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In the UK, a funeral takes place 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.

Sometimes, a funeral might be delayed. For example, if there are any complications with the death, any trouble with the paperwork, or any availability issues with the funeral provider. But generally, funerals usually occur within one to three weeks after a death, allowing the family enough time to make arrangements.

In some cases, families might choose to hold the funeral sooner. Religious funerals often follow this practice, for instance, both Jewish and Islamic funerals usually occur within 24 hours of death.

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
  • The deceased are 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

Alex Moore
steven customer service

When do you need to arrange a funeral?

A funeral can be arranged at different times, depending on individual preferences and circumstances.

While many people wait until after a loved one has passed away, others prefer to make arrangements in advance when their loved one is receiving end-of-life care. Additionally, pre-planning a funeral by taking out a funeral plan is also an option.

Below, we explore these options in 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. By arranging in advance, you can focus on spending quality time with your loved one without the added stress of making last-minute arrangements.

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.

Explore our funeral plans

How long after death will my loved one be taken into care?

When a loved one passes away, they are typically taken into care within a few hours to a day, whether they are at home, in a care home, or in a hospital.

Collection is usually arranged within a few hours using a private ambulance. At Distinct Cremations, families are informed with a call 30 minutes before arrival. The funeral provider will coordinate with the facility to determine a suitable collection time.

Funeral providers often have multiple operations teams and a fleet of funeral ambulances on standby 24/7 to ensure timely collection. Once collected, the deceased is transported to our mortuary facility with dignity and care to prepare them for cremation.

Learn more about how a direct cremation works.

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.

Funeral documents

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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

Funeral alternatives

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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

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

Below are a selection of reviews from those who followed their instinct with Distinct and chose to buy a funeral with us.

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Anon 30 May 2024
first class
Mark 21 May 2024
Excellent communication, very helpful and we got just what we wanted in a service. Highly recommended and we will use again. Mark Oliver
Anon 2 May 2024
Service very efficient, and comprehensive. Understandably, you "chased me up" when there was a delay in my response to place an order, but this delay was whilst I contacted all those relatives who might have had a view to express.
Anon 24 Apr 2024
I was very happy with the service I received and they are only a phone call away if I or my sons should need advice or help in any way
Wendy 8 Apr 2024
This is a good company, the cremation was dealt with very smoothly without any problems. The staff were very courteous and professional throughout. Everything was explained over the phone and they were very patient answering my questions. The ashes were delivered on time to my door. Highly recommended.
Anon 7 Apr 2024
They gave a superb service, they were very professional from start to finish, but also friendly and empathetic too, at what was a very difficult time for myself and the family
Anon 6 Apr 2024
Dee was lovely and understanding and advice was easy to understand
Anon 5 Apr 2024
Very kind and helpful lady. She talked me through everything that I asked her about.
Based on 714 reviews
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