How to arrange a funeral

How to arrange a funeral main image

A loved one has died and you need to make all the funeral arrangements. At a time when you and every other member of the family is likely to be in deepest grief, the practical arrangements need to be made – in manner you consider appropriate and decent – and the funeral directors and other elements paid for.   

What do you do?   

Hopefully, the person who has died has left instructions or at least made their wishes known in one way or another whether they want a burial or cremation, whether a religious or a civil ceremony is preferred, and any other aspects of the funeral arrangements.    

The Citizens’ Advice Bureau points out that you are under no legal obligation to follow these instructions or wishes, although most people are going to respect them of course.   If the deceased has expressed no last wishes, of course, all the decisions are yours. You need to decide the type and level of service to be provided – and just as importantly how much you and the family are prepared to pay for those arrangements.   


The overall cost of dying (including death-related costs such as probate, headstones and flowers in addition to the basic cost of a funeral) currently stands at an average of  £8,802, so hopefully you and your loved ones will have some money to hand to cover these costs.   

The largest single cost is likely to be the fees for the funeral director’s services. You are not obliged to use a funeral director, although most people do and it is by far the simplest and most straight forward option. You may be assured of a professional and reliable service by instructing funeral directors who are registered with either the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) or the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD).   

In addition to the funeral service itself, you may also need to decide on the amount to be spent on items such as flowers, memorial stones, cars for the mourners and any type of reception or wake to be organised.  

Is there a prepaid funeral plan?   

You are likely to be able to make a considerably better and more satisfying job of things if you or the deceased had had the foresight to make a plan for their funeral in advance. Careful planning means that nothing is left to chance and you may rest easy in the knowledge that the send off goes exactly as you or your loved one would have wished it.    

Prepaid funerals – such as those we arrange here at Simply Funeral Plans. With this option, not only are the arrangements for the funeral fully and properly described, set out and agreed, but they are also paid for in advance.  

With the average cost of a funeral rising at a rate that is currently far outstripping the know costs of living, prepayment is likely to represent a welcome and very sound way of avoiding further increases in the future.    

The money you pay over is guarded safely and securely by the funeral plan provider, either by placing the funds in an independent trust fund or the money is applied for the purchase of a whole of life insurance policy, which pays out the necessary agreed sum (to cover the costs of your chosen funeral directors’ services) at the time of your death.  

Is there any life insurance in place?   

You should check the deceased's bank account statements and personal paperwork to see if there is a life insurance plan in place. Most life insurance companies pay out very quickly but this will be more likely after the funeral once all the necessary paperwork has been produced.   

In summary   

If your loved one has not made a preference known you should contact  two or three funeral directors in order to establish and compare the costs. 

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