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How do I plan a funeral?

PUBLISHED: 14:54 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 15 November 2018

You do not have to use a funeral director, but they can help plans run smoothly. Picture Getty Images

You do not have to use a funeral director, but they can help plans run smoothly. Picture Getty Images


Do I need a funeral director, what do they do, can I have what I want? We ask an expert to tell us where to start when we need to plan a funeral.

Talking about death isn’t something that comes easy to many of us, but it’s almost certain that at some point all of us will be involved in planning a funeral.

That may be planning ahead for our own funeral or we may have to plan the funeral of a family member or friend.

Some people presume they cannot arrange a funeral before they have the death registered, this is not the case.

You can contact your selected funeral director to start the formalities. If you have a preferred date for the funeral, mention this and the funeral director should advise if this date is possible.

The family can contact the crematorium directly and ask if their preferred date is available, before contacting the funeral director. If the funeral director cannot assist on that date, choose an alternative funeral director, advises Greg Taylor, owner of G M Taylor Independent Funeral Directors in Ipswich.

When the paperwork is complete the funeral date and time can be confirmed.


“Your funeral director will be able to explain exactly what needs to be done,” says Greg.

In the UK there is no law that states a family must use a funeral director, a family can do as much or as little as they wish. Most families will instruct a funeral director and this can make the process run as smoothly as possible.

“We are meeting people at the worst time for them, but if that time can be made a little bit easier then we have made a difference,” says Greg.


Greg advised choosing a funeral director who doesn’t press you to spend more money than you wish.

“Some funeral directors are now putting prices on their websites, some still see this as a taboo and refuse to publish a price list. Read the small print and see what is not included. Many have an all inclusive package advertised but the small print mentions add-ons, for instance an out of hours removal may incur more costs, or if Drs are required then a fee is added on. This in our eyes is not all inclusive,” he says.

Ask that if certain professional services are not used if the fees will be removed from the final cost.


“At G M Taylor Independent Funeral Directors we offer an all inclusive uncomplicated cremation funeral for under £3000 to include all fees (referred to as disbursements), a choice of coffins, hearse and one limousine, a three foot floral tribute, the minister or celebrant, the crematorium fee, the dr’s fee if needed and staff on the day including at least four bearers and the funeral director.

“If people are not having something, such as the flowers or pall bearers, they will not pay for it. We take off those costs. You should not be paying for services you are not using,” Greg says.

Choosing a funeral director with local knowledge is useful as they will know which crematorium is most suitable for the size of funeral expected, or is easier to reach.

They will also know about road works, traffic bottlenecks and local events which may be taking place on the same day as the funeral and affect travelling.

Funeral directors will guide the family through exactly what will happen on the day of the funeral itself and ensure it is what the family need.

This can include a final viewing of the deceased, arrival of transport, the flowers, the route to the funeral venue, the approximate timings and other details.


Greg says pre-paid funeral plans are becoming increasingly popular.

“It is the way forward. They are choosing the coffin, the flowers and the music when they are not upset or emotional. They can choose everything in their own time.

“Just make sure your family knows you have done one and that they know where you have put the funeral plan certificate,” he adds.

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