Registering a death
How to arrange a funeral
It is important to remember that if you go to a funeral director to arrange the funeral you are responsible for paying the bill. If you feel, after checking the deceased’s funds, insurance policies and whether or not they had arranged a prepaid funeral (a funeral bond) you will not be able to afford the funeral you should contact
Jobcentre Plus to see if you qualify for the Social Fund. If not, it might be possible for the Local Authority (for the area in which the person died) to organise and pay for the funeral. But neither the Social Fund nor the Local Authority is able to pay if you have already begun the funeral arrangements. For further information, please see our guidance on Public Health Funerals.
The role of a Funeral Director is to take care of practical arrangements for you. This means advising you of the options and choices for the funeral and seeing that arrangements are made in accordance with your wishes and those of the deceased. You will need to make an early decision about:
- whether it will be a burial or cremation
- when the service will happen (day, date and time)
- where it will happen (Church, Cremation Chapel, Cemetery Chapel, Graveside or elsewhere)
The funeral director will give a quote for the cost of the funeral, and if the next of kin feels it is too high they could ask another funeral director or two to supply quotes, so they can get the best value for money. There is no shame in this.
Funerals without a funeral director
It is also possible to organise a funeral without the help of a funeral director and the staff of the Crematorium or Cemetery of your choice should be able to help you with that. For further advice, please see The Natural Death Centre – Independent Funeral Advice
What to do when somebody dies abroad
When somebody dies abroad it would be advisable for the next of kin to contact a local funeral director in England for assistance. They will have up to date information on registering the death, transporting the deceased back here for the funeral or organising the funeral abroad.
A funeral director can also advise you on transporting cremated remains (ashes) abroad, or on bringing ashes back to England from abroad.