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General arrangements

There is no legal requirement to use the services of a funeral director but many families find the prospect of organising a funeral entirely without support from an undertaker very daunting, not least from a practical point of view. A middle road is to find a funeral director who will provide as much or as little help as you require.

A funeral director typically organises the funeral by collecting and moving the body, arranging embalming, (if required), viewing of the deceased, providing a coffin, hearse and other elements. Carrying out these services relieves the bereaved from doing what they may feel are unpleasant and difficult tasks. Ultimately, the funeral director must operate commercially and in charging for his or her services, funerals can be expensive.

Some people do not wish to use a funeral director. This can be for a wide variety of reasons.  It is your right to make this decision without giving a reason.

Almost all aspects of a funeral are relatively straight forward in themselves, the difficulties arise because of the emotional strain of being bereaved, the pressure of time, the lack of experience of looking after the body of someone who has died and a lack of knowledge about the paperwork required. The entire funeral can be handled by the bereaved family. Watford Borough Council cemetery service are able to assist in facilitating this.


Legal requirements

You are required to get a death certificate from the doctor at the GP surgery or hospital. You must register the death in the district where death occurs.

Transporting the deceased

The person arranging the funeral must arrange transport for the deceased to the cemetery in a suitable vehicle. They must also arrange for bearers.


These must be people who are capable of carrying the deceased in the chosen container to and from the vehicle and into a chapel or to the grave. They will also need to lower the deceased into the grave if burial is chosen, we will provide lowering straps for this.


If you think you are able to arrange a funeral yourself, please consider the points below and contact the cemetery office for advice.

• The body must be suitably transported to the cemetery in a container, clearly identifying the name and age of the deceased. The container most commonly used is a coffin.

• If you plan to make your own container, use the smallest size possible to accommodate the deceased but strong enough to hold the weight.

For additional information get a copy of The Natural Death Handbook a complete manual for anyone considering caring for their dead and organising a funeral without the services of a funeral director.

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