A death in the family is obviously a stressful occasion. In the midst of all the grief, it may seem that there is so much paperwork and formalities to complete. Has a doctor signed the medical certificate as to the cause of death? Or perhaps the doctor has referred the death to a Coroner?
And then there is the business of formally registering the death at the local Register Office.
Now, you may also face the still further emotional strain of having to arrange the funeral. How do you do that?
- if your loved one had a prepaid funeral plan, all the arrangements (and the bulk of the costs) will have already been taken care of;
- if not, the first step is to decide who is going to be arranging the funeral – this is usually a member of the family or, in the absence of any relatives, a close friend;
- if there are neither relatives nor close friends, the Local Authority steps in to arrange the most basic of funerals;
- most funerals are arranged and conducted by funeral directors;
- you need to choose between a range of different options – from relatively basic to more elaborate – and the choice of course determines the price of the funeral arrangements made;
Making your own arrangements
- you do not need to employ the services of a funeral director, but may make the arrangements yourself;
- in that event, your local authority’s cremation or cemeteries department may be able to advise, although more detailed resources are available through the Natural Death Centre;
- the Natural Death Centre offers advice on all aspects of home-based funeral arrangements – from “green” or woodland burial sites to coffins made from environmentally friendly materials;
Prepaid funeral plans
- many people recognise the difficulties and anxieties surviving family members may feel about having to choose not only particular funeral arrangements, but also how much to pay for them;
- so they purchase a prepaid funeral plan which not only sets out their final wishes for the type and form of the funeral services to be performed but also pays for them in advance;
- naturally, this makes your job considerably easier;
- whether or not the services of a funeral director have been paid in advance, it is still important to confirm exactly what arrangements have been made and the price that has been paid;
- different prepaid funeral plans include different levels of the service to be provided by the funeral director, but these typically cover the cost of the coffin, transport from a hospital mortuary or where the person died to the funeral home (generally up to a radius of a given number of miles), preparing and laying out the body (although this may not cover the cost of embalming), provision of a hearse to take the body from the funeral home to the chosen burial site or crematorium, pall bearers, and some of the paperwork required for the funeral to take place;
- in addition to the services of a funeral director, you might also choose from a wide range of additional features depending on how much you are prepared to pay;
- these might include upgrading the type of coffin to be used, payment for the burial plot, cremation fees, additional cars, floral tributes, embalming, choice of venue for a reception or wake, and any memorial stone you may choose.