What is the etiquette for funerals in the UK? Find out what…
Planning a funeral will never be an easy task. But we’ve put together this planning a funeral checklist and detailed guide to help you get started with the necessary arrangements.
Here are the key steps to planning a funeral when someone passes away:
Continue reading as we guide you through the process of arranging a funeral, from obtaining the right paperwork after someone passes away, to covering the funeral cost.
As mentioned above, it’s worth checking if your loved one had arranged life insurance before they passed away, such as over 50s life insurance.
If they have a policy in place, then you could make a claim to receive the guaranteed cash pay out to help cover their funeral costs.
Planning a funeral and finding payment for the funeral can raise thoughts of your own funeral in the future.
If you’d like to help protect your family from inevitable funeral expenses, then you may consider over 50s life insurance through Reassured.
You could secure up to £20,000 of cover (depending on your age, smoking status and budget), and assure a pay out when the time comes.
Acceptance is guaranteed for over 50s life insurance if you’re aged between 50 – 85 and no medical information is required.
Quotes start from just 20p-a-day through Reassured. Simply contact us for your free quote comparison.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to plan a funeral step-by-step, covering the main elements including:
Continue reading as we run through each step and outline all the things to consider when planning a funeral...
You can start planning a funeral when someone passes away and their death has been registered.
A death must be registered within 5 days. However, this can be extended for another 9 days if a medical certificate has been issued.
A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) will need to be obtained from the GP (if they passed away at home), or from the hospital (if they passed away in hospital).
Registering a death can be done at the Registrar office by a relative or someone present at the death. You’ll then receive a Certificate of Registration of Death.
Following this, you’ll be able to obtain an application for cremation or certificate for a burial so that you can start planning the funeral.
If you have appointed the services of a funeral director, they can help you acquire all the necessary paperwork.
Planning your own funeral
You could start planning your own funeral in advance and take out life insurance to help towards the cost.
Life insurance, such as an over 50s plan, allows you to leave a cash sum to your loved ones after you’re gone.
If you have any specific funeral wishes, the funds can be used to help fulfil these and relieve some stress for those planning your funeral.
If you’re aged between 50 - 85 then you could take out an over 50s plan with a pay out up to £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances and budget).
Contact us today for your no-obligation, fee-free quote.
There are different ways to pay for a funeral. Your loved one may have made financial provisions for their funeral before passing away.
Financial provisions left by the person who’s passed away may include:
Alternatively, a family member or friend would need to pay for the funeral. It’s important to decide on a budget before making any arrangements.
Your chosen funeral director is required to provide you with a price list for all their services, allowing you to keep on top of costs.
If you’re struggling to afford a funeral and receive certain state benefits, you may be entitled to funeral expenses help from the government.
Most people hire a professional funeral director to help them with funeral arrangements.
If you wish to use a funeral director, it’s important to find one who’s a member of one of the following:
Funeral directors provide a range of services, including:
You can select a level of service that suits your needs and your budget. If you’re looking for a fair deal, it’s wise to shop around and compare quotes for funeral directors.
Additionally, it’s not compulsory to use a funeral director; you could arrange some (or all) of the funeral yourself which can help to reduce the cost.
Most funeral services are held in a place of worship, crematorium chapel, or natural burial site, but other venues are also used.
The most popular types of funeral service are explained in the table below:
|Type of funeral||What this funeral is like||Other important notes|
|Religious||A traditional funeral with a religious ceremony. May include prayers, hymns or readings in line with your beliefs. Usually held in a church or chapel and led by a religious minister||Co-op reported this accounts for 2 in 3 funerals they arrange. Funeral directors are highly experienced with this form of funeral|
|Non-religious||A traditional funeral which excludes religious aspects. Can be held in a crematorium, cemetery chapel, natural burial site or other venue. May be led by a celebrant, friend or family member||In the Co-op 'Changing Face of UK Funerals' survey, 51% of participants think that more funerals will take place outside of traditional religious settings in the future|
|Celebration of life||A funeral focused on a person’s individuality, personality, unique traits and experiences. May include sharing of the deceased’s favourite music and memories||Can be part of a non-religious funeral or as a separate memorial on a different day (for example, after a direct cremation if this is chosen)|
|Eco-friendly||An environmentally friendly funeral, such as a woodland burial, using biodegradable materials for the coffin and memorial (grave marker)||This can be religious or non-religious in nature and can include a service, but an indoor venue may not be available. More funeral providers are offering this type of funeral|
|Direct cremation||For those who prefer no funeral service. A cremation is carried out without an attended funeral service beforehand||This costs much less than a traditional funeral and a good option for those on a budget|
Whether to have a burial or cremation will need to be decided quite early on in the funeral planning process.
This is because family traditions, religion or personal beliefs can have a significant influence on what we choose.
According to SunLife, 75% of people choose a form of cremation over a burial.
The below chart shows the basic process of a cremation or burial to help you understand what to expect:
|Planning a cremation||Planning a burial|
|Choose a crematorium||Choose a cemetery, churchyard or natural burial ground|
|Complete a cremation application (called a Form 1)||Obtain burial permit for burial plot. You will also require a burial certificate (can be used as an alternative to a green certificate)|
|Secure a green certificate and the medical certificate signed by two separate doctors (funeral director can assist with all the paperwork)||Secure a green certificate and the medical certificate signed by two separate doctors (funeral director can assist with all the paperwork)|
|Funeral service tends to be held in the crematoria chapel or other venue before cremation||Grave can be marked with a headstone, plaque or statue. Only a natural memorial is allowed (such as a tree) for a natural burial|
|Cremation takes place following the service||Funeral service and burial held - usually in a cemetery or private grounds|
|A private wake may be held if one has not been held yet||A private wake may be held if one has not been held yet|
|Ashes can be collected after the funeral and scattered if you like||If the grave hasn’t been marked yet, you will now be able to|
There are many things to consider when planning a funeral service.
Help from family and close friends to plan the funeral service and decide on each of the elements would be beneficial at this time.
If the person who has died left behind their funeral wishes in their Will or by other means, then you may wish to plan the details according to these.
While many funeral elements are usually tailored to the person’s personality, the below shows the most common aspects that would need planning:
Following the committal, at a crematorium or cemetery, you may wish to hold a wake at a nearby venue, such as a village hall, pub or hotel.
This usually includes organising some catering for the occasion.
This presents a great opportunity for friends and family to get together and share memories and pay tribute to the person who has passed.
If you’re worried about your loved ones struggling to afford a reception or other funeral aspects, why not consider an over 50s life insurance policy?
The average cost of dying is currently £9,200. With an over 50s plan you could secure up to £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances and budget) to help cover some of these costs for your loved ones.
There may even be funds left over to provide an inheritance for them to spend as they wish.
On average, funerals can last between 30 - 60 minutes. However, the length could be shorter or longer depending on whether a service or wake is included.
The below table shows the length of the most common funeral types:
|Funeral type||Length (approximately)||Other notes|
|Cremation||45 - 60 minutes||Unlikely to exceed an hour (unless you choose to pay for the extra time)|
|Direct cremation||N/A due to no service||Due to no family or friends attending, length is solely dependent on a wake or memorial service if you choose to have one|
|Burial||60 minutes||May be followed by a short burial service by the graveside|
|Direct burial||N/A due to no service||Due to no family or friends attending, length is solely dependent on a wake or memorial service if you choose to have one|
|Eco-friendly burial||30 - 60 minutes||A short burial service may proceed this|
Currently, the average cost of a funeral is £3,953.
However, the cost of the funeral you’re planning will depend on various factors, which include:
In 2022, 19% of UK families said they experienced notable financial concerns when paying for a funeral.
Making financial provisions in advance to help pay for your own funeral could help to alleviate money worries for your family when the time comes.
One way you can do this is by taking out over 50s life insurance through Reassured. This type of policy can provide up to £20,000 of cover (amount depending on your age, smoking status and budget) to help towards funeral related costs.
Give yourself peace of mind knowing that your loved ones won’t be left paying for your funeral out of their own pockets and contact Reassured today.
We can provide you with no-obligation and personalised quotes, free of charge.
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