How Long Do I Have To Make Funeral Arrangements?

How Long Do I Have To Make Funeral Arrangements?

Do you need to make funeral arrangements but don’t know where to start? If you’re feeling unsure about what’s meant to happen (and when), you’re not alone. Losing a loved one is a challenge for anyone, and it’s especially difficult if you’ve been left with the responsibility of arranging the memorial service. So it’s normal to have a few questions about how it all works.

One of the most common questions I hear from families is “how long do we have before the funeral needs to be held?”. The answer to this is entirely dependent on you, your family and the wishes of the person who has passed. While there’s no formal rules on how long you should wait before holding a funeral, the amount of time you have to make arrangements will depend on the type of service you want to hold. Here’s some things to consider when making your decision.

 

First steps to make funeral arrangements

Before making detailed funeral arrangements, you’ll need to obtain a death certificate (signed by a doctor or other reputable authority). If the deceased passed in a hospital or nursing home, this will happen automatically. If it occurs in a private residence, the family doctor should be called to issue a Death Certificate.

In cases where the cause of death is unknown (such as suspected suicide, accident or crime), it is necessary to call police before a Death Certificate is issued. When this occurs, an autopsy may need to be carried out. This can mean waiting a bit longer before the body is returned to the family, and a funeral service can be held.

 

Planning a traditional funeral with a viewing

If you’d like to give the opportunity for family and friends to farewell the deceased with a formal viewing (an open casket funeral), arrangements need to be made shortly after the death. Some families opt to hold the funeral and burial as soon as 24 hours after their loved one’s passing. For others, the time between death and the funeral service is around 2-3 days.

With proper refrigeration and care at the funeral home, the body will stay preserved until this point. Any longer, however, and the decomposition process will begin — which means the body will no longer be presentable for an open casket service. Some families choose to have the body embalmed in order to preserve it for longer. But this is a costly option, and due to the chemicals used in the embalming process it may be detrimental to the environment if the body is buried.

Remember that if you’ve got family that need to travel long distances in order to attend the funeral, you’ll probably need to delay the service by a few days to allow them extra time to get there.

 

Planning a closed-casket funeral ceremony

If the funeral you’re holding will be closed-casket, there is no time limit on when the service must be held. Lots of families prefer this option because it gives them time to plan ahead, without feeling as though their decisions are rushed.

A closed-casket ceremony is also popular with those who prefer non-traditional funeral arrangements, such as a ‘celebration of life’. These funerals can take any format, be held at any time and take place in any location you like to reflect the personality of the deceased ― be it in a formal setting or somewhere more casual (such as the sands of their favourite beach with the breaking waves nipping at your feet!).

 

Religious and cultural considerations

We’ve worked with families all over Sydney who come from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Whether we identify as Roman Catholic, Protestant, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Buddhist, Orthodox, Jehovah’s Witness, Hindu or agnostic, one common theme remains ― we all want to pay respect to the beliefs and traditions of the ones we love.

At Lady Anne Funerals, we like to make sure that the unique backgrounds each of our clients come from are reflected in their service. One recent example which comes to mind was a family of Hindu faith who requested a funeral within 24 hours of their loved one passing. Aware that this is a traditional aspect of the Hindu religion, our ladies understood exactly why such a short timeframe was necessary without question, and took care of the details in order to help create a beautiful ceremony the next day.

 

Help with making plans and preparing ahead

At a time when you’re probably feeling very overwhelmed, making funeral arrangements may seem like too much to cope with. However, your funeral director is there to support you through the process and allow you to focus on memorialising, and paying respect to the person you have lost. A funeral director will guide you through each step, such as:

  • requesting, filling out and lodging the necessary legal documents;
  • collecting the body and caring for it until the burial or cremation takes place;
  • preparing the body for the viewing;
  • providing a casket;
  • purchasing a burial plot, vault or cremation service; and,
  • organising a traditional funeral service or non-religious memorial and wake.

 

Myself and the ladies at Lady Anne Funerals know exactly how confusing it can be to to plan a funeral at a time when you’re coping with loss. If you’re unsure about what happens next in planning a funeral, we’ve put together a free Funeral Planning Checklist to help you make decisions along the way.

If you would like personal help in arranging a funeral ― or would simply like to speak to one of our experienced, compassionate ladies for advice ― we are only a phone call away.

We're here to help

Lady Anne Funerals is here to support and assist your family through what can be a difficult time, with a ladies touch. 

We are available to discuss a range of services to support your family, including: 

  • Personalised memorial services
  • Cremation and burial services
  • Religious services catering to all faith's
  • No service, no attendance 

Please get in touch - night or day - via the form or you can call us on the number below.

Phone: 1300 74 00 74

904 Victoria Road, West Ryde 2114

Let's Talk

Some of the families we've helped

“I just wanted to send you our sincerest thanks for everything you and your incredible team did for us in making the most perfect day, celebration and farewell of our beautiful Harper.

I have given a lot of thought to your business and the industry and I think it is perhaps the most important business for families to get it right when it comes to planning a funeral which may be sudden or may be a long time in the making. Either way, when one is faced with the unfortunate situation of needing to arrange a funeral, only then do you realise the importance of getting it right.

We experienced first hand the polar opposites the industry offers. It is not just about the cars, the booklets, the music and all the things that make up the day - its about the service, the care and most importantly it’s about the people.

From our very first conversation we could sense your genuine care to our situation and your attention to detail was obvious - this was very different to the previous conversations we had with others we had been referred to. Those other companies wanted to commence meetings with the paperwork side of things upfront which is a very confronting thing to do just days after losing your loved one - and when one of the others that I am referencing couldn’t even refernece our daughters name as our meeting started - we were horrified of how poor the service of care could be.

This is where you and your team shine. After feeling very lost in our search to secure the perfect funeral director to create the perfect day, my wife all of a sudden recalled you standing out the front of your office each morning watering the surrounding gardens to ensure a beautiful front of house. Well, I can assure you, it is not just the front of house that is beautiful - its the entire package that is beautiful.

Your manner, your direction and your expertise is evident from the get go. Nothing is too hard for you or your amazing team. The personal care made us feel like we were the only funeral you were working with at the time, and that’s exactly how it should be.

The finer detail, such as driving past our house so our daughter could go past our house one last time, then leaving the most beautiful flowers on our doorstep, to bumping into us at the Church because you were just doing your own research to make sure the day was seamless. This combined with your recommendations from every aspect as everything was very foreign to us, you were able to guide us to achieve the most beautiful farewell.

The day itself was simply perfect. Not once did we have a concern. The car was shining, your team dressed beautifully, cold water provided for us, directions for our guests, directions for us. Everyone commented on how amazing the day was and how incredibly your team were. Seamless is the only word I can use. It doesn’t stop here.

Your personal care and guidance then allowed us a more intimate farewell the following day (we are so grateful for for this recommendation and possibly would have missed this special day if you had suggested it was the best idea). Again, you and your team made us feel like you had nowhere else to be, and no one else to help. Just us. The setting was beautiful, the celebrant (that you arrange and recommend) is a delightful, your team make this day even more special than the last.

This is something we never want to go through again but there will be so many others, that like us, have no idea where to start to look for the right funeral director for their own special day. All I can say is that I hope that they appoint Lady Anne Funerals. We learnt a lot quickly and it is again a business many do not ever consider needing but without question one of the most important businesses to select the right person and the right team.

I welcome any of your future potential clients to contact me if they wish to discuss our experience with the amazing Lady Anne team. We thank you for giving our beautiful baby the most incredible farewell that was exactly how we imagined it, you just made it happen.”

photo02_harper
Lee Dowdall
Karen has supported my Mum and me through the most difficult week of our lives as we not only planned a funeral, but interred my Dad to his new home. I will be forever grateful to Karen for her ongoing support, guidance, kindness, empathy and friendship over the last week. Karen has now become part of our extended circle of close family friends.
Daughter of the late Sveta Dordevich
Lady Anne Funerals has the compassion, understanding and empathy that many of the larger funeral homes do not possess. My aunts funeral was dignified and classy everything she deserved. I would highly recommend Lady Anne (and have) as they go above and beyond.
Joanne Marks
I am overwhelmed with the feedback on how beautiful it all was from all who attended. You and the other ladies were wonderful, looked so elegant, and made the day so very special for all who loved Paul.
Barbara Sommerville Enright
Karen and her staff treated us with the utmost respect we could not have been in better hands during this difficult time. My mum had organised her funeral with a prepaid funeral plan which she had purchased from Karen almost ten years ago this also made this upsetting time much easier to deal with and she got all the things that she wished for.
Malcolm Ellis
On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Lady Anne Funerals for a beautiful service yesterday for my aunt Dot. All who attended commented on how lovely the service was & the professionalism of all the staff. Thanks again very much for helping making a sad day one of celebration of Dot’s life.
Judith Neville

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