How long after a death is a funeral in the UK?

A funeral is approximately one to three weeks after a death. However, timelines can change depending on the circumstances of the death or on the funeral provider's availability. Below we'll explain in more detail.

There are a number of reasons why a funeral or cremation may be delayed or take place very quickly. For example, in some religions such as Islam and Judaism, a funeral will take place within 24 hours.

However, for non religious funerals, a funeral will usually take place within one to three weeks after the death, assuming that everything progresses without any problems.

But if there are any complication with the death, any trouble with the paperwork, any availability issues or any problems from the side of the funeral provider, then the funeral may be delayed.

Why a direct cremation is perfect if you want to delay a funeral

Distinct Cremations team

With a direct cremation, you can hold a delayed funeral without having to worry about what will happen to your loved one in the time between. A direct cremation lets you separate the act of cremation from the memorial service by providing a respectful unattended funeral shortly after the death has occurred:

  • Cremation occurs shortly after a death with no mourners present and no funeral service
  • Once the cremation has taken place, you can hold a memorial service at a venue of your choice with friends and family
  • You can delay the memorial service without having to worry about what will happen to your loved one in the time between
  • Deceased is treated with utmost care and respect by our compassionate funeral team

One of the UK’s best value direct cremation services, delivered with a caring and compassionate heart

Not only are our low cost funerals carried out with love and care, but we also offer one of the UK’s best value services.

From your very first phone call, right through to the hand delivery of the ashes, you can rest assured that you will be in the most caring and attentive hands with Distinct Cremations.

Each and every unattended and attended service that my team carry out is treated with the same level of dignity and respect.

Alex Moore

Operations Manager

lauren customer service
Alex Moore
steven customer service

When do you need to arrange a funeral?

A funeral can be arranged at a number of different times.

Most people prefer to wait until the person has died to begin arranging things, while others prefer to make the call in advance when a loved one is receiving end of life care. There is also the possibility of pre-planning a funeral by taking out a funeral plan.

Below are the three options in a bit more detail:

Arranging in advance

Sue Arrange

If a loved one is receiving end of life care, you can call a funeral provider to let them know the situation. From there, they will begin getting the foundations in place and will be able to guide you through the next steps to help make things as easy and stress free as possible for when the time comes.

Call our team for free

When the time comes

Sue Direct

If a loved one has died, you should call a funeral provider to let them know. The funeral provider will then take care of the arrangements and coordinate things with you and your family by arranging the collection of a loved one and organising the funeral with the venue.

Arrange a funeral today

Prepaid funeral plan

Sue cook plans

A funeral plan gives you peace of mind knowing costs are covered when the time comes, allowing you to get your funeral plans in place in advance and protecting you from the rising costs of funerals. Funeral plans can be purchased on behalf of someone else or for yourself.

Funeral plans

Religious funeral timings

Each religion has their own custom when it comes to a funeral. A number of religions typically hold a funeral within 24 hours of a death, whereas others prefer to hold the funeral within a week.


Funerals within most Christian denominations are held within a few days. Catholic funerals are held within 3 days of death, though this may change due to scheduling arrangements.


Islamic funerals take place as soon as possible after death, often within 24 hours. Traditional Islamic funerals also do not include viewings, embalming or a coffin.


Hindu funerals typically occur within 24 hours of the death, however there can be variations depending on regional customs and availability. The casket is typically open at a Hindu funeral.


Jewish funerals typically take place within 24 hours of death, unless the day of the funeral falls on the Sabbath or a religious holiday. A Jewish funeral is often conducted swiftly.


A Buddhist funeral usually takes place within a week, allowing family and friends to gather and offer prayers, sutras, chants and respect for the deceased.


A Sikh funeral will often take place within a week, allowing time for family and friends to gather together, though this is subject to change depending on local customs.

Other helpful articles

Below are a few further articles that you may be interested in.

Choosing a provider

Older couple looking at tablet

Choosing a funeral provider is never easy, so we've created a table comparing the best funeral providers' key features and inclusions to help you compare, contrast and choose the right funeral provider for you.

Compare funeral providers

Funeral alternatives

Group toasting a friend's memory

Alternatives to a traditional funeral have become much more popular in recent years. In this article we outline the different options available and why people are opting for something a little bit different.

Alternatives to a traditional funeral

Funeral documents

Woman sitting on sofa smiling while reading documents

There are a number of documents that need to be completed before a funeral can take place including three different cremation forms. Our article details which forms you need to complete and how our team can help.

Funeral documents

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.

"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."

“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"

"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."

"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"

"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."

“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."

"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."

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