How to arrange a funeral in the UK: a simple guide, for peace of mind.

How to arrange a funeral in the UK: a simple guide, for peace of mind.

by Martin Jackson2022-09-190

No two people are the same, which is why no two funerals are ever the same. But over the years, we’ve built up a lot of experience about how to make the process of arranging a funeral in the UK as simple and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re making plans for your own funeral in the UK (to help ease the hassle and costs for your loved ones), or planning a funeral for a recently deceased loved one, this guide is here to help. And don’t forget, if you ever need some expert, impartial and caring advice (with no obligations and absolute transparency), you can always contact one of our personal advisers.

Did the deceased leave a will and/or funeral plans?

Plans for funerals can be left in different ways. Sometimes, the funeral has already been planned and arranged, and all you need to do is contact the funeral director to work with them on putting the plan in action. Sometimes, you or someone close to the deceased may have had discussions about how they imagined their funeral taking place. Or, the plans may have been included in the person’s will. If you think that a friend, family member, or legal representative might know of pre-arranged plans or wishes, make sure you speak to them first.

Although many people find it hard to talk about death (which is completely okay) it can often help to let those around you know what your wishes or direct plans are about your death. If they know what you think or believe, or where to find the important documents and plans you’ve created, then that will be a huge help to them after your death.

How to choose a funeral director in the UK

A funeral director is not required by law, but they can make planning a funeral in the UK a lot easier. Their expertise, contacts, and support can make every step of the process as smooth as possible. From dealing with paperwork to choosing between burial, cremation, or ‘green’ funerals, looking after and transporting the body to arranging flowers, the right funeral director should be able to handle just about everything.

It’s important to remember that most funeral directors are members of one of these two bodies, which regulate their work and protect everyone who uses them:

  • National Association of Funeral Directors
  •  The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)

When you’re choosing a funeral director in the UK, make sure that they’re on one of these registers. Another good tip is to look online for reviews to see what other people’s experiences have been.

If you want to, Fenix can act as your funeral director. We have many years’ experience, and our warm, caring personal advisers are always there for you, whenever you need them. From arranging every element of a funeral, to dealing with someone’s estate and other legal matters, we’re here for you. Feel free to get in touch, with absolutely no commitment. Or, just have a look at some of our reviews from people all over the UK.

Arranging an affordable funeral in the UK

The cost for a basic funeral in the UK can vary by region, and depending on which options you choose. Burial is often the more expensive option, while cremation generally costs less, and direct cremation is even cheaper. (Find out more about what direct cremation is in this useful article.)

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to planning an affordable funeral – either for yourself or a loved one – is that you’re in control. You should never feel pressured to choose options you can’t afford. And you should always make sure that your funeral director is transparent about all the costs. 

At Fenix, we pride ourselves in being 100% transparent and fair. And, more often than not, a funeral planned with Fenix is the cheapest option out there. 

If you need to find support and advice on how to afford a funeral in the UK, then the impartial, government-provided service MoneyHelper could be just what you need.

Choosing between burial or cremation

A big decision to make is whether to bury or cremate the body. Burials account for about a quarter of funerals in the UK, with cremations and direct cremations being more popular. This is due to a range of factors, from saving money to taking up less space. One thing to consider that might help you to decide is whether you and others will want to visit a gravesite regularly, or whether you’d prefer to have the ashes scattered in a meaningful location.

More and more common are green funerals. In the UK, this can mean being buried in a meadow or woodland in a biodegrade coffin or even just a simple shroud. With eco-funerals or green burials, as they’re also known, no harmful chemicals are used in embalming the body, which helps protect the land. Rather than choosing a headstone, many people opt to plant a tree as a memorial.

Arrange the memorial service

Not all funerals have a service, but if you do want to invite family and friends to a service, it’s a good idea to get this planned as early as possible, so that invites can go out to people. Some things to consider include:

  • Who will officiate the ceremony (leading everyone through the service)?
  • Who will deliver the eulogy (the speech that pays tribute to the deceased)?
  • Will other people be invited to speak, or make readings?
  • Will you need to arrange transport for mourners, to and from the service (e.g. if there is a wake afterwards, they’ll need to know how to get there)?
  • Will there be flowers, and who will arrange those?

As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind, which is another reason that choosing the right funeral director can offer such peace of mind.

Documents and plans relating to death in the UK

If you’re planning your own funeral, it can be a good idea to put all the documents that will be needed in one safe place, and to let someone close to you know where that is. These documents might include:

  • Your will, which might include all your funeral plans, and how to pay for it.
  • Your birth certificate (original needed).
  • Proof of ID and address, such as utility bills.
  • Mortgage or house-ownership papers, or your rental contract.
  • Details of any benefits you’re receiving, e.g. pension.
  • Details of all your financial institutions, e.g. your bank and credit cards, loans, etc.
  • Life insurance policy.
  • Information about your email and social media accounts, including passwords, and any instructions on what you want done with sensitive or personal information.

Find bereavement services

No matter how well planned or expected, the death of someone close to you can be very upsetting, and can leave you wondering how to cope. Whether you find yourself suffering from strong feelings of grief and bereavement, or you just need some advice on how to deal better with someone’s death, the UK government has a very useful service to help you find support in your local area.

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