What should I do next?
Before you make a decision about a funeral, look into it a little more and ask advice where you can. These resources should be able to help you:
Arranging a funeral can be difficult as there are several logistics to consider, as well as emotional distress. However, there are people and organisations that can support you through this process.
If you have an understanding of what’s involved in arranging a funeral before you’re put in that position, it will help.
Most funerals are arranged by close relatives or friends. If there is no one to do this, the local or health authority will arrange a simple funeral.
If the person who has died has left instructions on the type of funeral and burial they wanted, there is no legal obligation for these to be fulfilled, but they usually are.
Funeral Directors and other local services can help you arrange and pay for the arrangements. The other sections on this page will help you with this.
Most funerals are arranged through a funeral director.
You should only use one that belongs to one of these professional associations:
These associations ensure best-practice through a strict code of practice and complaints procedures.
Some local authorities run their own funeral services by working with a local firm, so they might be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you.
You do not have to use a funeral director to arrange your funeral, you can do it all yourself.
Contact the Natural Death Centre or Cemeteries and Crematorium department of your local authority for help and guidance.
If you arrange a funeral with a funeral director, you are responsible for the costs.
Ask to see a price list before making decisions, or explain how much you have to spend to the director. They will help you find a service that matches your budget.
You may be able to get help paying for the funeral if you’re on benefits. Visit GOV.UK to see if you can get a Funeral Expenses Payment.
Get a written estimate
Once you’ve decided which funeral would be appropriate, you should be given a written estimate of the costs involved. Ask for this breakdown if it’s not provided.
To make sure you are getting a fair price, contact other funeral directors and ask other people for comparisons.
Signing a contract
You may need to sign a contract with the funeral director. Read through the contract carefully and ask the funeral director for anything you don’t understand.
You might be asked for a deposit before making the funeral arrangements. This is standard practice, so do not be concerned.
Some funeral directors offer a discount if you can pay for the funeral before or soon after it takes place.
If the person who has died made arrangements to pay for their funeral (through insurance or another policy) or the estate deals with the individual’s finances, the money might be released after the funeral.
If you know the money will be released at a later date to cover the cost, you might want to consider a bank loan or overdraft to pay early and take advantage of the discount
If there’s a legal claim for negligence against someone for the death, the cost of the funeral can be claimed as compensation.
You can agree to pay for the funeral through instalments or pay after the legal situation surrounding the estate has been settled.