What to do about arranging the funeral

You will need to decide:

  • where the body is to rest while awaiting the funeral
  • the time and place of the funeral
  • how much you intend to spend on the funeral
  • whether to have a funeral service, and if it should be religious
  • whether to have flowers, or to make any donations to a named charity
  • whether to put a notice in the newspapers
  • whether the body should be buried or cremated.

Check the will to see if there are any instructions for the funeral left by the deceased. It is generally up to the executor or nearest relative to decide whether the body is to be cremated or buried. The executor does not have to follow the instructions about the funeral left in the will.

If you would like an editable checklist showing choices for your own funeral, you can download a draft version here: When it’s time to say goodbye – I want ….

The funeral director will help you to decide where the body should stay until the funeral, and the starting point, time and place of the funeral.

If there is to be a service or ceremony, contact a Funeral Celebrant or minister. If you are not sure what to do or who to contact, the funeral director should be able to help you. You can choose the place for the funeral service and you may be able to choose the person to conduct the service. You do not have to hold a religious service. If you wish, you can design your own non-religious service.

You also need to decide whether you want flowers for the funeral, or perhaps donations to a named charity. If you want flowers and a cremation is planned, you can decide what should be done with the flowers. The local hospital or old people’s home may be pleased to accept cut flowers.

  • Click here for a quick guide to what to do first, and a check list to print out: What-to-do-when-someone-dies-a-check-list (death at home) or  What-to-do-when-someone-dies-a-check-list (in hospital) (word docs)
  • Age UK produce a leaflet, telling you what to do when someone dies