What do I need to arrange for a funeral service?

Posted: 03/10/2017

Most funerals are arranged by a funeral director, although some people chose not to go down that route. Arranging a funeral can be costly, stressful and an upsetting time. However, getting things prepared for a funeral is vital to make it run smoothly, and to make the amount of money you will be spending on it worth it. There are various things that must be arranged for a funeral service, and to give you ease of mind, we will take you through them all.

In most cases, funerals are arranged by the nearest relations to the deceased. If that is not the case, it is usually a close friend of the person. In the case that there is no one close to the person arranging the funeral, it will be left to the local or health authority to carry out a simple funeral.

The person whose funeral it is may have left a set of instructions or discussed with others their wishes for their funeral – this is quite common. However, there is no legal obligation to follow these instructions, but it is considered distasteful not to and in most cases, the instructions are respected and carried out.

You have the option of going with a prepaid funeral plan to ease your mind, if you want to learn more, click here.

Funeral directors

If you make the choice to go with a funeral director, the first step in arranging a funeral is to source a funeral director. You should aim to find one who belongs to a professional association such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral directors (SAIF). These types of associations have particular codes of conduct surrounding standards of practice and complaints procedures. In some cases, local authorities also run their own funeral services by arranging it with a local firm of funeral directors.

It is highly advisable to seek a funeral director. This is the case because doing all of these things yourself can be extremely upsetting, which is not what you need at a time such as this. A funeral director can help to make sure things run smoothly.

The role a funeral director plays is to manage and arrange all the details of a funeral of your loved one. Their work mainly involves working in funeral homes and crematories. The type of things that they sort out for you and your family are the following:

  • Arranging the transportation of the deceased
  • Preparing the remains (of the body)
  • Consulting with the family of the deceased
  • Handling and submitting all the paperwork and legal documents, including registering the death
  • Planning the funeral in general
  • Dealing with the deceased’s personal affairs and estate.
  • A plain, lined coffin
  • Sourcing and providing the necessary people to carry the coffin

Other services funeral directors may provide you. If they do not you may want to source these elsewhere are:

  • The flowers
  • A more expensive coffin and fittings then provided under a basic plan
  • Press notices of the death
  • A medical certificate that is required for cremation to take place and any doctor’s fees for signing this may be included
  • An organist to play at the service
  • Fees required for religious services
  • A burial or crematorium fee. The burial fee will usually include the costs of preparing the grave
  • Any extra cars needed
  • Embalming
  • The use of the Chapel of Rest,
  • Transport from the mortuary
  • Special viewing arrangements
  • The cost of journeys of more than ten miles to the funeral director’s premises
  • a memorial of your choice
  • The catering arrangements

You can choose to arrange a funeral solely, without a funeral director. If you are wanting to do this, you can still gain guidance and help from the Natural Death Centre or Cemeteries and Crematorium department of your local authority.

Cemetery arrangements

 A cemetery is the place where the dead are buried or have their ashes scattered. It is what is known as a “final resting place” for those who have passed away.

If the cemetery property has not yet been purchased or is not included in the funeral directors bill, it will be vital to meet with a cemetery representative to purchase a burial or entombment space. In some cases, the funeral director will arrange this on behalf of the family of the deceased.

Most cemeteries offer a variety of type of grave space for earth burial or mausoleum crypts for entombment. They also provide services to open and close the grave or crypt and install grave markers. It is the case that some cemeteries ask for a recurring fee for the maintenance of the grounds.

At the time of death, you should go to the cemetery to confirm the burial arrangements or let your funeral director know what the situation is so he or she can do this on behalf of you.

Funeral and Memorial products

Again, these may be included in the overall services of a funeral director, but you will need to think about the details of the funeral and the memorial. There are a variety of options when looking to purchase caskets, grave markers, and other funeral merchandise. These will also be available through a funeral home, cemetery, monument company or other retailers. You are not required to purchase the funeral merchandise through the funeral home or cemetery that are handling the service for the funeral, it can be a completely different one.

The products you will have to consider for a funeral and memorial include the following:

A Casket

If the body of the deceased is to be buried, you will need to choose a casket for their body. There is an endless supply of choices when it comes to types of caskets to accommodate varied tastes, sizes and (most importantly for some) budgets. The caskets could be made out of metals, woods, and fibreglass. The casket’s interior fabric can also be of varied materials, colours and designs – you can basically make it however you want, this may affect the price, however.

A Burial vault

Many cemeteries require an outer burial container (known as a burial vault) to place the casket in for burial. Their principal purpose is to support the soil. Usually, the minimum requirement for this is a concrete box. Burial vaults are enclosures which are quiet supplicated in nature, that are normally made of concrete and lined with a plastic or a metal. Alternately, if you chose that the body will be entombed in a mausoleum, the cemetery does not require any container beyond the casket for burial purposes.

An Urn

Cremation is the most popular choice for final arrangements, with 3 out 4 people in the UK choosing it over burial.  If this is the case for your loved one, an urn will be needed to hold the ashes. Even if you have planned to scatter the ashes elsewhere, you will still need a container to hold the ashes until the scattering takes place. Urns are existed in materials such as marble, wood or metals such as bronze or steel. Urns can be tastefully personalized with engravings and emblems.

A grave marker

Grave markers can be made of stone like granite or marble, or it can be made out of metals, such as bronze. Memorials lie flat on the ground. On the other hand, monuments sit upright and vary in size. Before going ahead and purchasing a grave marker, you should find out about your cemetery’s rules and regulations on governing marker placement and type.