In Times of Bereavement

In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days;

  • Get a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor (this is necessary to register the death)
  • Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.
  • Make the necessary funeral arrangements.

Register the death

If the death has been reported to the coroner (or Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) they must give permission before registering the death.

You can register the death if you are a relative, a witness to the death, a hospital administrator or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.

You can use the ‘Register a Death’ page on the website that will guide you through the process. This will also explain the registration process for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Arrange the funeral

The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. Most people use a funeral director, though you can arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral directors

Choose a funeral director who’s a member of one of the following:

These organisations have codes of practice – they must give you a price list when asked.

Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association can also help with non-religious funerals.

Arranging the funeral yourself

Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees
  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quotes.

How do I get bereavement counselling?

We’ve listed different ways that you may be able to access bereavement counselling. What’s available can vary depending on where you live and what services are available in your area.

Some services might not offer counselling – they may offer general emotional support or different types of pscyhotherapy. Check with them if you’re not sure. 

Speak to your GP

If you think you might need professional grief counselling, speak to your GP. They may be able to refer you for counselling. They may also be able to give you information about local counselling services and support groups.

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care and Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland offer bereavement support sessions with trained volunteers. You can find your local branch through their websites.

Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder offers online bereavement support. This includes six sessions of online counselling with a professional, and an online bereavement community. You can find out more about the support offered on their website.

Through a hospice

Many hospices, including Marie Curie Hospices, have bereavement support services for families.

This is usually available for close family and friends of people who have received hospice care. How much support a hospice is able to give will depend on their resources.

Through work

If you’re employed, you may want to check if your organisation has an employee assistance programme. These often entitle employees to a set number of free counselling sessions. Ask your manager or human resources department for information.

Pay for a counsellor

You can also find a counsellor privately and pay for sessions. To find registered psychotherapists and counsellors in your area, search theBritish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy online directory. Costs will vary. Many therapists have their own websites explaining how they work and what to expect.


Leicestershire & Rutland offers information and advice to older people and their carers.

Phone: 0116 299 2233

National helpline: 0800 009966



Offer counselling, befriending services, disease specific support groups and complimentary therapies to anyone affected by cancer within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. They also run a solicitor’s surgery if you are struggling with any legal issues or would like some advice. You may refer yourself, a friend or ask your GP to make a referral.

Phone: 0116 223 0055



Helps people to find a private counsellor.



Acts as a listening service for those or someone they know who has been affected by a death. They provide information on practical and financial matters and details of groups available.

0116 288 4119



Offers counselling for parents and carers of children who have died as well as offering counselling to children who have lost a parent. Their website also gives information relating to needs which may be specific to bereaved children and teenagers.

Phone: 0116 254 4341



Offers a free and confidential service, including bereavement support for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Phone: 0116 255 9995


Is a charity that aims to provide affordable, high quality, professional counselling to the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland. 

Phone: 0116 255 8801



Offer a counselling service. Please ask your GP to refer you to the service. Resources can also be found on the LOROS website.



Offers an online support community.



Are available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.

Phone: 0116 270 0007

National helpline: 08457 909090



Offers free bereavement counselling support to women with special emphasis on minority ethnic communities. They have multi-lingual staff. 

Phone: 0116 262 5876 (to book a confidential counselling session)

Phone: 0116 251 4747 (for general enquiries)


Is an online peer support forum where people affected by terminal illness or bereavement can exchange messages, share their feelings and support each other.