How Long After Death is the Funeral Held?

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, December 7, 2020

Most funerals tend to happen only days after a loved one’s death, but how long after death are most funerals held? What determines the timeline for the funeral? How long after a loved one’s death do you have to contact relatives and plan the service?

Average Time Between Death and Funeral

Most American funerals take place within one week or less from death. With the help of a funeral home, a week is typically enough time to make arrangements and contact loved ones. Historically, funerals had to take place after just a matter of days, because of decomposition. With today's preservation methods, families have a bit more time to prepare and get affairs in order. This helps families make arrangements, and to pick a day to hold the funeral.
A standard funeral can be up to about 2 weeks after the date of death. If the body is cremated, the family can wait as long as they’d like, but most are done within a month at the latest. If the deceased is already buried or cremated, a memorial service can be held at any later date. 

When are Funerals Held?

Funeral homes are generally open 7 days a week, and hold services throughout the whole week. Saturdays are the most popular day for funerals in America. Alternatively, Sundays are generally the least busy day of the week for funeral homes. For burials, some cemeteries may charge a fee for opening and closing a grave on Sunday.

How Long After Death is Cremation?

A body is generally cremated a few days after death. The next-of-kin would need to sign off on the cremation authorization. In some cases, such as those of an active police investigation, a coroner must also authorize it.

Reasons to Delay a Funeral

Delays to funerals are generally rare, but families may have specific reasons to delay services. The most common reason a family might delay a funeral is to allow for loved ones to come in from out of state or country. It is more likely that delays are caused by circumstances outside the family’s control. Deaths out of state/country, criminal investigations, blizzards, pandemics, or power outages may delay funeral services. In cases of long delays, cremation could be a good option to consider. 

For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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