Arranging a funeral
When the death certificate has been issued by the Registrar, you will also be given a certificate authorising the funeral.
The choice of a firm of funeral directors is important as you should feel comfortable and confident with them.
It is important to check whether the deceased left any instructions with the Will about the funeral, or wished their body to be used for medical research, or organs to be donated for transplantation. If there is a Will, the executor has the right to decide whether it will be a burial or a cremation, whether the Will expresses a particular wish or not. If there is no Will, the next of kin should decide. It is important to check whether the deceased has already made arrangements for their own funeral, or carried funeral insurance.
You will need to make early decisions about:
- whether it will be a burial or a cremation
- where it will happen (church, crematorium chapel, cemetery chapel, graveside, elsewhere)
- when the service will happen (day, date, time)
Then you can decide the finer details at leisure.
We can make all the arrangements for the funeral, burial or cremation, religious or secular service and can also advise on all the procedures and documents needed to register the death.
If you are considering a headstone most cemeteries will advise to wait for a period of approximately six months before placing it. However, please speak with us as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delay after this waiting period.
Costs and Charges
The costs of a funeral fall into three main categories:
- Cost of materials, such as coffin or casket, clothing and memorials
- Funeral director’s fee, including making arrangements, hire of vehicles, liaison with third parties on documentation and management of the funeral
- Disbursements paid to other organisations on your behalf, such as church or crematorium fees and obituary notices
The ultimate cost will depend on your choices for the funeral.
We will explain clearly to you what the options are and how much they cost so that you are fully informed about the choices you make.
Everyone has a right to be buried in the churchyard of the parish in which they live – assuming that one exists, and that there is space left.
There is normally a fee charged for digging a grave. In a local authority cemetery there may be a further charge if you wish to purchase the exclusive right of burial. This means that no further burials can take place in that grave without your permission. In many areas, you need to purchase the exclusive right of burial if you want to put up a memorial.
There are alternatives to burial in a churchyard or cemetery, such as burial in a vault, burial at sea and woodland burials.
Many bereaved people take comfort from placing belongings such as photographs and letters in the coffin with the person they have lost. It may also be your wish that they are dressed in their own clothing. And that the coffin is decorated to reflect an interest or pastime they may have enjoyed. In a burial, there are fewer restrictions about possessions, clothing and decoration than in a cremation.
Before a cremation can take place three statutory forms have to be completed, one by next of kin, the others by two different doctors. Each of the doctors is entitled to a fee. One will be the doctor who has attended the person in their last illness who must see the body before completing the form, and another doctor who must also see the body. When a coroner has issued a certificate for cremation, no other doctors are required to certify, and the coroner’s certificate is free. A final document is signed by another doctor, who is the medical referee to the crematorium. They must receive the above certificates up to two days before the cremation is due to take place. The fee for this usually comes as part of the crematorium fee.
Most crematoria incorporate a service chapel. You may wish to use this if you don’t want to hold the service itself in a church or other location. Or you may choose to use the crematorium for committal only.
You may wish to consider music to be played. Commonly, crematoria provide one or more of the following:
- An organist
- Pre-recorded music from which you can choose
- A cassette or CD player on which you can play music of your choice
We will also be able to advise you about the options available in respect of disposal of the deceased’s ashes following cremation.