Following a death

The aftermath of a death can be a difficult and confusing time for people who are making necessary arrangements, and there are several statutory and non-statutory forms to be completed.

The responsibility for these arrangements normally falls to the Executor, or the nearest surviving relative. They may wish to approach a professional funeral director to undertake some of the various tasks on their behalf. Alternatively, they can contact our Bereavement Services Team for information on the range of funeral services we provide.

We hope the following information gives you a useful oversight of some of the processes involved.

  • What to do following a death?

    The government’s Gov.uk website contains suitable advice and information to assist you following the death of a loved one:

  • Who to contact following a death?

    Following a person’s death, various parties need to be informed. It’s important that some are notified immediately whilst others can be notified a little later. Read full details here.

  • How do I register a death?

    It is necessary to register the death. A funeral director will assist with this or families can do this themselves. Find out more on the GOV.UK website, register a death page.

    A death must be registered in the register office for the area/ region/ district where it occurred.

    The Register Office for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire is located at:

    Castle Lodge
    Shire Hall
    Castle Hill
    Cambridge
    CB3 OAP

    Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm – by appointment only.

    Online appointments can be made via Cambridgeshire County Council’s Registration Booking System.

    Call 01223 717401
    Email cambridgero@cambridgeshire.gov.uk to make an appointment

  • How do I find a funeral director?

    The choice of funeral director is important. You should feel comfortable and confident with them. They may be known to you personally, may be recommended by a friend, your GP or religious adviser, or may just have a good reputation in your area.

    Although we are not permitted to recommend a funeral director, we can point you to these websites which may assist you:

    All funeral directors have a code of practice and should give you an estimate of costs, both their own and the fees they will pay on your behalf and add to your final bill. You can ask for this estimate in advance and it’s a good idea to ask different firms for a quote so that you can compare costs.

    Your funeral director can make all the arrangements for the funeral, burial or cremation, religious or secular service. They can also advise on all the procedures and documents needed to register the death.

  • Can I have a religious funeral?

    Funeral arrangements can differ depending on the faith of the deceased:

    Christian: Usually, a funeral director will be appointed to help with funeral arrangements.

    Islamic communities usually appoint one person to be responsible for making funeral arrangements. It will be his or her job to advise on the rules and select a suitable funeral director.

    Hinduism has many variations of rites, which depend on their form of Hinduism. The Asian Funeral Service can give advice on and arrange Hindu funerals.

    Jewish funerals are usually arranged by a dedicated Jewish Funeral Agency, or the local community may have a contract with a Gentile funeral service, which will be carried out under strict rabbinical control. The Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service offers support.

    Unique faiths: if their faith is different to your own, you should contact the equivalent of the local priest of the denomination to find out what needs to be done.

  • Can I have a non-religious funeral?

    You don’t have to have a religious ceremony – or any kind of ceremony – at a funeral. Some people believe that religion isn’t important, or have made a decision to live their lives without it. They may prefer a ‘humanist’ ceremony.

    This type of ceremony is not intended to oppose a religious funeral, but to provide a dignified and respectful celebration of the life of the deceased.

    At this type of funeral, the services of an ‘officiant’ – a minister or celebrant – are commonly used. They will conduct the proceedings which can involve readings of appropriate prose, playing of appropriate music and tributes said by attendees or the officiant.

    The British Humanist Association offer advice on all aspects of humanist ceremonies, as well as a booklet: ‘Funerals Without God: A practical guide to non-religious funerals’, which you can buy from them.

    ‘Celebrants’ are trained professionals who can officiate at funerals, weddings, naming ceremonies or any other rite of passage. For more information on celebrancy visit The Institute of Civil Funerals.

  • Do I have to have a ceremony?

    If you don’t want a ceremony, members of the family or close friends can attend the committal, which can be in silence or with your choice of music.