When the death certificate has been issued by the Registrar, you will also be given a certificate authorising the funeral. The choice of a firm of funeral directors is important as you should feel comfortable and confident with them. They may be known to you personally, may be recommended by a friend, your GP or religious adviser or may just have a good reputation in your area.
Local funeral directors
You can search for local Funeral Directors in the Yellow Pages.
The Funeral Standards Council and the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors all have a code of practice and should give you an estimate of costs - their own and those fees they will pay on your behalf and add to the account. You can ask for this estimate in advance and it's a good idea to ask different firms to quote so that you can compare costs.
The municipal funeral service
We have obtained a competitive tender from Bury Co-Op, who have agreed to provide a low cost dignified funeral. This funeral will be the same as any other funeral service arranged by the company.
Bury Co-Op, 22 Silver Street, Bury, BL9 OEX. Phone: 0161 764 4177.
The service is available to anyone who has to arrange a funeral for a deceased resident of the borough who is to be buried at one of the cemeteries within the borough or cremated locally:
- Bury Cemetery, St Peter's Road, Bury
- Ramsbottom Cemetery, Cemetery Road, Ramsbottom
- Radcliffe Cemetery, Cemetery Road, Radcliffe
Included in the funeral service:
- Collection of the deceased from within the Borough or within a 10 mile radius of the Borough boundary
- Embalming, dressing and a place at the funeral director's chapel of rest, with normal viewing facilities
- All arrangements at the cemetery
- A hearse and one limousine
- The funeral service
- An oak veneer coffin with engraved nameplate and handles with lining throughout
- Transport of the deceased and immediate family to church or chapel prior to burial or cremation.
Where a family desires additional services to those listed above, for example, additional cars, press notices, floral tributes, they will pay extra for these services. The removal of the deceased after working hours or during weekends and bank holidays would also incur additional charges.
Your funeral director can make all the arrangements for the funeral, burial or cremation, religious or secular service. The funeral director can also advise on all the procedures and documents needed to register the death.
If you are considering a headstone most cemeteries will advise to wait for a period of approximately six months before placing it. However, we suggest you contact your preferred choice of monumental mason as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delay after this waiting period.
If you have to arrange a funeral for someone who is of a faith different from your own, it is important to contact the equivalent of the local priest of the denomination to find out what needs to be done.
Although a funeral director will be invited to organise the majority of funerals, some people prefer to organise funerals themselves.
The funeral director typically organising the funeral by collecting and moving the body, arranging embalming and viewing of the deceased, providing a coffin, hearse and other elements. Carrying out these services relieves the bereaved from doing what they may feel are unpleasant and difficult tasks. Ultimately, the funeral director must operate commercially and in charging for his or her services, funerals can be expensive. In addition, the funeral director imposes him/herself on the arrangements to a greater or lesser degree.
Some people do not wish to use a funeral director. This can be for a wide variety of reasons. They may feel that passing the body of a loved one over to strangers is wrong. Some feel that personally organising a funeral is their final tribute to the deceased person. Others may simply wish to save money by doing everything themselves or may have used a funeral director on a previous occasion and found the experience unsatisfactory. Some may feel that funerals arranged with a funeral director are routine and processed, and some may desire an innovative and different approach. It is, of course, your right to make this decision without giving a reason.
The entire funeral can be handled by the bereaved family and charter members are able to assist in facilitating this. Such a funeral is referred to as 'Personalised' or 'Independent', rather than the possibly offensive term 'DIY' funeral. These funerals will be different because traditional funeral elements may be unobtainable. Currently, many funeral directors will not sell coffins separately, neither will they offer a hearse for use, unless the entire funeral package is purchased.
Consequently, personalised funeral arrangers use their own vehicles or hire vans in lieu of a hearse. They may also make their own coffin or use a biodegradable type.
These actions often attract comments that such funerals lack 'dignity'. It is important to refute this comment. Firstly, dignity is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as 'true worth' and where a personalised funeral accords with the wishes of the deceased or the bereaved, it obviously possess this quality. Secondly, dignity is too often ascribed to standard set by commercial organisations. Consequently, using this argument, the more you spend, the more dignity you can obtain. This is evident in funerals, where the use of a Rolls Royce hearse is perceived to possess a higher level of dignity than, say, a Ford hearse. It is important not to allow such sentiments to deny any individual the right to arrange a funeral without commercial involvement. Funerals arranged by the bereaved contain a far higher personal input, which evokes more emotion and often celebrates the life of the deceased in a more moving and individual way.
It is possible that the dominant and traditional role of funeral directors is diminishing, as new approaches are sought. A new type of 'green' funeral director is emerging, promoting bio-degradable coffins and a more personal approach. Funeral facilitators are also appearing. They are people who will assist the bereaved in organising a funeral for a fee. They may offer a vehicle to carry the coffin and assist in handling the body. Other people, such as nurses, may offer laying-out or body preparation services, to avoid people having to do this themselves. This may be particularly relevant when a person dies at home within a 'hospice at home' scheme. These changes are evidence of a return to past times, when various members of the community helped in the completion of a funeral.
There is no requirement to have a religious ceremony, or any kind of ceremony at all at a funeral. People that regard religion to be unimportant or have made a decision to live their lives without it may prefer a Humanist Ceremony.
This type of ceremony is not intended to oppose a religious funeral, but to provide a dignified and respectful celebration of the death that has occurred. At this type of funeral the services of an officiant, on the lines of a minister or celebrant are commonly employed. They will conduct the proceedings which can involve readings of appropriate prose, tributes by attendees or the officiant and the playing of appropriate music.
The British Humanist Association web site offers advice on all aspects of humanist ceremonies and produce a booklet Funerals Without God: A Practical Guide to Non-religious Funerals which can be purchased for £5 (including postage and packing).
Celebrants are trained professionals who can officiate at funerals, weddings, namings or any other rite of passage. For more information on celebrancy visit Celebrancy web site.
If you don't want a ceremony at all, members of the family or close friends can attend the committal, which can be in silence or with some music being played.