Published by Joe Davine on
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How to arrange a funeral

Saying your last goodbyes to a friend or relative is one of the hardest things that anybody can experience. Ensuring that your departed friend or relative receives a perfect send-off is a final act of friendship and a very emotional process.

While arranging a funeral is never easy, there are plenty of options to help make sure your loved one will be laid to rest in the most appropriate manner.

It’s worth remembering that arranging a funeral for a friend or loved one and making plans for your own funeral are very different processes. We have compiled general information about the process of funeral arrangements on this page to give you an idea of what you want to be researching in order to be prepared.

Where do I Start with funeral arrangements?

The first thing you will have to do is register the death by making an appointment and visiting the local registrar. Once the death has been registered then it’s important to find a reliable funeral director and discuss your options. Once you’ve made funeral arrangements plans you’ll then need to let people know where and when it will take place.

This is obviously an emotional process, so we’ve outlined the key things you want to consider to help you arrange a funeral and be prepared.

How do I Choose Between Burial or Cremation?

Generally speaking, funerals fall into two categories: burials and cremations. If the deceased has expressed a preference, then you’ll probably want to arrange a funeral taking that route. But what about when this isn’t something about which they’d previously given their opinion?

Religious faith or cultural traditions can often have a bearing on which option is appropriate and the funeral arrangements process. If you’re looking to arrange a funeral within the rules of a certain faith then a funeral director will be able to help you get everything you require. If the deceased had no strong religious or cultural convictions and never expressed a preference, then it’s best for you to decide what would be most appropriate. You knew them best and will make the right choice when arranging a funeral.

Funeral Arrangements: Burial

Many of the considerations that come into arranging a traditional burial are related to where it will take place. If you have a family plot then you’ll need to locate the documents relating to that plot to show to the funeral director, otherwise you’ll have to think about purchasing a new grave (and possibly the one next to it if a partner will want to be buried beside them at a later date).

Arrangin a burial service tend to be a bit more expensive than cremations, but we’ve summarised the financial costs of each type of service for you here.

Funeral Arrangements: Cremation

Cremations have certain regulations, such as what can be cremated with a person. This includes restrictions on metals, so if there’s a particular item your loved one wanted to be buried with, you’ll want to check what's possible with your funeral arrangements director. Many cemeteries allow several cremated bodies to be ‘buried’ in the same plot, which many people find comforting if they want to be with their family even after death.

If you decide that cremation is the right option, then a key consideration is the type of service and where you will hold it. You can have the service in the crematorium, or in another place (such as a church) before taking the body to the crematorium for what is known as a ‘commital’.

What do I Need to Plan for the Funeral Itself?

The first thing you need to do when arranging a funeral is to make sure everyone knows the time and place of the funeral. After that, the primary concerns are organising the order of service, sorting out the flowers, arranging the transport of the body, and coordinating the specific roles such as pallbearers and who will deliver eulogies.

Your funeral arrangements director will help with all of these concerns, and also help you with selecting a coffin. Making sure funeral arrangements are done efficiently helps greatly in reducing the stress of an already very emotional day.

What Are the Funeral Arrangements Costs?

It is an unfortunate truth that funerals aren’t cheap. In 2017 the average funeral cost £3,784. Burials typically cost around £4,257 and cremations in the region of £3,311. Finding that amount of money isn’t easy, which is why more than one in seven people say they struggle with funeral costs.

Being unprepared often puts people into debt when arranging a funeral, and last year bereaved relatives have put an average of £1,680 in the red after burying their loved ones. But this is avoidable if you’re prepared and find competitive prices, which is where we come in.

It is very important to consider your funeral arrangements options given that funeral costs can vary considerably. The 2017 Royal London National Funeral Cost Index shows that, even within the same postcode, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive services can be as much as £2,365.

We review all the funeral arrangements options and guide you the best advice on. This is to make sure your loved one gets the best send-off without it causing financial problems for those left behind, and also so you can make the right steps to ensure that your friends and family get the financial support they need after you’re gone.

What are my Options to Help Afford a Funeral?

There are many life cover packages that include coverage for funerals, and specific pre-paid funeral plans designed to cover some of the financial burden. If the deceased had a policy, then gaining access to the funds will usually involve simply providing the death certificate to the insurer. It can take up to 30 days to review a claim, but many insurers offer an immediate payout to help cover funeral costs during this period.

If you’re struggling to pay funeral costs and are on benefits, then you may be eligible for the government’s Funeral Expenses Payment. This won’t cover the entire cost but will help with the payments for services such as burial/cremation fees, moving the body, and obtaining a death certificate making funeral arrangements less stressful for you and others around.

How Can I Be Sure that Services are Reliable?

Choosing an experienced funeral arrangements director is a pivotal step to getting reliable service. In this digital age, checking a company’s background and reputation is easily achieved, and our comparisons will help you find the best options available.

What are the Best Ways to Avoid Confrontations?

Grief can sometimes cause stress and disputes within a family, but coming together to make funeral arrangements is a vital part of the process. It’s always important to remember that a funeral should be a time for celebrating the life of a loved one.

Inheritance disputes can often cause divisions. The best strategy if such a dispute emerges around is to shelve all the disagreements for lawyers to decide later, and in the meantime focus on the funeral arrangements in order give your loved one a great send-off.

How Can I Be Prepared for My Own Funeral?

It can be difficult, but the first step is to have a conversation with your friends and family to let them know your preferences. This could mean letting them know you’d rather be cremated than buried, or that you would like a specific religious or humanist ceremony, or the cemetery where you want to be laid to rest. Unless they know, they won’t be able to carry out your wishes.

To help cover the financial side of your own funeral, you may want to look into taking out a insurance for life policy with funeral cover, or a pre-paid funeral plan. There are many different policies available from which to choose, and having such a policy in place can be a tremendous help to those left behind.

To take the first step towards gaining that coverage today, use our free quote below to find a policy that’s right for you.