Funeral advice and information during the coronavirus outbreak

At an already difficult time, grieving families now face additional challenges in paying their final respects to loved ones amidst the current pandemic. The most recent advice issued by the UK government allows funeral services to continue, although there are significant changes to the format.

Along with other organisations in the funeral industry, the NAFD (National Association of Funeral Directors) have established the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG). This group is frequently in contact with government officials and cabinet members on the funeral sector’s response to COVID-19.

To try and appease some of the stresses that may arise during this challenging period of uncertainty, we have put together a list of questions and answers to hopefully address any queries about arranging a funeral at this time.

Will I still be able to arrange a funeral?

Paying your final respects to a loved one is an important part of the grieving process; therefore, funeral homes currently remain open. The bereaved will still be able to arrange a funeral for their loved one, although the service must now take place within strict social distancing guidelines and ideally, the arrangements will be made electronically (e.g. online) or over the phone. Compare funeral directors in your area.

How do I arrange a funeral if I am self-isolating or experiencing coronavirus symptoms?

To ensure everyone is doing what we can to reduce the spread of the virus, it is vital to adhere to government issued advice. If you or anyone else arranging the funeral is showing symptoms of the virus or has tested positive, please remain isolated and do not attempt to arrange a funeral in person.

Funerals can be organised online or via the telephone where possible. However, if you have to meet with a funeral director in person and have not shown symptoms, please respect the social distancing guidance:

Is there now a delay between a person’s death and the funeral service?

The space of time between death and the funeral will vary depending on:

Under the recent Coronavirus Act, the process of registering a death has been revised. Now, the funeral director is able to help with the registration, and the documentation can be submitted electronically. This should make the process of registering a death quicker and more efficient for the bereaved.

Can I still visit my loved one in a chapel of rest?

In the majority of cases, the current advice is that mourners are able to view their loved one in the chapel of rest. Although, it is important to remember that you must only visit the chapel with those who live in the same household as yourself and respect social distancing guidelines. For those who are in the at-risk category, you are advised to refrain from visiting at all.

Prior to visiting a loved one in the chapel of rest, arrangements must be made with the funeral directors to ensure certain distancing measures are put in place.

Where can the funeral be held?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the closure of all Church of England churches, as well as many other religious organisations.

The majority of crematoriums remain open, however, there are now restrictions on how many people are permitted to attend a service and how they can interact during it. For more advice on this, get in touch with your funeral director to see how these limitations may affect your service arrangements.

Families are also still able to choose between a burial or a cremation.

What is the guidance on informing people of the funeral?

It has been advised by the government not to publicly advertise the location of a funeral. This is to avoid unexpected attendees arriving for the funeral, who could be turned away at the door. Not only could this be distressing for those who are told they cannot attend the funeral, but it could also be distressing for the grieving family and put key funeral workers at risk of infection.

What are the rules in attending a funeral during the pandemic?

Whilst funeral directors are dedicated to supporting grieving families, they are equally concerned about increasing the risk of infection through large gatherings. Therefore, the social distancing guidelines must be followed at funeral services and there are restrictions on additional mourners.

In line with advice issued by the UK government, funeral services should be limited to a minimum number of attendees to try and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Ideally you should only attend if you are a member of immediate family (spouse/partner, parents/carers, siblings, children and their partners) or living in the same household.

Those who are deemed at high risk are also advised not to attend the funeral. However, if this isn’t possible, it is important to adhere to social distancing guidelines and avoid any physical contact with anyone outside of their household. If anyone considering attending is displaying coronavirus symptoms, they also must not attend.

How can additional mourners grieve?

Unfortunately, it is not recommended for additional mourners to attend a funeral service in order to reduce the risk of infection.

At an already challenging time, this can be hard for families and friends of the lost loved one. However, there are some alternative methods of commemorating those who have passed:

Group video call

Try connecting with friends and family members using Zoom, WhatsApp or various other platforms to share your favourite stories of your loved one, light candles and play some of their favourite music.

Online memorial sites

An online memorial site enables family and friends to share messages, photographs and memories of their lost loved one.

Celebration of life

Although some may be unable to attend the funeral service itself, consider planning a memorial service or celebration of life for a later date for when social distancing rules have been relaxed.

If you have any questions, it is important to talk through your options with your funeral director. You may even be able to record or live-stream the funeral service to those who cannot be there.

What happens during the funeral service?

Mourners will be asked to respect social distancing measures, remaining two metres apart from anyone not living in the same household. Attendees must also refrain from making any physical contact with anyone who lives outside of their household.

Although, things are continuously changing, so there may be other limitations such as restrictions on family bearers or charitable collections may have to be made online.

For more information on how funerals are operating at this time, visit NAFD or contact your funeral director directly.

Related links:

NAFD COVD-19 Funeral Advice

Government Advice – what you need to do

Church of England – Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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