Losing a loved one is always difficult and the task of organising a funeral on top of grieving is incredibly stressful. Whether you’ve lost someone recently or are trying to plan ahead for whatever reason, you may be wondering what the time frame is like between death and the funeral service.
In this guide, we run down how long it takes to arrange a funeral and the factors that affect this.
How Long Does it Take to Arrange a Funeral?
It’s difficult to answer this question straightforwardly as it depends on each individual set of circumstances. In general, a funeral takes around one to four weeks to plan, but there are many factors that make this highly variable. Some of these are listed below.
Cause of Death
The cause of death significantly impacts the time it takes to organise a funeral. If the person was unwell or of old age and was expecting to pass soon, there is a good chance they and their family had already begun some of the funeral planning processes.
This might include putting money aside to pay for it and establishing what they want their send-off to be like. This saves time for the people organising the funeral after they pass, as there is less guessing involved and some aspects are already taken care of. In these cases, a funeral might take as little as a few days to arrange. Not only are there already plans in place, but the cause of death is likely to be known which reduces the time it takes to register the death.
However, if the death was unexpected, the time frame can increase significantly. A death certificate is needed to release a body for a funeral, but it can only be obtained if the cause of death can be established. A sudden cause of death is more likely to require a coroner’s investigation which may take months.
However, a coroner can issue paperwork to allow a funeral service to take place, but without the body, which may not be suitable. Also, if the wishes of the deceased are unknown, it can be difficult and lengthy for relatives to make decisions, including choosing between burial or cremation.
A funeral director can be contacted before the death certificate has been published to help speed up the funeral planning process. They can arrange for the body to be moved to a funeral home so that it is kept appropriately while the funeral is being organised, and help arrange the plans and finances of the funeral.
However, struggling to find a nearby funeral director or having limited funds to pay for the services associated with death can add to the time period.
Even if it was somewhat expected, deaths can almost never be planned for. The emotional turmoil combined with the tolls of everyday life can extend the time it takes for a funeral to take place. Relatives may need to travel from around the world to attend and time put aside for loved ones to book time off work.
Also, finding a celebrant who is available and suitable can be challenging. Trying to match up to their schedule could put weeks of delays onto the funeral service. The same applies to services such as the venue, crematorium, or graveyard, with the funeral only able to take place when there is a free slot to book. This will depend on how many funeral facilities there are in your area and how flexible you can be with your plans.
At A Gentle Touch Funeral, we want to help make the funeral arrangement process as stress-free as possible.