Arranging a funeral
When arranging a funeral if the individual left a Will, the persons named as Executors will be responsible for the funeral arrangements. If no Will was left, the next of kin will take responsibility for the arrangements.
Funeral directors are on call 24 hours a day and will remove and look after the body. Decisions about the funeral won’t need to be made immediately; the funeral directors will remove the body and then you can have a follow up meeting, either in the funeral parlour or at your home.
The funeral director will help to co-ordinate a lot of the arrangements for a funeral and can contact a faith leader on your behalf. They will also liaise with the various parties such as the crematorium or the burial ground so that you don’t have the stress of trying to get everything sorted yourself.
How do I choose a Funeral Director when arranging a funeral?
If you’ve arranged funerals in the past, you may have a funeral director already in mind. If you need to find a funeral director, it’s a good idea to look for one who’s affiliated to one of the two main bodies:
Helpline: 0845 230 1343 (open Mon-Fri 9-5pm).
Helpline: 0845 230 6777 (open Mon-Fri 9-5pm)
Funeral directors are not regulated so it’s an excellent idea to make sure the one you choose belongs to one of these two bodies as there will be a Code of Conduct that they will be expected to follow.
Part of their obligation is to provide a price list so you know the cost of the various options before you have to make a choice. You may want to choose the very best for the deceased but often finances mean this isn’t possible. The funeral director is obliged to include a basic funeral in the packages they offer to help you when arranging a funeral. This should include the provision of their services to make the arrangements, local collection of the body, a simple coffin, and a hearse, presence during the funeral and at either crematorium or burial ground.
Is a Funeral Director Compulsory?
It’s entirely possible to arrange a funeral without using a funeral director if you prefer.
Can Funeral Arrangements be made in Advance
It’s been possible to make funeral arrangements prior to death, something which has been popular for many years. This doesn’t have to include payment; the majority of funeral directors are happy to hold instructions in the event that they might be needed one day.
It’s worth bearing in mind that giving funeral director instructions about what you’d like, but without making payment, does not guarantee that the wishes will be executed exactly. Without payment, there’s no requirement for the funeral directors to comply.
For this reason, paying in advance is becoming increasingly common as this creates a contract, and in doing so bestows legal obligations upon the funeral director.
One way to manage this is to take out a Prepaid Funeral Plan. These can either be purchased directly from the funeral directors or from the trade body, the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). The FPA is fully regulated and has a code of conduct which its members must abide by.
Funeral plans are considered to be a credit agreement which is covered by the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001.
One of the biggest benefits is that the cost of funerals is protected against inflation (largely) so it can work out much cheaper. However, balanced against this is the downside of paying the cash in advance and in doing so, losing out on interest which could have been payable if the money had been invested or put into a savings account.