Arranging a Funeral in Wiltshire

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A funeral has different meanings for different people. Some people leave a written record or have told family or friends what arrangements they would prefer. However, if you are unsure there are a range of decisions you will need to make and the following information may support you in to do this.

Choosing a funeral director

Arranging your own funeral

Paying for the funeral

Help paying for a funeral

Choosing a funeral director

It is important to find a funeral director who belongs to one of the professional associations, such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), as these associations have codes of practice and complaints procedures.

Funeral directors are experts in all aspects of arranging a funeral and will guide you through the decisions being made.

For help finding the nearest funeral director in your area you can call the Bereavement Advice Centre on 0800 634 9494.

Arranging your own funeral

You do not have to use a funeral director, although most people do. If you wish to make the funeral arrangements yourself you will need to contact Wiltshire Council Cemeteries and Burial Services by calling 0300 456 0100. Further information can also be found at the Natural Death website http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk.

Paying for the funeral

Yourrelative or friendmay 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 and follow the instructions on it. Similarly, they may have reserved or arranged payment for a plot in a cemetery it is important to give this information to the funeral director as soon as possible. Alternatively, an insurance policy may cover funeral costs.

If there is no funeral plan, the cost of the funeral will normally be met out of any money left by the deceased and, where money has been left, the funeral bill has the highest priority of all debts except for secured loans (such as a mortgage).

Even if the bank account of the deceased has been frozen following the death it may be possible to have funds released from a bank, building society or national savings account on showing the death certificate and funeral invoice.

Sometimes relatives may need to borrow money until the money and property are sorted out and some funeral directors will allow payment to be delayed until this has happened. Many funeral directors will require a deposit before the funeral to at least cover the costs of the disbursements which they have to pay to third parties.

Money Advice Service offers practical advice on reducing funeral costs.

Help paying for a funeral

If you are concerned that you are unable to meet the costs of the funeral, please discuss this with the funeral director when you first meet them and they will advise you.

If the person who died has not left enough money to cover the costs of the funeral and you receive any low income benefits, you may be entitled to receive help from the Department for Work and Pensions. For further details you can contact Benefits@wiltshire.gov.uk or call 0300 456 0110.

Alternatively you can contact the Bereavement Services Helpline on 0345 606 0265, or visit https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/overview for more details.