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Help if there's nobody to arrange a funeral

People often have ideas about what they think a funeral should be like, or must include, but in reality there are no set requirements. Every person and every family is different.

The most important thing is that you have the funeral that feels right to you for the person who has died.

Before you start organising a funeral it is worth:

  • checking if the person who died left any instruction about what they wanted
  • discuss what is practical and affordable
  • decide whether you want to make the funeral arrangements yourself or with the help of a funeral director

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Using a funeral director

If you plan on using a funeral director we suggest you find one who belongs to one of the professional trade associations, such as the:

A basic funeral is likely to include:

  • a plain, lined coffin
  • transport of the body of the person who has died to the funeral directors premises
  • care of the person who has died (including washing and dressing, but not embalming) until the funeral
  • provision of a hearse to take the body to the cemetery or crematorium
  • provision of people to carry the coffin
  • making all other necessary arrangements, e.g. getting and submitting the required forms.

There are a wide range of optional elements – such as funeral flowers and putting a death notice in the local paper - which can add substantially to the cost. Prices can vary a lot, so it is worth getting several quotes.


There are a number of fees that must be paid, irrespective of the service you choose to have.

Burial fees, including:

  • the fee for purchasing the Exclusive Right of Burial
  • the fee for the preparation of the grave, known as the interment fee

Cremation fees, including:

  • the doctors fees for completing the relevant medical forms
  • the cremation fee

You might be able to get help paying for a funeral if you’re on benefits. Check if you can get help with funeral costs from the government.

If your loved one had a life insurance policy or funeral plan they may have already arranged and paid for many of the important elements of their funeral with a local funeral director. Industry regulator The Funeral Planning Authority has a helpful search tool for tracing funeral plans that were taken out with registered providers.

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