How to arrange a funeral yourself

coffin with flowers on top

Thinking about arranging a funeral yourself without a funeral director?

It will take you more time but it could save you money. It could also help you personalise the funeral for the person who has passed away. We’ve put together this info to help you decide whether DIY funeral arrangements are the best option for you. And if so, how to get started.

Do you have to use a funeral director?

No, you don’t have to use a funeral director. Anyone can arrange a funeral themselves in the UK. But there are some legal requirements you need to follow.

You’ll need to:

Get a medical certificate

You’ll need to get in touch with your local hospital or a doctor to give you this. It explains the cause of death, unless the doctor needs to pass this onto a coroner. If this happens, and the coroner needs to carry out a post-mortem make sure you communicate the religious beliefs of the person who died. You can’t stop a post-mortem but you can make sure your beliefs are respected. You’ll be able to register the death once the coroner passes on the death certificate to your local registry office.

Important: If you’re arranging a cremation yourself then you’ll need to get additional medical certificates from the doctor at this stage. It’s also a good idea to get several copies of all certificates – being organised will help to take the stress out of arranging the funeral yourself.

Register the death

Once you have the medical certificate, you must register the death. This must be done within 5 days of the death (8 days if you’re in Scotland) unless a post-mortem is carried out.

Find your local registry office and make an appointment online. Take the medical certificate with you and the registrar will take you through the process. Afterwards you’ll be given a certificate for burial or a cremation certificate.

Important: Don’t set a final date for the burial or cremation until you’ve registered the death. This is because if a post-mortem is needed, you’ll usually have to wait a bit longer before you can have the funeral.

Organise a burial or cremation

Arranging a burial

If you’re planning on a burial you’ll need to find out who the owner of the cemetery is so that you can make the arrangements and get costs. This could be your local authority or it could be privately owned.

Either way, you’ll need the certificate for burial. You’ll also need to check whether there are any rules about what you can do with the burial plot, for example, are there any limits on which types of headstone can be used?

If you’d like the burial plot to be on private land (such as a garden) you’ll need to get more legal advice. This is because the burial may need to be added to the property’s deeds. You may even need planning permission. It’s best to speak to a solicitor to make sure.

Arranging a cremation

If you choose to organise a cremation you’ll need to fill out an application for cremation to give to the crematorium. You’ll also need to give them the medical certificate and the cremation certificate that you were given at the registry office. The crematorium should help you with any forms you need to fill out.

Important: You’ll need to let the crematorium know if the person who died had any surgical implants such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. This could be a health and safety risk during the cremation.

Arranging a funeral yourself:

What else do you need to think about?

Now that you know the legal rules, there are several other things you’ll need to think about if you’re making DIY funeral arrangements.

You’ll need to look after the body. If the person died in hospital the staff can usually take care of them temporarily. But if the person died at home, you’ll need to take care of them yourself, keeping the body cool. You may want to pay for a chapel of rest – the body can be kept here and family can visit if that’s what you’d like.

Choose a coffin. Keep in mind that you may need to get a particular type of coffin depending on whether you decide on a burial or a cremation. Ask the burial authority or the crematorium which type of coffin is best.

Decide how to transport the body without a funeral director. You’ll need to collect the person who died, place them in the coffin, and transport them to either the burial plot or the crematorium. You don’t need to use a hearse but the vehicle should be large enough for you to get the body/coffin in and out easily.

Plan the funeral service. You don’t have to hold a funeral service. However, if you’d like to organise one, you’ll need to:

There’s also a wide range of other things you might want to include in the service, such as flowers, music and an order of service.

For a more detailed look at planning the service, read our guide on how to arrange a funeral.

Get more help with arranging a funeral

Remember – if you decide that arranging a funeral yourself is too much, you can get a funeral director to help. You can find a funeral director near you and compare funeral costs with our directory.

 

 

Photo by Mayron Oliveira on Unsplash

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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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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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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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