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Self arranged funerals

It is often assumed that funerals can be arranged only with the services of a funeral director, however this is not the case. Some people take comfort from being involved - either partly or totally - in the arrangements for the funeral of a loved one.

When a Death Occurs

If the death occurs at home - contact the doctor who attended the deceased during the last illness. They will confirm the death and issue a certificate stating the cause of death. They may give you the certificate straight away or advise you to collect it later from the surgery. At this stage, you will need to think about whether there is to be a burial or cremation. If you have already decided on cremation, advise the doctor so that the relevant forms can be prepared.

If the death occurs in hospital - normally the doctor attending will issue the certificate to you or via the hospital administration office.

If the doctor attending is unable to state the cause of death, or where a medical practitioner had not recently attended the deceased, the Coroner will be informed.

Registering the Death

The next of kin or the person arranging the funeral should take the medical certificate to the Registrar of Births and Deaths office within five days from death. You should arrange an appointment to do this by phoning Swansea Register office on tel. no: 01792 637444.

When registering the death, it is important that all details of the deceased are provided correctly; any errors that need correcting may prevent the funeral going ahead as arranged. It is also advisable to obtain further copies of the death certificate at this time in order to be able to claim the deceased's assets at a later date.

If the Coroner has been involved and an inquest is to be held, the Coroner will issue a Form 6 (yellow certificate) for Cremation or a Coroners Order for Burial (White certificate) to the Registrar in order to allow the funeral to proceed without delaying the process unnecessarily.

If the Coroner has been involved and an inquest is not to be held, the nearest surviving relative can register the death only when the Coroners Post Mortem has been conducted and the Coroner has confirmed the cause of death to the Registrar.

Before any burial or cremation can legally take place, certain forms need to be completed and submitted to the Burial / Cremation Authority and relevant fees paid for the provision of their services.

Storing the Body until the Funeral

If the death occurs in hospital, the mortician may agree to keep the body in the hospital mortuary until the day of the funeral, possibly at no charge.

If the death occurs at home, a local funeral director may agree to provide the mortuary facility as a means of helping you. In the meantime, the body should be kept in a cool, well ventilated room. Should an unforeseen delay occur between the date of death and the actual date of the funeral, it may become necessary to consider embalming the body.


Where the body has to be removed from a hospital, remember to contact the mortician beforehand to discuss such arrangements. A form entitled "document for releasing a body" needs to be completed and submitted to the mortician, together with the disposal certificate provided by the Registrar's office when you registered the death.

If you intend to use an estate car or van, you will need to ensure that the coffin or container you are using will fit inside. You will need help whenever you have to handle the coffin, so it is advisable to have at least three or four people available to assist you.

Coffin or Container

The body must be transported to the cemetery or crematorium in a suitable container, clearly identifying the name and age of the deceased. Coffins and caskets are available in various materials, which are compliant with cremation law, and also suitable for burial ie no metal. The most frequently used coffin is made from chipboard, finished in a good quality veneer and the metal effect coffin decoration ie handles and nameplate are all made of a combustible plastic material.

For cremation, it is recommended that the deceased is dressed in a funeral gown or alternatively a garment of personal choice, provided it is made of purely natural material ie only cotton / wool / silk.

The Ceremony or Service

The Crematorium chapel is available for cremation and burial services at 30 minute intervals. The style of the service is entirely a personal choice and may be traditional or contemporary, religious or secular; though a minister should be appointed to conduct the ceremony. Various options exist for music, including hymns played by the resident organist, CD's and tapes can be played to meet individual requirements.

Ashes / cremated remains

An appointment is required to collect from the crematorium (minimum 48 hrs after the cremation); crematorium staff will advise.


If you require further information on any aspect of Burial or Cremation in Swansea, please contact Bereavement Services on 01792 636481 or email

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