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:
- organising and attending funerals in Scotland
- organising and attending funerals in Wales
- organising and attending funerals in Northern Ireland
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.
If you hire a funeral director, choose a funeral director who’s a member of either:
- National Association of Funeral Directors
- The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
These organisations have codes of practice - they should give you a price list when asked.
Arranging the funeral yourself
Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.
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: