Coronavirus: changes to services
Some of the information on this page may have changed as a result of the pandemic. Please check our page Coping with bereavement during the coronavirus emergency for the latest information on arranging a funeral.
Who should arrange the funeral?
Funerals are usually arranged by a close friend or relative. Most people will use a funeral director to help them with the arrangements. If there isn’t anyone to arrange a funeral, the local council or hospital will arrange a simple public health funeral.
Funerals are expensive, so think carefully in advance about how much you can afford to spend and ways to reduce the costs. You could be entitled to help with funeral costs – see Paying for a funeral for more information.
Most people arrange funerals through a funeral director. You don’t have to – it will be much cheaper not to, but you’ll have a lot more to organise. You could opt to organise some parts of the funeral yourself and have a funeral director arrange others. Check in advance that they’re happy with this. Funeral directors can provide a number of services, including:
- collecting the person’s body from the place where they died, storing it and delivering it to the funeral
- providing a coffin and a hearse
- arranging pall-bearers
- dealing with the necessary paperwork.
Make sure you choose a funeral director who is a member of one of the following professional associations, which have codes of practice:
- National Association of Funeral Directors
- National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
Get a number of quotes before you pick a funeral director and ask for a breakdown of what is included in the cost. If the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan, this might state which funeral director to use.
Arranging the funeral yourself
It’s often much cheaper to arrange the funeral without the help of a funeral director, but there will be a number of things to consider. The Natural Death Centre, the Money Advice Service and your local council’s cemeteries and crematoriums department can give advice.
What did the person who died want?
The person who died may have left instructions explaining the type of funeral they wanted. You don’t have to follow these, but people usually do and it can be a helpful starting point. Otherwise, you might have to consider this question yourself, perhaps together with others who knew the person.
Funerals are very personal and there are a number of options available. For example, you might want to consider:
- whether the funeral should be religious or secular
- whether it will be a burial or cremation
- whether there will be a wake and where it will take place
- what sort of coffin or shroud you want
- whether any music will be played at the funeral
- whether you want people to give flowers, or perhaps make a charitable donation instead.
Read our factsheet What to do after a death for advice on the practicalities you need to consider after someone dies.