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At what is an extremely sad and stressful time, no one wants to arrange a funeral. This section will help you understand what is involved to make the process easier and a bit less daunting.

Post Mortem

A post mortem is the examination of the body after death in order to determine the cause of death. Post mortems are carried out by pathologists, and provide useful information about how, when and why someone died. If a family member has died and a post mortem is to be conducted, hospital bereavement officers can offer you support and advice, and can act as the main point of contact between you and the staff carrying out the post mortem. 

Investigating sudden deaths

When someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly the law says there must be an investigation into what happened. This is likely to happen if drugs are involved in your friend or relative’s death. It may not be the case for an alcohol-related death following a long illness. The investigation may involve a post-mortem (doctor’s examination of the body) and an inquest (public court hearing to find out who died, how and why). There is likely to be a delay before you can hold the funeral.

Funeral arrangements

No one wants to arrange a funeral at what is already a difficult time, but understanding what is involved and how to deal with problems will help. The person may have left instructions about the type of funeral and burial they wanted. There is no legal obligation for these instructions to be followed, but they usually are.