Organising the funeral

Funerals can be expensive so remember to check where the money for the funeral will come from before making any arrangements.


The deceased may have a pre-paid funeral plan. However, if the deceased does not have sufficient money in their estate to cover the cost of the funeral, the person organising the funeral will have to pay. If you are getting certain social security benefits you may be able to get a payment from the Social Fund to help pay for the funeral. If your circumstances meet the necessary criteria, you will need to complete form SF200 "Funeral Payment from the Social Fund." This is available from Registrars, your local Jobcentre Plus or social security office. You must claim within three months of the date of the funeral. For more information, see leaflet SB16 "a Guide to the social Fund".

If you elect to use the services of a funeral director, it would be advisable to obtain more than one quote to compare costs and services. A "basic simple funeral" will include a coffin, a hearse and one car. It will not include things like church or crematorium fees, flowers or newspaper notices. Check when the bill will have to be paid.


A funeral may be organised with or without the help of a funeral director, and in some cases, the deceased may have planned their own funeral in advance. If this is not the case, 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;
  • what type of service to have e.g. religious, humanist, secular;
  • whether to have flowers or to make any donations to a named charity;
  • whether to put a notice in the newspapers; and
  • whether the body should be buried or cremated.

Using a funeral director

The majority of people choose to use a professional funeral director. This can help at what is generally a stressful time and will ensure that the remains of the deceased are dealt with in a dignified way. Your funeral director can advise you about the options available to you.

Choosing a funeral director

Friends, family, clergy or your doctor may be able to recommend local funeral directors.

Most local companies are also listed in the telephone directory and are members of one of two trade associations:

  • National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD); and
  • Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)

Member firms must provide you with a price list on request and cannot exceed any written estimate they give you without your permission.

If you would prefer to have a non-religious service at the funeral, you may be able to get help with this. The Humanist Society of Scotland produces a leaflet describing its views and purposes and it can be contacted at: Humanist Society of Scotland, 272 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JR or telephone: 0870 874 9002. There are now also a number of alternative secular celebrants available to conduct funeral services.

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