Pre-planning your funeral

Planning your funeral in advance can bring peace of mind and financial security. Choosing to take out a 'pre-paid' or pre-payment' funeral plan can alleviate any worries that your relatives may have about the financial aspect. By making your preferences known, you can relieve the stress of your family having to make difficult decisions, and help them to achieve a fitting tribute in your memory. Organising a funeral may seem stressful but you can make the plan as simple or complex as you want.

Putting plans in place

One of the easiest ways of setting out your wishes is in your will. If you have already made a will then you will probably need to revoke it and create a new one.Talk to your solicitor about creating, revoking or amending your will. If you do not have a will, you can still leave instructions for your family and inform them of plans that you have already put in place. The details should be in writing and should be signed and dated. If you decide to enlist the help of a funeral director, ensure that you discuss any particular aspect of the preparations that you would like. Many people welcome the opportunity to pass on some of the responsibility to a funeral director, who will dedicate their time to looking after your interests with professionalism and sensitivity.

Specific requests

You can make sure the funeral reflects your wishes and choose to design every element of the funeral if this is what you want. Tailoring the funeral to your specific needs means not only can you choose your type of funeral plan but by doing so, you can simplify the funeral process for your relatives.

If you have specific requests about the plans for your funeral, such as where to be buried or where you would like your ashes to be placed, make sure you tell your family. You may arrange to reserve a grave space in a churchyard or cemetery for full internment or internment of the ashes.

If you belong to a particular religion and want a religious service, ask the minister or religious organisation for advice. Types of funerals include woodland burials, and themed funerals such as a motorcycle hearse or the inclusion of a piper in the service.

You may want to organise a memorial such as a headstone or monument. Bear in mind that woodland burial sites may only allow tree or plant memorials. See Woodland Burials for more information.

If you would like a service to be held, it is worth noting that there are no legal constraints regarding where a service is held or who leads it.  This means that should a family member wish to lead the service, they may do so. 

The service can also be held at a graveside or in your home. You can choose the readings, eulogy/address, music, any hymns, poems, and who you would like to officiate the service. For the funeral tribute, decisions may also include what type of flowers you would like or alternatively, you could ask for charitable donations. Other decisions may include what kind of reception you want after the funeral and the plans for catering. The funeral director should be able to advise on any special requests.


Making arrangements before you die can be of great help to your family, relieving your relatives of the financial burden and ensuring there is enough money to cover the cost of the funeral. The cost associated with arranging a funeral has risen above the general rate of inflation for the past few years, with the average funeral in the UK now costing around £3,000. Paying for a funeral in advance - at today's prices - may save you and your relatives some money in the long term. Make sure you read the small print of your payment plan to guarantee that all fees will be paid when the funeral has to be arranged, such as costs of burial or cremation.

A pre-paid funeral plan is available from your funeral director, a number of insurance companies and specific funeral plan companies. You can normally pay for the plan in instalments or in a lump sum. If you do not want to pay for your funeral in advance, you can always keep a fund or invest in a savings account as a contribution to help your relatives manage the funeral expenses.

If probate is required, your family may not be able to access this money immediately and may have to pay for the funeral themselves in the short term.

Relatives may find the prospect of comparing prices quite stressful, when organising a funeral for a loved one.  This may be something you could do yourself to help your family.

For more information, click here Average Cost of a funeral

Choosing your plan

Make sure you satisfy yourself of the following before entering into any plan:

  • How long will I have to pay this for?
  • Will I be able to keep making the monthly payments?
  • Does the plan cover everything I need?
  • Can I change the plan?
  • Is my money protected if you stop trading?
  • What happens if I die before I have finished paying the instalments?

Tell your family

Important: Make sure your relatives know about your wishes and how to access the relevant paperwork. If you have paid for your funeral in advance, it is essential that your family are aware of the plan. Leaving the details in your will can prevent a delay for your relatives in determining the pre-payment plan. Make sure you keep a copy of the will at home, and inform a member of your family where to find it.

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