Frequently Asked Questions

For those unsure about what a funeral entails and the decisions you will need to make, our frequently asked questions are listed here for you to find a quick answer. These questions are often the first things you may think about when it comes to organising a funeral, however, if you have any more questions or would like to discuss arranging a funeral, please don’t hesitate to call us on our freephone number: 0800 0789 636

Should I choose burial or cremation?

If your loved one had a strong preference they would, in all likelihood, have let you know before they died. If they didn’t, the choice is yours – it is not something you should worry about unnecessarily.

To help you make your decision you might think about who the deceased was in life—for example, did they love the countryside in which case maybe you’d like to consider a natural burial?

Do you want to be able to visit a grave? If so then a burial might be a suitable option. If you live many miles away and won’t be in a position to regularly visit or tend a grave, then maybe cremation is for the best.

The cost of burial should be considered – graves can be very expensive and the cost can run to several thousand pounds.

If you are thinking of a burial in the Croydon area, then you should budget for around £4,000. If you are thinking of a cremation, then you should budget for around £3,000.

Why do I have to register the death?

All deaths have to be registered, and the people closest to the deceased person have a legal obligation to do this. Deaths should be registered within 5 days – if this is not going to be possible, you should inform the Registrar.

Once the death is registered, Births, Deaths, and Marriages provide a formal Death Certificate, which is often a necessary document for any legal and estate issues that need to be attended to.

What do I need to register the death?

When registering a death you will need to take the medical certificate showing the cause of death with you. If available you should also take the deceased’s:

  • Birth certificate
  • Council Tax bill
  • Driving licence
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate;
  • NHS medical card
  • Passport
  • Proof of address

You will need to tell the registrar:

  • Their full name
  • Any previous names (i.e. maiden name)
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • The full name, birth date and occupation of a surviving/late spouse/civil partner
  • Whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits

What happens at a cremation?

The invited mourners gather at the crematorium and when the cortege arrives, the close family will follow the conductor and coffin into the chapel, followed by everyone else. The coffin will be placed on the catafalque (platform) and the service will start.

Towards the end of the service, the coffin will usually be hidden from view by curtains or be taken from the chapel. Alternatively, the coffin can simply remain on view until everyone has left the chapel.

A close member of the family may witness the actual cremation if requested. The coffin is placed into the cremator where the body is reduced to small amounts of bone and ash. These are removed from the cremator, cooled and placed in a machine that reduces them completely to ashes. These are the cremated remains, which are then placed in your chosen container.

You can elect to have the ashes ‘interred’ in a family grave, scattered in the Garden of Remembrance or choose to scatter them in your own way. There are many options to choose from and you should talk to Rowland Brothers who will advise.

What is an eco-friendly funeral?

An eco-friendly (also known as a ‘green’ or ‘woodland’ funeral) is a funeral service that take a less traditional form and seeks to minimise impact upon the world’s natural resources. Environmentally friendly burials will eventually become a part of the natural woodland where it takes place, without disrupting the nature around it. These services aim to use an ethically sourced, eco-friendly coffin, eco-friendly vehicles and much more.

Rowland Brothers offer eco-friendly funerals to assist in burying your loved ones naturally. Get in touch to discuss our green funeral services and find out more about what is included in this service.

What is the benefit of a pre-paid funeral plan?

Pre-planning a funeral gives you peace of mind that your funeral arrangements are determined in advance so you rest assured that all the details are taken care of for you and your family. Rowland Brothers recommend a pre-paid funeral plan as it allows you to make regular installments towards your funeral, making the cost of a funeral more affordable and manageable.

When you pay for your funeral in advance, you are paying at today’s prices, freezing the expenses and protecting yourself from future price increases. By pre-planning your own funeral, you can make personal choices that make the arranging process a lot easier and smoother for your loved ones.

How can I pay?

Payment can be made in cash, by cheque or by all major debit or credit cards. Please let us know you are interested in pre-paying for a funeral and see our pre-paid funerals pages for further information on this option.

Is there financial help available?

In certain circumstances, the next-of-kin can receive help with the cost of the funeral from the Social Fund. Claims must be made within three months of death. Contact us for further information on death benefits.

You could be eligible for various state grants; to find out more call Social Security on freephone 0800 666 555. Your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau can also help you.

How long does it take to arrange and complete a funeral?

The average length of time between the death and the funeral is around 10-14 days. Some funerals, to comply with particular faiths, have to be arranged and completed within 24 hours, however.

If a coroner is involved there may be a much longer delay. Visit the When a death occurs page to find out more about coroners.

What happens if the death occurs overseas?

We offer a full repatriation service from and to any country in the world. Rowland Brothers International are world renowned specialist in repatriation.

Do you organise non-Christian funerals too?

We are proud to have conducted many, many religious and civil funerals for clients from an enormous variety of religious denominations and ethnic groups, for information on arranging a funeral with us see our arranging a funeral pages.

What is a Funeral Director?

A Funeral Director delivers a broad service that carries out all the aspects of a funeral, it has been estimated that over 136 individual activities must take place in order for one funeral to be conducted. This includes the planning of all funeral arrangements and the support and guidance to families who have been bereaved while ensuring the funeral services accurately reflect the wishes of the family in all aspects. Also known as an undertaker, funeral directors help take care of the embalming, burial or cremation and plan the arrangement of the ceremony required. A Funeral Director will ensure you remember all the details required for a funeral and will liaise with all third parties to help the day go smoothly.

Do you offer after funeral support?

We look to give all families the bereavement support they require when dealing with the loss of a loved one. As funeral experts, our staff at Rowland Brothers are professionally trained to help support families and individuals through bereavement. At the most difficult time, we are able to offer one-to-ones and support groups. You can find more information on our support groups on our Bereavement Support Facebook page.

We understand that not everyone is ready for counselling straight after the loss of a loved one, or would prefer to talk to someone over the phone. Rowland Brothers can put you in touch with specialist agencies that can help you with your bereavement, discreetly and sensitively. We also have a number of publications written and other useful links, specifically to help with bereavement and loss, where you can find information.

How do I arrange a memorial?

Rowland Brothers understand that a memorial is extremely important for the family to ensure that there is a respectful tribute to their loved one that they can visit. Therefore we offer a large range of memorials is many different designs for you to choose from.

Rowland Brothers can offer you memorial designs in all of the traditionally used materials, which can be personalised at your request with state of the art engraving, and come with memorial insurance. Our memorial options include headstones, double grave memorials, monolith and boulder memorials, rustic and hand carved memorials, church memorials, kerb memorials, marker memorials, vases, children’s memorials and garden memorials.

If you are unable to find a suitable memorial, contact us to discuss other memorial suggestions, we can help you prepare a unique memorial to suit your personal requirements.

Call us any time

We’ll be here when you need us. Please call us with any questions or concerns:

0800 0789 636

Croydon: 020 8684 1667

Purley: 020 8660 5547

Old Coulsdon: 01737 555 202

Warlingham: 01883 623 067

New Addington: 01689 842 046

Beddington020 8681 2001