Arrange a funeral

First steps

When arranging a loved one's funeral, find out:

  • if they've got a pre-paid funeral plan - this will set out some or all of what they'd like at their funeral
  • if they've left instructions in their will

If they haven't left instructions, you can organise the funeral yourself or use a funeral director.

Usually the next of kin or executor of the will arranges and pays for the funeral. They can then claim the costs back from the deceased person's estate. It's important to know how much money is in the estate to make sure there is enough to cover these costs.

If a person dies without next of kin, we will arrange and pay for a simple funeral.

Choosing a funeral director

There are lots of decisions to be made at this stressful time and most people choose to use a funeral director. Friends and family can sometimes recommend a good, local funeral director. The National Association of Funeral Directors or Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors must give you a price list on request.

They can't exceed any written estimate they give you without your permission.

Funeral directors can advise you in exceptional circumstances, for example, if the death happened away from home.

A list of local funeral directors is available from Preston Cemetery office.

Paying for a funeral

Any money in the deceased's bank account will usually be frozen. Funds can be released to the executor/administrator of the will to pay for a funeral. You should discuss this with the bank or building society.

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees
  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called 'disbursements' or 'third-party costs'), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quote.

The funeral can be paid for:

  • from a pre-paid funeral plan or insurance policy the person had
  • by you, other family members or friends
  • with money from the person's estate

If you are on a low income and you or your partner claim certain benefits you could get a funeral payment from the Department for Work and Pensions. You can claim from the date of death to three months after the funeral. The amount of the payment will usually be claimed back from the deceased person’s estate.

Find out more at GOV.UK.

To claim a funeral payment, download and complete the SF200 form from the website and take it to your local Jobcentre Plus or phone the bereavement helpline on 0345 606 0265.

If a person dies without next of kin, we will arrange and pay for a simple funeral. We will reclaim the cost of the funeral from any available assets the deceased person might have.

The funeral will cover the costs of a simple service and a small posy of flowers. No cars or announcement in the press will be paid for.

Religious ceremonies

A religious ceremony is normally arranged through your local church or place of worship, but your funeral director may be able to put you in touch with the appropriate representative. Most religious funerals follow a set pattern of prayer, hymns and readings followed by the committal.

Civil ceremonies

A civil ceremony is driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family, not by the beliefs or ideology of the person conducting the funeral. This means that members of the Institute (known as Civil Funeral Celebrants) conduct non-religious funeral ceremonies as well as funeral ceremonies including religious material, if this is preferred by the deceased or bereaved.

Humanist ceremonies

A humanist funeral is more appropriate for those who didn't live to religious principles or accept religious views of life or death. A humanist funeral or memorial ceremony recognises no ‘after-life’ and celebrates the life of the person who has died. Proper tribute is paid to them, with emphasis to the life they lived, the connections they made and have left behind.

A humanist ceremony allows friends, relatives and acquaintances to express their feelings and share their memories. Humanist celebrants will be sensitive to your wishes, but ready to give clear guidance and answer questions when required.

They are familiar with cremation and burial procedures and empathise with the experience of bereavement.