Do I have to use a Funeral Director?
Although most funerals in the UK are arranged through a Funeral Director, there is no legal requirement to do so. Anyone can organise and arrange a funeral themselves.
When someone passes away, most families do seek help from a local Funeral Director to arrange a funeral for their loved one. Arranging a funeral without a Funeral Director can appear daunting, not least from a practical point of view, but also from an emotional standpoint. It is of course, your right to make the decision as to whether you use a Funeral Director or not.
You may be wondering, what does a Funeral Director do? We’ve explained this as well as how you can arrange a funeral without a Funeral Director below.
What does a Funeral Director do?
A Funeral Director will typically collect your loved one from the place of rest and arrange for their care in their mortuary facilities, make arrangements for the cremation or burial, help you organise a funeral service and provide professional guidance throughout the planning process.
Funeral Directors take a lot of time and care to organise every funeral, which will be reflected in the price. Their fees typically make up the majority of the cost of a basic funeral.
Funeral Directors fees usually include:
- a coffin
- a hearse
- collection and care of the deceased
- professional guidance from the Funeral Director to assist with the completion of the necessary paperwork
The services you receive will vary, however, from provider to provider. This doesn’t usually cover the cost of the cremation, burial fees or doctor's fees which could be an additional £1,200 depending on where you may be in the UK.
Some Funeral Directors will provide detailed information about their services and prices on their websites although the overall cost of the funeral will depend on a number of factors including if it's a burial or cremation and any additional services you may arrange.
For reference, the average cost of a basic funeral arranged by a Funeral Director (including the cost of the cremation or burial itself, the doctors certificate and a minister or officiant) is £4,184* in the UK.
Learn more about average funeral costs.
How to arrange a funeral without a Funeral Director
There are several reasons people do not wish to use a Funeral Director to arrange a funeral for a loved one.
Some families may feel that taking greater responsibility for the funeral is a final tribute to their loved one, others may have used a Funeral Director on a previous occasion and received unsatisfactory service, and others are simply looking for a more affordable funeral option.
We’ve explained how you can arrange a funeral without a traditional Funeral Director below.
Arranging a funeral yourself
Some families arrange a ‘DIY funeral’ and take care of all funeral arrangements themselves, although this is a decision that should not be taken lightly.
Although most aspects of a funeral are relatively straightforward, difficulties may arise because of the emotional strain on the bereaved, the lack of experience in caring for someone who has died and the lack of knowledge about the paperwork required.
The most important thing to consider is how you will care for your loved one until the day of the funeral. Funeral Directors will have professional refrigeration facilities to do this.
When arranging a funeral yourself, you will also need to consider:
- Registering the death
- Purchasing a coffin
- Booking the crematorium or cemetery
- The required legal paperwork
- Arranging a funeral ceremony if you want one
- Transportation of the deceased
A DIY funeral can save on funeral costs, although families do so for more than just this reason. Some people feel it helps with the grieving process, giving them closure on the loss of their loved one.
Read our guide to DIY funerals for more information.
Arranging a Cremation with Simplicity
If you’re planning on arranging a funeral without a Funeral Director but are uncomfortable with the concept of a DIY funeral, a Simplicity Cremation could be the answer.
A Simplicity Cremation is arranged over the telephone by our expert team of funeral arrangers, without any face-to-face involvement with a Funeral Director, allowing you to arrange the funeral from the comfort of your own home. All it takes is a few phone calls, helping save your valuable time and what will likely be a stressful period for you and your family.
When arranging a cremation with Simplicity, there is also the potential to save money too. In comparison to a traditional funeral arranged by a Funeral Director.
Our funerals start at £995 and take care of the practicalities of a simple cremation including:
- Cremation fees
- Doctor’s fees
- Collection from the place of rest a few days prior to the cremation
- A simple dark wood-effect coffin
- Transportation on the day of the cremation
- Guidance from our expert team of funeral arrangers
- Access to bereavement counselling, if required
Families opt for arranging a funeral without a Funeral Director for a number of reasons, for example to arrange a fitting goodbye for a loved one without the obligation to pay for traditional ceremonial elements that they may not feel are necessary. Our funerals do not include a procession, the provision of a hearse and limousines or a team of pallbearers, unlike most traditional funerals. We will simply care for the loved one and ensure the cremation is carried out respectfully.
Our funeral packages
We offer 3 simple funeral packages, allowing you to choose the service that will suit your needs and budget, from an unattended direct cremation, a small funeral for just a few close friends and family or a larger funeral with a family-led service.
Unattended Funeral from £995 – An Unattended Funeral is a dignified direct cremation that takes place without any mourners present and without a funeral service. Families who opt for this type of funeral often choose to hold a celebration of life or memorial service in honour of their loved one at a time and place away from the crematorium.
Intimate Funeral from £1,395 – An Intimate Funeral allows a small group of family and friends (up to 12 people) to spend a short time in the crematorium chapel for a few moments of private reflection. You can also play a piece of music of your choice.
Attended Funeral from £1,895 – The Attended Funeral provides time in the crematorium chapel for a service, as you would have with a traditional funeral. You will have the option to lead the service yourself, or engage with a local minister or officiant.
Whichever package you choose, you can rest assured a crematorium attendant will be there on the day to ensure everything runs smoothly.
See our funeral prices for full information on our funeral packages.
*SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021