • The Registrars Certificate for Cremation or Burial (green form) - given to you by the registrar when you registered the death
  • A CR4 form* – you must contact the doctor who certified the death, and they will fill this in and set out the cause of death
  • A CR5 form* – another doctor must examine the body and complete this form to confirm the information given by the doctor in the CR4 form
  • Written instructions – for the service and/or disposal of the cremated remains

*There is a charge for the CR4 and CR5 forms.

If the coroner has been involved, a Coroners Order for Cremation is needed instead of the Registrars Certificate and the CR4 and CR5 forms.

Cremation services at Walton Lea Crematorium take place Monday to Friday between 9.40am and 4.20pm at 40 minute intervals, and should be booked at least two working days in advance.

A full service, approximately 30 minutes long, can take place in the crematorium chapel. If you would like to have a longer service, or expect a large number of people to attend, please contact us to arrange this for a small charge. Alternatively, you can hold part of the service in your own church followed by a short committal ceremony, lasting approximately five minutes, at the crematorium. Or the full service can be held in your own church and the coffin brought for cremation with no further ceremony.

Financial help

You can apply for: 

  • Funeral Payments - if you are arranging the funeral and you received certain benefits
  • Bereavement Allowance - if you are widowed between the age of 45 and State Pension age, and you have no dependent children
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance - if you are widowed under State Pension age and you are pregnant or have dependent children