No one wants to arrange a funeral at what is already a difficult time, but understanding what is involved and how to deal with problems will help. The person may have left instructions about the type of funeral and burial they wanted. There is no legal obligation for these instructions to be followed, but they usually are.
Most funerals are arranged through a funeral director. Find one that belongs to one of the professional associations, such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF). They have codes of practice and complaints procedures. Some local authorities also run their own funeral services by arrangement with a local firm. You will be responsible for the costs of the funeral, and should ask to see a price list before choosing a funeral. Once you’ve chosen a funeral, you should be given a written estimate with a breakdown of costs.
A basic funeral is likely to include:
- A plain, lined coffin
- Transport of the body to the funeral director’s premises
- The care of the person who has died until the funeral. This will include washing and dressing the person and laying the body out (but not embalming)
- Providing a hearse to take the body to the crematorium or burial ground
- Providing necessary people to carry the coffin
- Making all other necessary arrangements, for example, getting the required forms
Other services funeral directors could provide, or which you may want to sort out elsewhere:
- More expensive coffin and fittings
- Press notices
- Medical certificate required for cremation
- An organist
- Fees for religious services
- Burial or crematorium fee
- Extra cars
- A memorial
- Catering arrangements
You can arrange a funeral without a funeral director. If you do this, the National Death Centre or Cemeteries and Crematorium department of your local authority can offer help and guidance.