Arranging a funeral

A funeral director can arrange all aspects of the funeral service for you; they are there to give advice and support before, during and after the funeral.

Before approaching a funeral director, check that they belong to a trade association.

You can get an idea of the basic funeral director charges in your area by entering your postcode on the funeral choice website. Please note that not all funeral directors have their details on this site.

Do not make any arrangements until you are sure that the death does not have to be reported to the coroner.

More information about using a funeral director to arrange a funeral is available on GOV.UK.

Fees

Some fees will be paid on your behalf by your funeral director. Always ask your funeral director for a written breakdown of the total cost of the funeral, so that you are clear on what has to be paid and for what. If the cost of the funeral is likely to cause financial problems this can be discussed with the funeral director.

More information about the potential costs of a funeral is available from the Money Advice Service.

Often you will need to pay the funeral director before probate is granted (before there is official proof that a will is valid). It may be worth considering how to pay for a funeral in advance, if there is not enough money available to cover costs.

There are a number of ways in which the cost can be covered:

  • the deceased may have contributed to a scheme to pay for the funeral
  • an occupational or personal pension
  • a life insurance policy (assurance)
  • a pre­paid funeral plan

Funeral Payments and the Social Fund

If you are arranging a funeral and you are on a low income you may be eligible for help via a Funeral Payment.

The applicant must be in receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit. However, payment may not be awarded if an immediate family member is not receiving a qualifying benefit. Savings over a certain amount will be considered. You will receive a single lump sum payment, which must be claimed within 3 months of the funeral. If there are assets in the estate then the Social Fund will need reimbursement.

More information about Funeral Payments and the Social Fund are available on GOV.UK.

Payment from the estate of the deceased

The deceased’s bank account will be frozen unless it is a joint account. Building societies and National Savings may release money for payment of funeral expenses. However, they do not have to do this until a grant of probate or letters of administration are obtained.

Life assurance policies

Life assurance policies provide a lump sum payment if someone dies before a certain age (known as term assurance or endowment assurance) or on death at any age (whole life insurance). This is tax free and can cost as little as £1 per day.

Payment is usually made after probate, but the insurance company may pay out a limited sum on evidence of death.

Pensions and payments

There may be pensions or lump sums payable from a trade union, professional body or other association, or from a provident club which pays benefit when a member dies.

Pre-paid funeral plans

These plans are offered by funeral directors. They enable someone to set aside money solely for funeral costs. However, legislation to safeguard the money paid out has yet to be passed. You should consider carefully the plan offered by your chosen funeral director.

More information about funeral plans is on the Money Advice Service.

Funerals without a funeral director

If it is preferred, the entire funeral can be handled by the bereaved family. Such a funeral is sometimes called a 'personalised', 'independent' or 'family only' funeral.

There are various steps to take after you lose a loved one, see what to do after someone dies on GOV.UK for guidance. You may also find the Good Funeral Guide website useful when planning a funeral.

If after reading this information you still require further advice, contact York Crematorium.

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