Arrange the funeral

The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. You can pay for a funeral director to arrange the funeral or do it yourself.

You should check if the person who died had made arrangements for their funeral - this could include prepaid funeral plans or life insurance.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and attending a funeral or wake

There are restrictions on who can attend a funeral and any related events (for example a wake) because of coronavirus.

This guidance is for funerals and wakes in England. There’s different guidance on:

Who can attend

You should not attend a funeral or wake if you’re unwell with coronavirus symptoms.

You can attend a funeral of a close family member if you’re self-isolating because:

  • you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test
  • someone in your household has symptoms

If you’re self-isolating because you recently entered the UK from an amber list country or territory, you can attend a funeral of a close family member, member of your household or friend (if their close family members or members of their household cannot attend).

If you’re in quarantine because you’ve recently travelled to England from a red list country or territory, you might be able to attend a funeral of a close family member or member of your household. You must get permission from the managed quarantine hotel you’re staying in to leave the hotel.

You cannot attend a wake or other event related to the funeral if you’re self-isolating or in quarantine.

Funeral directors

If you hire a funeral director, choose a funeral director who’s a member of either:

These organisations have codes of practice - they should give you a price list when asked.

Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association and Institute of Civil Funerals can also help with non-religious funerals.

Arranging the funeral yourself

Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees
  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quote. You can get quotes from several funeral directors to see what is available within your budget.

The Money Advice Service has information about funeral costs and how to reduce them.

Paying for a funeral

The funeral can be paid for:

  • from a financial scheme the person had, for example a pre-paid funeral plan or insurance policy
  • by you, or other family members or friends
  • with money from the person’s estate (savings, for example) - getting access to this is called applying for a ‘grant of representation’ (sometimes called ‘applying for probate’)

You can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment if you have difficulty paying for the funeral.

Moving a body for a funeral abroad

You need permission from a coroner to move a body for a funeral abroad. Apply at least 4 days before you want the body to be moved.

Find a local coroner using the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales website.

There is a different process for:

  1. Step 1 Register the death

    1. Register the death within 5 days

    Check what to do if:

    To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away.

  2. Step 2 Arrange the funeral

  3. Step 3 Tell government about the death

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If you cannot use Tell Us Once, tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your spouse has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. and Check if you need to apply to stay in the UK

    If your right to live in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who died you might need to apply for a new visa.

    Check the rules if:

    1. Contact UKVI to check the rules for other visas
  7. Step 5 Deal with their estate

    You might have to deal with the will, money and property of the person who's died if you're a close friend or relative, or the executor of the will.

    1. Check if you need to apply for probate
    2. Value the estate
    3. Deal with the estate
    4. Update property records