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BEREAVEMENT GUIDE • Carry out an embalming service if desired

• Provide a hearse to the cemetery or crematorium

You can arrange a funeral without the help of a funeral director. If you choose to do this, contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local authority for advice and guidance. You can also get help and information from The Natural Death Centre. 8. FUNERAL COSTS The person who arranges the funeral is

responsible for paying the final bill and it is important to know where the money for the funeral will come from. The person who died may have taken out a pre-paid funeral plan, paying for their funeral in advance. It is important to check their personal papers to see if they had a plan. If they did, this should cover the whole cost of the funeral. If there is no funeral plan, the cost of the

funeral will normally be met out of any money left by the person who had died and, where money has been left, the funeral bill should be paid before any other bills or debts. Even if the person’s bank account has been

frozen following the death, it may be possible to have funds released from a building society or National Savings account on production of the death certificate. The person may also have had an insurance

policy which will cover funeral costs. In other cases, relatives may need to borrow money until the person’s money and property are sorted out. Some funeral directors will allow payment to be delayed until this has happened. Some people do not leave enough money to

pay for even a simple funeral. If this happens, the person arranging the funeral will have to pay for it, although other relatives or friends may be willing to contribute. There is no general death grant, but if you are in this situation and you receive a means-tested social security benefit (such as income support) you may be able to get a payment from the social fund (known as a funeral payment) to cover the cost of a simple funeral. However, even where a

funeral payment is made, it may not cover the full cost of the funeral and you may still have to pay the difference. 9. SHARING PLANS Once all the arrangements are in place make

sure everyone knows the details and invite any contributions to the ceremony. You may want to specify any special requests – such as ‘wear bright clothes’ or ‘family flowers only’ or notify of a preferred charity for donations. Some people put a notice in the local or

national papers to announce the death and detail where and when the funeral is and whether it is public or private. This works for broad notification and is often tradition in a small community, but it doesn’t guarantee key invitees find out. 10. CEREMONY The tone and mood of a funeral is set by the family, the ceremony itself and the wishes of the person who has died. It’s worth asking friends, family and workmates for contributions - memories, highlights, favourite songs or music. Even partners of many years will have parts of their life that the other doesn’t know well. It is not uncommon for a person who has

died to leave instructions for a ‘happy’ funeral. They might ban the wearing of black and they may select up-tempo or even humorous music. The eulogy, too, may be as uplifting or amusing as it is sad. Some would wish to treat the occasion with solemnity; others as a celebration. Religious faith, personal beliefs or a lack of faith may all influence the way a person views death, and the way that person feels the ceremony should proceed. If you are planning something out of the

ordinary then it is wise to let the mourners know in advance of the day. Whilst it is your occasion to organise, other mourners are attending because they too wish to celebrate or reflect on the life of the deceased. Finding the funeral to be very different from the one they were expecting could distress them further at a difficult time.

Column pictures top – bottom: Composition by, Music notes 1 by am-y@sxc. hu, Reflections by, wooden heart by Bottom right: Boy & the Bench by


Farewell Magazine

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