How Long Does it Take to Arrange a Funeral?

Blogs & Articles Article How Long Does it Take to Arrange a Funeral?
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Arranging a funeral service so soon after a loved one has passed can be a distressing time for all involved, but the timescale may not be as long as first thought.

How long after death is a funeral?

A funeral service normally takes 1 to 2 weeks (7 to 14 days) to arrange and organise. Getting all the relevant paperwork filed correctly, gathering family and friends together in one place at short notice and making choices about the service are some of the factors that can increase this timescale.

In this guide, we outline when you can begin arranging a funeral and some things to consider that may impact the 1 to 2 week timescale.

Registering a death

Once the cause of death has been confirmed by a GP or through a Coroner’s Inquest, you must register the death within five days if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and within eight days if you are in Scotland.

To register a death, you will need to contact a registry office – you will have to contact the registry office for the place where the person died, rather than for where they lived – a funeral director cannot register a death.

Once the death has been registered, you will receive:

  • a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) – this gives permission for burial or an application for cremation
  • a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) – you may need to fill this in if the person was getting a State Pension or benefits

Find out more information on registering a death.

Arranging a Funeral

Making funeral arrangements

Whilst you wait for an appointment at the registrar office or for your documents to come through (burial or cremation cannot actually go ahead until you have the death certificate), you can start thinking and planning about the funeral service you’d like to create. 

You may want to start contacting local funeral directors within a few days, as it can take a few phone calls or meetings to find the undertaker who feels right for you and your family’s needs. They’ll be happy to start planning the funeral with you and guiding you through the process – see our guide on what funeral directors do.

What can impact the funeral arrangement timescale?

Whilst 7 to 14 days is a reasonable timescale for a funeral to be arranged, there are some factors to consider when organising the service as these can impact this period of time.

Investigations into the death

A coroner in England is an official who investigates certain deaths in order to establish the cause – this may be because the circumstances were suspicious or the death was sudden. This process is called an inquest.

There may be a wait for a cremation or burial service date

Your chosen local crematorium, place of worship or cemetery may not be available immediately and you may need to wait for a suitable time slot. The waiting time can be up to 3 weeks, and varies by location, depending on how many crematoriums there are. Public holidays can also cause delays in arranging a funeral.

Family and friends may need time to travel

It can take several days for relatives and friends who want to come and pay their respects to make arrangements to travel from around the country or overseas. The funeral service itself can vary in length depending on what type of funeral you choose to go ahead with.

How to choose a funeral director?

Finding the right funeral director in your area has never been easier – the emergence of technologies and local directories gives families the information they need when choosing an undertaker.

Searching online for terms such as ‘funeral director near me’ can help you collate a list of potential candidates and from there, you can look around for a variety of key points and ask further questions if needed.

Funeral Services

Over 100 Testimonials and Reviews

Recently I was sadly in need of the services of A.H.Freemantle. I cannot find words to thank James and his staff enough. They guided and comforted me through the whole sad process. James's quiet steady professionalism both before, and during the ceremony made a dreadful experience much much easier to endure..highly recommended to anyone facing this inevitable ordeal. Thank you all.

Robert Leake

Having had experience with this company earlier in the year they were the natural choice when my wife died. Clair was absolutely brilliant from the initial enquiry and compassionately and clearly explained the whole process. Nothing was too much trouble and the whole range of options clearly laid out and explained. We really didn’t have to do anything ourselves. I would gladly recommend when the the time comes to anyone else.


James handled the funerals of both my mother and father, and in both cases everything went very smoothly and was done with great dignity. We could not have asked for more.

Peter Allday

We sincerely thank the staff and in particular Sarah and James at Freemantle's Titchfield for their understanding and kindness in organising and conducting the recent funeral of our son John. The whole process was guided with much empathy on such sad occasion.

Michael Coward

Although my review is simplistic it comes from the heart. Without A H Freemantle's Park Gate & Titchfield offices I could never have got through what was and always will be my darkest hour. Thank you for looking after my beautiful mother, Gwen. Special thanks to Jane and Dawn. And thank you Jane for recommending the wonderful Rev. Boggust. My brothers, sister, and myself will always remember the kindness, respect, and compassion shown by all at A H Freemantle.

Eleanor Campbell-Loveday

James was incredibly understanding and dealt with a difficult situation with care and attention. Nothing was too much trouble.

Tim Quinlan

We sincerly thank the staff and in particular Sarah and James at Freemantle's Titchfield for their understanding and kindness in organising and conducting the recent funeral of our son John. The whole process was guided with much empathy on such sad occasion.

Michael Coward

James and his team were extremely kind, thoughtful ad professional. As a family we appreciated the help and advice that was given.


James and the team really are who you need by your side when you are facing your most challenging times in life. I've been in need of the services of A H Freemantle twice in a year having lost both my mother and father. Honestly I couldn't recommend them enough, at such a challenging time they really did do everything to make it as bearable as possible. I can not recommend James and the team enough, they were truly incredible from start to finish.


I would like to thank all the staff at the Eastleigh branch of helping me through a very difficult time when my mother passed away recently. All the staff were so helpful, considerate and compassionate, Clair in the office was always helpful and kind and helped me through the whole process of arranging a funeral.

Robert Duma

James and the team at A H Freemantle did the most fantastic job for us when my brother died suddenly and unexpectedly. They were very clear about the things I had to make a decision on - not there and then but in my own time - but they also completely took over and seamlessly managed all those other things that have to be booked and paid for. They also gave me great advice about how to handle the things I needed to handle. They contributed hugely to giving my brother the send off that he deserved and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend A H Freemantle to anyone else when that time comes and you need a funeral director.

Kevin Briscoe

Excellent personable service. Caring and sensitive - Sarah always seemed to be available no matter what time. The attention to detail and everything was brilliant. We all felt very happy with the choice that we had made for our Mum's funeral and burial that we did not hesitate to use again for our Dad. Our Mum and Dad had such lovely "send offs" managed so well by A.H. Freemantles.

Susan Grace

We as a family would like to thank James and everyone at Freemantle’s Titchfield for all their help and guidance, James you made us feel so relaxed and calm, the day went without a hitch, we laughed we cried, our mum would of approved of everything, also a very big thank you to Martin the celebrant, you were all amazing thank you so much.

Sarah Bartlett

I’ve never lost a parent and didn’t have a clue what I should be doing - James made us feel very relaxed, made sure that our mum would be well looked after with him which gave us comfort. The celebrant he chose was absolutely brilliant and really made the whole experience extremely personal to us. James even sourced out a Leopard print coffin for us - the first in 22 years apparently! Would really recommend

Kerris Smith

I would like to thank both James and Jane for the courtesy and respect shown to me and my family. They appreciated the tragic circumstances and were able to guide us gently through the Church service and subsequent committal at Wessex. You were as a company stars that day, showing us the way.

Brian Stoker

I can’t praise Claire at the Botley branch enough, who looked after my husband’s funeral. She was very professional, but more than that she was kind, caring, and nothing was too much trouble. Going above and beyond, which made this very difficult time so much more bearable for my family and I.

Nicola Abbott

Extremely kind & considerate. Very professional. I felt supported throughout a very difficult process. Jane was fantastic, sensitive and caring and made me feel that she truly understood and cared about us all.

Jill Spence

From my first phone call to the completion of the funeral the staff at A H Freemantle gave outstanding service. They were professional and compassionate, taking time to listen to our requests and discuss the options. They made a difficult time easier and I knew I could trust them absolutely with the arrangements.


Freemantles handled the funeral for my son - firstly they had to collect him from Leicester where his post mortem took place. From the start they were so caring and attentive to our distress as it was a sudden death. Kate the lady we dealt with was absolutely wonderful. She dealt with every detail with so much sympathy and feeling. The Celebrant they appointed was also terrific and dealt with the ceremony exactly as we wanted. If you find yourself losing a loved one I would highly recommend Freemantles. They totally helped make a nightmare of losing your child bearable.

Helen Sallis

Sarah really put our family at ease and was very helpful. Made a very difficult thing to do a lot easier. Would highly recommend their services.

Verity Maddocks

Sarah's kindness, genuine warmth, understanding of the personal character of how people say goodbye to a loved one, and inclusive approach, together with her knowledge and professionalism made me feel 'held' throughout the process of organising and being at my mum's funeral. It made such a difference at a difficult time. Highly recommend this company to anyone.


Jane and her colleagues went above and beyond to support and guide my family and I through the most traumatic time. From the moment of instruction to the service itself, I received true professionalism coupled with empathy. Every detail was discussed, every request was met, with kindness and thought. Thank you.

Nicky Goga

Exemplary and highly professional service throughout, with every effort made to accommodate the wishes of the family. Would highly recommend to anyone faced with having to arrange a funeral.

Robert Greaves