Receiving the news that a loved one has passed is something that none of us can prepare for.

Whether this comes as a shock or after a long illness, these life events can often leave us feeling numb and bewildered. If the responsibility for making arrangements falls on your shoulders, it then becomes the challenge of managing these strong emotions along with planning the service or executing a will. At Wallace Stuart, we believe that a helping hand and friendly face throughout this process can go miles. That is why we are here to help you make those final arrangements.

How to make funeral arrangements

The manner in which someone dies will have an impact on the information and support you are given when planning the funeral.

At hospital

If they pass away in a hospital, the hospital staff will likely be able to provide you with information on what happens next. This generally comes in the form of a booklet which will provide the appointment booking information for the hospital Bereavement Officer.

These professionals are there to guide you through the next steps. They will help you to collate the necessary paperwork from the hospital to register the death, return any private belongings and provide guidance when it comes to choosing a funeral director.

At home

If a person passes away as home expectedly, you will need to make contact with the deceased’s GP. They will need to attend the house and verify the death before a funeral director is called in to remove the deceased from their care. Once verified, you can then make contact with a chosen funeral director.

Please know that there is no pressure on you to start making funeral arrangements straight away. Grief is a powerful emotion and needs to be processed in a way that feels right for you. Giving yourself time to rest, come to terms with what has happened and discuss with your family, will mean you approach this task with a clearer head.


If someone passes away unexpectedly, you need to first call 999. It is likely, in this situation, that the Coroner will ask one of their own funeral directors to attend the scene. They will take the deceased to the nearest hospital mortuary or their own medical facilities. You can then contact us to let us know you would like us to be your funeral directors.
Please note: The Coroners funeral directors are not allowed to leave their business cards nor advertising with you at this time.

Throughout the next few days, your first point of call will be the Coroner’s appointed officer. They will guide you and give advice when you need to appoint a funeral director. They will also be able to keep you informed as to when the deceased will be released by the Coroner for the funeral to take place. Please know, you are under no obligation to use the funeral director who first attends the scene.

This is a personal choice that should be made by the deceased’s family and one that you have full control over.

Take your time making final arrangements

Planning a funeral is an emotional and overwhelming time. With so many appointments to attend and paperwork to complete, it can be a challenging time for anyone. Take your time. There is no rush to make decisions. Rely on friends and family to help you make these important choices.

Choosing a funeral director

What’s in a name? Finding a funeral director that is compassionate, sympathetic and supportive of your needs could not be more important. One of the best ways to find someone suitable is to ask for recommendations from friends and family. Some questions to ask before making your decision include:

  • Are they independent or a branch of a major chain? Many companies have been taken over by Co-op or Dignity but still maintain the original company name above the door.
  • Do they require a deposit?
  • Are their prices flexible or do they offer more affordable alternatives?
  • Who will be responsible for looking after your loved one? Some companies say they have female staff but all practical care is still provided by male staff – make sure you ask
  • Where will your loved one be resting?
  • Do they have a chapel of rest?
  • Can they provide an estimate in writing, via email or post?

Make sure you feel entirely comfortable with the funeral director you choose before agreeing to anything. You should be confident that this individual can help you to create a loving, comforting and appropriate send-off for the one you love. Our vision of how funeral care should be offered has tried to be imitated by others but often falls short – our testimonials speak for themselves and we are very proud of the reputation we have built.

Click below to download a printable and more comprehensive list of questions to ask a funeral director when making arrangements (provided by The Good Funeral Guide).