Why Would a Funeral Be Delayed?

28 August 2019
 Categories: , Blog

There is no set timeline for grieving the death of a loved one. There are so many mitigating factors to contend with, such as whether the death was expected, whether it happened in particularly traumatic circumstances and the relationship between the deceased and the bereaved. There is also no set timeline for holding a funeral for the deceased, although it generally happens fairly promptly and forms an integral part of the grieving process. Some religions and cultures require a rapid burial or cremation, but when these factors are absent, why would a funeral be delayed?

No Legal Time Frame

In Australia, there is no legally required time frame between death and burial or cremation, although, of course, this doesn't mean that it should be delayed indefinitely. But why would it be delayed at all? The only legal matter that can delay funeral arrangements is when the circumstances of the death required the intervention of the coroner to determine the nature of your loved one's passing. Once the coroner has made a ruling, the body can be released to a funeral home and the arrangements can then be made. But the body can still be stored at the funeral home should a delay be required.

Storage of the Remains

An Australian funeral director has spoken about how he once stored a body for eight months in his funeral home's refrigeration facility. This was to allow the deceased's mother time to make the journey to Australia, and while this might seem extreme, you will find that funeral directors are more than willing to accommodate a delay between death and burial or cremation. Allowing time for the bereaved to travel to Australia for the service might be the most logical reason for a delay, but it's not the only reason.

Reasons for the Delay

There might be a disagreement between the immediate family of the deceased about the precise arrangements for the funeral, although hopefully, this will be a minor difference of opinion as opposed to a vehement argument, but it could certainly lead to a delay. The immediate family of the deceased might also simply be too traumatised by the death to consent to a prompt funeral. Although it's part of the grieving process, it might not be part that they're immediately ready for. 

Most funerals will take place shortly after death, although it's important to remember that there's no legal requirement for a prompt burial or cremation, and sometimes, a delay is necessary. Reach out to a funeral director near you to learn more about the process.