Many people believe that a funeral is an important first step in coming to terms with the loss of someone and grieving for the person who has died.
A good funeral director aims to ensure that the funeral arrangements enable families to focus on their loss, whether they choose to remember the person who has died with a celebration of their life or choose a service that reflects the sadness of their loss.
No one wants to have to arrange a funeral at what is already a difficult time. If you do, having an understanding of what is involved and how to deal with problems will help.
Most funerals are arranged by the nearest relatives and if not by a close friend. If there is no one, the local or health authority will arrange a simple funeral.
The person may have left instructions about the type of funeral and burial they wanted. There is no legal obligation for these instructions to be followed, but they usually are. Most funerals are arranged through a funeral director.
You can arrange a funeral without a funeral director. If you want to do this, the Natural Death Centre can offer excellent information and guidance, or Shetland Island Council bereavement services department can offer help with purchasing and opening lairs in cemeteries.
If you arrange the funeral with a funeral director, you're responsible for the costs. You should ask to see a price list before choosing a funeral or explain how much you have to spend and see what services are possible.
The person who died might have paid for their funeral already. This is called a funeral plan. If you don’t know if there’s
a funeral plan, you can check for a will or alternatively ask the person’s close friends and relatives.
Once you've chosen the funeral, you should be given a written estimate giving a breakdown of all of the costs involved, ask for one if it's not provided.
You may need to sign a contract with the funeral director. Please make sure you read it carefully and ask the funeral director about anything you don’t understand.