Advice and information about arranging a funeral, including bereavement services
We understand that arranging a funeral can be a difficult experience that nobody wants to go through. The Citizens Advice website has a wealth of information that will support you along the way.
The Good Grief Trust The Good Grief Trust provides help, information and advice for the bereaved all in one place – it is a portal that signposts the bereaved to the best source of help and is the only service that provides a single point of contact. Website: www.thegoodgrieftrust.org (external link)
Most funerals are arranged through a funeral director. Find one who 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. These associations have codes of practice and complaints procedures. Some local authorities also run their own funeral services by arrangement with a local firm of funeral directors.
You can arrange a funeral without a funeral director. If you want to do this, the Natural Death Centre (external link) or Cemeteries and Crematorium department of your local authority can offer help and guidance. Alternatively, contact us on 01323 443400 to arrange an appointment and we can offer you our advise and expertise.
Once you’ve chosen the funeral, you should be given a written estimate giving a breakdown of all of the costs involved. Ask for one if it’s not provided.
If you want to compare costs, you can contact other funeral directors, or ask someone else to help you with this.
A basic funeral is likely to include:
- a plain, lined coffin
- transport of the body of the person who has died to the funeral director’s premises, usually up to ten miles from wherever the death occurred
- the care of the person who has died until the funeral. This will include washing and dressing the person who has died and laying the body out, but will not include embalming
- providing a hearse to take the body to the nearest crematorium or burial ground
- providing the 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 are:
- a more expensive coffin and fittings
- press notices
- a medical certificate required for cremation, and any doctor’s fees for signing this
- an organist
- fees for religious services
- a burial or crematorium fee. The burial fee will usually include the costs of preparing the grave
- extra cars
- extra services by the funeral director, for example, use of the Chapel of Rest, transport from the mortuary, or special viewing arrangements
- the cost of journeys of more than ten miles to the funeral director’s premises
- a memorial
- catering arrangements
You may need to sign a contract with the funeral director. Make sure you read it carefully and ask the funeral director about anything you don’t understand.
Some funeral directors might ask for a deposit before making the funeral arrangements.
You may be offered a discount to pay for the funeral before or soon after it takes place. 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.
Money may be released later, if the person who has died made arrangements to pay for their funeral through an insurance or other policy, or if money is released after their estate has been dealt with.
If there is a legal claim for negligence against someone for the death, the cost of the funeral can be claimed as compensation.
Otherwise, you may agree payment by instalment, or pay after the legal process of dealing with the person’s estate has been settled.
The coffin is probably the most symbolic item of the funeral proceeding and some families may not be aware of the choices of coffins that are currently available.
Traditional ‘shaped’ coffins, made of hard oak or elm wood have been used for years. But there are now many more environmentally-friendly options to consider.
More about what to do after a death (external link) from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
More about what to do if you need help with the cost of a funeral (external link) on GOV.UK
Other useful information
National Association of Funeral Directors
618 Warwick Road
National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
Natural Death Centre
In The Hill House
This Government’s website is also very useful as it takes you through step by step all that needs to be done after someone dies www.gov.uk/after-a-death (external link)
For general counselling and support, contact:
Cruse Bereavement Care
PO Box 800
Day-by-day helpline for adults and young people: 0808 808 1677 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.00pm)
Cruse East Sussex
Community Base, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG
WAY Widowed And Young
WAY Widowed And Young is a self-help organisation for people aged 50 and under who have been widowed. Their website is: www.widowedandyoung.org.uk (external link).
The Compassionate Friends
14 New King Street
Helpline: 0345 123 2304 (Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and 7.00pm to 10.00pm)
Northern Ireland helpline: 0288 77 88 016 (Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and 7.00pm to 9.30pm)
Tel (office): 0345 120 3785
Website: www.tcf.org.uk (external link)
Support following the death of a same-sex partner
Support following a suicide
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
The Flamsteed Centre
Derbyshire DE7 5GU
Barnardo’s Child Bereavement Service
Barnado’s Child Bereavement Service provides individual and group support to children and young people who have been bereaved. There is also an advice line that is open to any adult concerned about a bereaved child. The service is provided mainly for Northern Ireland, but will give telephone or email advice and information to people anywhere in the UK. Contact details are:
23 Windsor Avenue
Advice Line: 028 9066 8333
Website: www.barnardos.org.uk (external link)
Child Bereavement UK
Child Bereavement UK offers support to families when a child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. It runs a support and information helpline and email service staffed by trained bereavement support workers. Child Bereavement UK also provides training in bereavement support to professionals. Contact details are:
Clare Charity Centre
The Child Death Helpline
37 Queen Square
The Lullaby Trust
11 Belgrave Road
Bereavement support line: 0808 802 6868
Information line: 0808 802 6869
General enquiries: 020 7802 3200
Bereavement support email: email@example.com
Information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
General enquiries email: email@example.com
Website: www.lullabytrust.org.uk (external link)
The Rosie Crane Trust
The Rosie Crane Trust provides support for bereaved parents. They offer a 24-hour ‘Listening Ear Helpline’, available to all in the UK. Their drop-in centres are available in Somerset, North Dorset and North Devon in England.
Rosie Crane Trust
PO Box 62
Support following a stillbirth
The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
Victoria Charity Centre
11 Belgrave Road
London SW1V 1RB
Support following a miscarriage
The Miscarriage Association
17 Wentworth Terrace