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Arranging a Funeral Through a Funeral Director

Before contacting a Funeral Director to organise a funeral, you must be aware of your rights and options, understand the role the Funeral Director will take and how to choose the right one for you, know what a funeral includes and about the different and varying costs and sources of help available to you and how to submit a complaint if you find the services provided to you are not adequate.

Your Rights and Options

The main requirements in England and Wales are that the death must be certified by a Doctor or Coroner, registered with a Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, and that the body is either buried or cremated.

You are not required to:

  • Have a funeral ceremony
  • Use a religious minister
  • Use a Funeral Director
  • Hold a ceremony in a Crematorium or place of worship

The choice of a Woodland Burial and other green options are becoming more readily available and popular.

The majority of people choose to make funeral arrangements through a Funeral Director but some do decide upon a family managed funeral to make the service more personal and to save on expense. A guide to family managed funerals is provided in this booklet and some Funeral Directors are willing to help with and advise on such funerals. 

The right to possession of a deceased’s body falls to the Executor or Administrator of the deceased’s estate, or in the absence of either, the right falls to the next of kin.

The Role of and How to Choose A Funeral Director

The role of the Funeral Director is to organise and manage funeral arrangements and give advice and support to the bereaved family.

When choosing a Funeral Director, ensure that you enquire whether or not they belong to a Trade Association; as this requires them to provide full information on their services and prices.

Factors that may influence your choice of Funeral Director are:

  • Location of their premises
  • Their range and cost of services available to you
  • The way you are treated by the staff
  • Reviews of those who have used their services before
  • Whether the business is family run or commercially owned

What A Funeral Includes

Most Funeral Directors would provide the following services as a minimum:

  • Make all the necessary arrangements
  • Provide appropriate levels of staff
  • Provide a suitable coffin
  • Transference of the deceased from the place of death to their premises
  • Care for the deceased prior to the funeral
  • Provide a hearse to the Cemetery or Crematorium
  • Arrange for either the burial or cremation

Embalming, viewing of the deceased and the provision of a limousine are all optional extras. Further information on embalming can be obtained from the Cemetery Office or alternatively from our Cemetery Forms and Leaflets page.

Funeral Costs and Financial Help Available

Costs may vary considerably between different Funeral Directors and it is advisable to get a number of quotes stating the overall cost and detailing all disbursement fees before making a final decision. Disbursements are fees paid to others, i.e. for crematorium use, doctors certificates, newspaper announcements, flowers etc.

If you arrange a funeral then you are responsible for covering the costs so ensure you know where the funds are coming from first. Funeral payments are normally recoverable from the deceased’s estate but you must get this confirmed.

If you are finding it difficult to cover the costs then you may be liable to get a Social Fund Funeral Payment, providing you or your partner receive one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Disabled tax credit
  • Working family’s tax credit

How To Submit A Complaint

If you find the service provided to you to be less than satisfactory you should contact your Funeral Director. If the response you receive back is not acceptable then you need to complain to their Trade Association, either:

  • The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
  • The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
  • Funeral Standards Council (FSC)

The Funeral Ombudsman Scheme (FOS) deals with complaints that cannot be resolved at Trade Association involvement. However complaints relating to members of NAFD are dealt with by their own independent Client Redress Scheme. Your local Trading Standards Department will also offer advice and assistance in the case of a complaint.

Contact Details:

National Association of Funeral Directors
618 Warwick Road
West Midlands
B91 1AA
Telephone No.: 0845 230 1343

The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
SAIF Business Centre
3 Bullfields
CM21 9DB
Telephone No.: 0845 230 6777 or 01279 726 777

Funeral Standards Council
30 North Road
Telephone No.: (029) 20382046

Funeral Ombudsman Scheme
Old Brewery Court
156 Sandyford Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone No.: 0191 230 5554

For further assistance please contact the Cemetery Office.

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