Practical Advice from our Expert Team

We understand that dealing with a death and arranging a funeral is, thankfully, not something that you do every day. The process can feel overwhelming and we are here to help make things as clear and as straightforward as possible for you. Whether you need advice, some guidance, financial support, or have questions that you need answered, please feel free to get in touch with us day or night.

Alternatively, the video and advice below may be helpful, depending on your circumstances.

What to do when someone dies

Dealing with a sudden death

  • In the event of a sudden, unexpected death or a death where the family doctor has not seen the person within 28 days of death, your loved one’s death is reported to a coroner.
  • A coroner is a doctor or lawyer employed by The Crown to investigate unexpected deaths. When they become involved, funeral arrangements can become delayed due to the process that takes place, which is perfectly normal.
  • If your loved one was under the age of 25, you can request a referral to our charity partner, 2wish, who will support you through this extremely difficult time.
  • If the death is judged to be as a result of natural causes, the coroner will issue a notification that a post-mortem is not necessary and will administer a certificate so that registration can take place.
  • If a death cannot be judged to be a result of natural causes the coroner may call for a post-mortem or inquest. If an inquest is opened, then an interim death certificate will be issued.
  • Once the coroner is satisfied, they will issue the necessary documentation to allow for your loved one’s funeral arrangements to be finalised.

If your loved one dies at home

  • If your loved one dies in a private residence, immediately call the family doctor and nearest relative (a nursing home will normally take care of this step on your behalf).
  • Once the death has been certified by the visiting Doctor, we can bring your loved one into our care – normally within 90 minutes of notification.
  • We will then get in touch with you to agree a day and time to discuss funeral arrangements when you feel ready. If we take your loved one into our care outside of normal office hours, we will contact you after 9am the following day.

If your loved one dies in hospital

  • If your loved one dies in hospital, they will issue the medical certificate and formal notice. We can then liaise with the Bereavement Office on your behalf to bring your loved one into our care.
  • The hospital may ask for your permission to conduct a post-mortem to gain a better understanding of any present medical conditions. You may wish to consider this, but remember you are under no obligation to agree to a post-mortem.

Registering a death & Making arrangements

Registering a death

You must register your loved one’s passing with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the district where the death occurred, and you will need to make an appointment within five days of death, unless it has been referred to the coroner. The registrar will then issue you with a death certificate and we recommend that you consider purchasing several copies of the death certificate, as many organisations will only accept original documents.

Along with the death certificate, you will be given a green form and it is important that you bring this to us as soon as possible, as we will be unable to complete funeral arrangements without it. This is important for example, if we are bringing your loved one into our care from a hospital as we will need this document as our means of identification.

What the Registrar will ask you:

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name and maiden name (if applicable)
  • Date and town of birth
  • Occupation (if a married woman, the occupation of her husband)
  • Home Address
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
  • Full name of informant and the name and date of birth of a surviving widow or widower (if married)

Cardiff Register Office – 029 20 871 680

What to do?

You can start to make funeral arrangements before you register your loved one’s death or you can wait until after, if you prefer. However, to do this you will need to appoint a person who will act as the main point of contact for us as our client.

Please be aware that the client is contractually responsible for all arrangements and financial settlements and that all relevant documentation must be in place at least three working days before the funeral date.

We will guide you through the process of arranging the perfect funeral for your loved one – but if you would like to start thinking about the arrangements, we have a dedicated section on our website which you may find helpful…

Do we need a death certificate before we can arrange a funeral?

No, you do not have to wait until you have received the death certificate – arrangements can be made as soon as you are ready

How do I pay for the funeral, and what are the payment options?

How do I pay for the funeral ?

A deposit is required within 2 days of the initial booking meeting.

After the funeral, a final account will be produced, and our payment terms are full settlement within 30 days.

We accept payments via cash, cheque, debit card or BACS.

There are also funeral finance options available.

Funeral Finance options

Finding the money to pay for a funeral if you are on a low income or have high financial commitments can be extremely stressful. Particularly if your loved one’s death was unexpected or they didn’t make any provision for their funeral costs.

If you can’t cover the full cost of the funeral on your own you could be eligible for financial support from the UK government. However, if you are not eligible for this Funeral Expenses Payment, then all is not lost.

Here at Coles Funeral Directors we are dedicated to offering you as much support as possible at this difficult time, so we have partnered with a number of trusted and reputable companies that can help finance the funeral arrangements you would like to make for your loved one.

Depending on your individual circumstances, the following options could be helpful to you…

Funeral Safe

If there’s no estate and no provision made – paying for the funeral falls to the deceased family. However, to ease this financial burden, Funeral Safe is a specialist funeral loan provider, offering highstreet bank interest rates, no repayment penalties – and giving you complete control of the amount you borrow. Find out more >

Curtis Legal

If your loved one has left an estate and you contract Curtis Legal to manage the probate process for you – Curtis Legal will pay all funeral costs in full, pending probate. Their fixed professional fee, along with the funeral costs will then be deducted from the balance of the estate when it has been settledFind out more >


What can’t be cremated?

  • Pacemakers & Fixions must be removed
  • Watch batteries/batteries of any kind
  • Shoes with rubber soles
  • Golf Balls
  • Any oil or rubber-based products
  • Coconuts are removed or split/drilled
  • Foams and most petroleum products
  • Glass of any kind e.g. bottles, picture frames with glass or plastic windows
  • Plastic of any kind e.g. Flower bouquets with plastic bottoms,
  • Compressed gas e.g. sprays etc.
  • No PVC or melamine coffins or furnishings.
  • No coffins containing lead or zinc
  • Cardboard coffins that contain Chlorine in the wet- strength agent e.g. (not using polyamidoamine-epichlorohydrin based resins PPA-E)
  • The packaging of stillbirth and neonatal and fetal remains must not include any chlorinated plastics.
  • Absorbent granules
  • Please note spectacles and glasses are permitted but we ask that the glass is removed prior
  • No animal remains

How many people can be cremated together?

Each coffin is cremated individually. A cremator can only accept one coffin at a time and all of the cremated remains are removed before the next cremation.

How long after cremation can I collect remains?

Usually within 5 days of the cremation. But we recommend asking when booking the cremation.

Are coffin handles removed prior to cremation?

All handles and coffin fittings are plastic for cremations and stay on the coffin.

After the service ends how long until they are cremated and how long does it take?

The same day and several hours.


What is a natural burial?

For natural burials, your loved one will be dressed in natural fabrics and laid to rest in a biodegradable coffin. Embalming is not permitted for natural burials and the grave is opened to a shallower depth to encourage transformation by nature in the living layer of soil.

Are coffins reused?

The simple answer is No. Whether you choose a burial or cremation, coffins are cremated or buried with the deceased.

How many coffins can be buried in a plot?

New plots in Cardiff are sold as a maximum 2 depth, so 2 burials in total. There is then space for 6-8 cremated remains caskets.


Can the family shoulder bear the coffin?

Yes, family members can shoulder bear coffins.

Are cardboard and wicker coffins cheaper?

Not necessarily, wicker coffins in particular are hand made and biodegradable products are more expensive than traditional veneered coffins.

Preparing your loved one

When should I bring clothes in… should I bring underwear and their teeth?

As soon as you can so that we can lay your loved one to rest. Yes, underwear and teeth can be provided.

What does embalming involve and why do they need it?

Embalming is a hygienic treatment carried out to delay decomposition, sanitise, preserve and improve presentation of a deceased.

Who will do Mum’s hair and make up?

Dressing, makeup and hair styling is carried out by one of team of highly trained professionals.

After deceased is collected, what happens?

Your loved one will be brought into our care and laid to rest at the funeral home. Yes, we have chapels of rest at each funeral home where you will be able to visit and pay your respects. We also have cool facilities at each funeral home.

When can we pay our respects.. view our loved one?

As soon as hygienic treatments have been completed and your loved one is laid to rest in one of our chapels.

At the cemetery

How will I find their grave in the cemetery?

We suggest that a grave marker is purchased. We recommend a local stone mason who can then supply a permanent memorial.

How long after we leave the cemetery will the coffin be covered with earth?

As soon as the burial is complete.

We are not having a limousine, so can I follow the hearse in my car?

Yes, we can make arrangements for you to meet us at the funeral home to follow the hearse, or the hearse can meet you at an agreed location.

After the funeral

Will the limousine return us to the wake or do we make our own way?

The limousine will take you to an address or addresses of your choice after the funeral.

Can we take the flowers or how long will the flowers stay there?

Yes, floral tributes can be taken away after the funeral or they will be left on display and removed on the 7th day.

How long before the headstone can be placed?

This is variable dependant on where the grave is situated in the cemetery or churchyard. The stone mason will confirm the applicable timescale.

Useful contact numbers

Cardiff Register Office
02920 871 680

Cardiff Coroner’s Office
01443 281 100

Newport Coroner’s Office
01633 235 510

The Grange University Hospital
01633 493 100

St David’s Hospital Bereavement Office
029 20 536 602

Marie Curie Hospice (Holme Tower)
029 20 426 000

Royal Gwent Hospital
01633 234 080

The Barry Hospital
01446 704 000

The University Hospital of Wales Bereavement Office
029 20 742 789

University Hospital Llandough Bereavement Office
029 20 715 225

Velindre Cancer Centre Bereavement Office
029 20 615 888