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How to arrange a funeral

Read help, tips and advice for how to arrange a funeral

Advice to help you to arrange a funeral

If you are responsible for arranging a funeral, it can be an emotionally charged period of your life as it is likely the deceased is a family member or a close family friend. By arranging a suitable and respectful service you are helping both yourself and other people close to the deceased with their bereavement.

With all the different options and alternate options to be made it can be tough. You will have to balance your wishes with any that the deceased may have made.  It’s therefore important that the person who’s role is to arrange a funeral, needs to be able to make decisions and give instructions about various aspects of the funeral such as burial or cremation.

Due to the demands of arranging a funeral at the same time as dealing with the loss of a loved one, most people choose to use the services of a funeral director or in many cases these days, they will have either bought funeral insurance or taken the decision to arrange a prepaid funeral plan which includes making decisions and planning your own funeral.

What can you expect from a Funeral Director?

The Funeral Director tailors a funeral service to meet the family’s wishes and to comply with the law. Below is a guide to the kind of support and range of services you can expect from your chosen Funeral Director.

After discussing your requirements, the Funeral Director will take detailed suggestions concerning the services and facilities to be provided and then act to ensure the funeral is dignified and that all aspects are delivered to the highest professional standards. In the even that a prepaid funeral plan has been purchased, then much of the decision making will have been done ahead of time, which families do find makes life easier when dealing with greif.

The other main benefit of prepaid funeral plans is that they will have bought the funeral directors services and associated cost at the price applicable at the time of the plan purchase. In many cases, this will have saved the family a significant amount of money, as the deceased may have lived for many years after the time of buying a prepaid funeral plan and avoided price increases.

It is important to highlight that the services outlined here will not always be provided automatically and this list is by no means exhaustive but, typically, Funeral Directors will:

  • Arrange a date and time for the funeral, according to your instructions. The Funeral Director will contact the church, cemetery or crematorium and/or the person who will be conducting the service, to arrange a mutually convenient date and time.
  • Transfer the deceased from the place of death, or from the location to which the deceased has been taken, to their premises, provide practical assistance to allow the deceased to remain at home prior to the funeral, if this is what you request.
  • Provide facilities for viewing of the deceased prior to the funeral, according to the family’s wishes.
  • Provide the necessary vehicles and staff to conduct the funeral with dignity and professionalism, in accordance with your instructions.
  • Deal with all necessary paperwork to enable burial or cremation to take place.
  • Place death notices in local and/or national newspapers.
  • Arrange for catering at a venue of your choice following the funeral.
  • Make arrangements for the subsequent disposal of the remains following a cremation.
  • Arrange special musical requests for the funeral service, such as a soloist, piper or choir.
  • Liaise with the officiant to provide Order of Service sheets at the funeral service.
  • Record the names of those attending the funeral in order to provide you with a list afterwards.
  • Order floral tributes on behalf of the deceased’s family and/or friends and colleagues.
  • Accept and care for floral tributes delivered to their premises prior to the funeral.
  • Accept donations for a nominated charity in lieu of flowers on your behalf, providing the family with a list of those who have donated after the funeral.
  • Arrange for transfer of either the deceased or the cremated remains to another area of the country, or repatriation overseas, for a subsequent funeral or disposal, in accordance with your wishes.
  • Provide advice and transport to assist with the registration of the death. Please be aware that Funeral Directors cannot register a death – this is something which must be done by a family member or person closely connected with the deceased.
  • Supply obituary cards or ‘thank you’ cards for use by the family following the funeral service.
  • Place “Thank You” and acknowledgement notice, or obituary notices in local newspapers following the funeral.
  • Provide information on how to arrange a pre-paid funeral plan.
  • Offer a choice of coffins and caskets to suit a range of budgets and individual choice.
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