Choosing a Funeral Director

When a person dies, either the next-of-kin or an executor will need to organise a funeral. They will normally contact a Funeral Director to arrange a burial or cremation in accordance with the wishes of the deceased person.

A funeral director will help the bereaved to decide which type of funeral service is most suitable, liaise with third parties and arrange and oversee the funeral service.

There are many funeral directors, both small family businesses and larger companies and groups, in Broxtowe Borough who can provide a high standard of service to the bereaved. The funeral director may be personally known to the family, recommended by someone who previously used their services or selected from a local directory.

Charges can vary considerably and it may be appropriate to contact or visit more than one funeral director, most are members of either the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF).

When choosing a funeral director, check that they belong to a trade association. This requires them to provide full information about their services and prices, as well as meaning that they will comply with a code of practice laid down by the trade association.  Check when the funeral director’s account needs to be paid. The invoice should be itemised and clearly define the disbursements that the funeral director has made on your behalf.

The role of the funeral director:

Most people choose to engage the services of a funeral director to make the funeral arrangements on their behalf. They will do so for reasons of convenience and to ensure that the arrangements are carried out with dignity, respect and propriety.

The funeral director is there to provide a professional and sympathetic service and will ensure that the burial or cremation arrangements are carried out as specified by the next-of-kin or executor.

The funeral director usually provides:

  • A 24 hour service.
  • A private chapel of rest.
  • Pre-paid and pre-arranged funerals.
  • A choice of coffins and furnishings.
  • Special services – for example, the provision of a horse drawn hearse.
  • A hearse and matching limousines.
  • Bearers.

The funeral director will:

  • Collect the deceased person from the place of death or the mortuary.

  • meet by appointment, the executor or person arranging the funeral to discuss funeral arrangements.

  • Arrange with Bramcote Crematorium either a burial or cremation service, advising them of all relevant instructions and requirements.

  • Arrange the attendance of a minister, priest or other officiant and an organist, if required.

  • Organise the necessary disbursements, to include cemetery or crematorium fees, doctor’s fees, minister’s fees, organist fees and, if appropriate, mortuary retention fees.

  • Ensure that all necessary official documents are completed and delivered to Bramcote crematorium within the required timescales.

  • Transport the coffin and any floral tributes to the cemetery or Bramcote crematorium.

  • Ensure the funeral is carried out under the guidance of a funeral director.

Additionally, on request the funeral director will:

  • Prepare the deceased person for viewing, a procedure which may include embalming and / or cosmetic treatment.
  • Arrange for the publication of obituaries provide floral tributes.
  • Organise a collection for a named charity.
  • Arrange a suitable location for the mourners to meet following the funeral.
  • Remove the cremated remains from the crematorium, to their chapel of rest, pending a decision on their final resting place.
  • Arrange for the private burial of the cremated remains at a selected cemetery or churchyard.


  • Family and friends may use their own vehicles to meet the hearse at the church, graveside or crematorium.
  • Family and friends can be used as bearers, with instructions from the funeral director.
  • Jewellery and special clothing may be worn by the deceased, subject to cremation regulations.
  • Music can be provided by the music system, using either family CD’s or from the crematorium library or, alternatively, by an organist.
  • The funeral service can be either religious or non-religious.

Independent Funerals

It is often assumed, quite wrongly, that funerals can be arranged only with the services of a funeral director. Some people, however, find great comfort from being involved, partly or totally, in the arrangements for the funeral of a loved one.

Bramcote Bereavement joint Services do not wish to promote any particular type of arrangement and the information we provide aims to give simple advice, basic guidance and widen the choices when making funeral arrangements.

When a death occurs:

If the death occurs at home, contact the general practitioner who attended the deceased during their last illness. The GP will confirm the death and issue a certificate stating the cause of death. The GP may give you the certificate straight away or advise you to collect it from the surgery later.

If the death occurs in hospital, normally the doctor attending will issue the certificate to you or via the hospitals administration office.

When a death occurs and the doctor attending is unable to state the cause of death, or where a medical practitioner had not recently attended to the deceased, the Coroner will be informed.

Funeral Pre-Arrangement Details

The funeral is our final opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one, an occasion for family and friends to come together to support one another and an important element of the grieving process. The funeral is also important as a reflection of the person who has died, and it may be important that the funeral is meaningful to them. Bereavement Services is aware that this can only be achieved through the completion of a pre-need funeral arrangement document describing the funeral arrangements you will receive.

Funeral wishes, whether in a Will or as described below, are not legally binding, after death. It is, therefore, sensible to identify who will give instructions for your funeral, so you feel confident that your wishes will be followed. It is also helpful, and often therapeutic, if your family and friends can follow your wishes after death.

This document will enable you to price the various options. funeral-pre-arrangement-details to see what costs may arise. The costs will arise in two areas. The first is “disbursements” – the sums you will pay to doctors (for cremation), the cemetery or crematorium and the minister. The second is for the “funeral” arrangements by the funeral director. These include the cost of collecting and handling the body, the coffin, hearse and cars, and all arrangements. If you are using a funeral director, obtain some quotes as soon as you have decided what you require. In general, the more you use the funeral director, the more expensive it will become.

Keep this document with your Will, or somewhere known to the person arranging your funeral. This point is important! We have already experienced an incorrect burial which arose because the Will, which contained funeral directions, was not read until after the funeral. As the family owned a number of graves, they realised they had chosen the wrong one.

The following form is for guidance purposes only, you can amend this form however you wish, and add pages if you need to. Delete any sections that do not apply. The form can be photocopied. charterlivingwill

Help With Funeral Costs

Paying for a funeral is one of the most expensive ‘one off’ items that you will have to pay for in your lifetime.

Where financial provisions have not been made to cover the costs, there may be ways of either reducing costs or seeking assistance to meet the costs.

Assistance with the cost of funerals can sometimes be provided upon application to your local Jobcentre Plus.

The Jobcentre Plus will deal with applications which can be made by using funeral payment claim form to seek assistance in paying for some of the funeral costs.

If the applicant making the funeral arrangements lives within the Broxtowe borough, then they may make an application if they are claiming at that time one of the following: Income Support, Income Based Sub Seekers Allowance, Housing or Council Tax Benefit or Upper Limit-Child Tax Credit.

Each application will be based on its own merit and a decision will be made within days, which will enable you to make the appropriate funeral arrangements.

Pre-payment funeral plans:

Most local funeral directors have a plan whereby the funeral arrangements can be made and the current cost of the funeral is paid at the time of making the arrangements.

The money is then invested on your behalf, so that when the death occurs and the pre-arranged funeral takes place, there is no additional money to be paid following the funeral.

There are a number of national plans available and it would be advisable to call into one or two funeral directors’ premises to seek further information and advice.

Wills and Probate

Making a will

It is advisable for everyone to make a will so that when you die your money, property or possessions can be distributed according to your wishes.

If a will is not made, then the person dies intestate. This means that the decisions on how the estate is to be divided are taken out of the hands of the family and any persons involved in the administration of monies, property etc. are bound by the decisions made in law as who is to inherit.

If you need to make a will, your local Citizens Advice Bureau will assist you, or give you a list of solicitors who will be able to help you.

Probate registry office:

When someone dies you may need a grant of representation (Probate) to enable you to gain access to and deal with the estate of the deceased. If you do, or think you might, then you should either:

  • contact a solicitor who will arrange this for you (you will find local firms of solicitors in Yellow Pages).
  • you can do it yourself.

If you want to do it yourself please visit the probate website.

Welfare Funerals

The Council’s role in the undertaking of welfare funerals.

The council has a statutory duty under the provisions of Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 to undertake the disposal of deceased persons, either by cremation or burial, who die in Broxtowe Borough where no other arrangements have been made.

The council will not usually become involved if funeral arrangements have already been made or the funeral has taken place. Anyone giving instructions to a funeral director will be responsible for any costs incurred. If there are any financial limitations, then it is sensible to inform the funeral director, at an early stage, when arranging a funeral.

A cremation will be arranged by the council unless it is established that it would be contrary to the wishes of the deceased for personal or religious beliefs.

The appointed funeral director is contracted by the council to provide a dignified funeral with a coffin taken to the crematorium or cemetery in a hearse attended by bearers. The council will provide a bouquet of flowers for placing on the coffin.

However, prior to any involvement by Broxtowe Borough Council, the following needs to be considered:

A death in a hospital

If the deceased person died in a hospital managed by a Hospital Trust, then the Registration Officer of the hospital in which the person died will assume responsibility for the funeral, if no other arrangements have been made.

Relatives not able to arrange a funeral

If there are relatives who are not prepared or able to undertake responsibility for the funeral arrangements, then the council has a duty to dispose of a deceased person and to recover their costs in making the arrangements.

The nearest family member will be required to sign a disclaimer, acknowledging and agreeing that the council will collect any funds which become available to offset their costs in undertaking the funeral arrangements. Any near relatives may, therefore, be required to fund any shortfall, in order that the council’s liabilities are met.

Executors of the deceased

If the deceased made a will, the council cannot become involved in the undertaking of the funeral arrangements unless the executor revokes the will.

In order to establish who will be responsible for undertaking the funeral arrangements, a full search of the premises where the deceased formerly resided, if appropriate, will need to be made to establish whether there are any next-of-kin.

If the deceased resided in a hospital, care or nursing home, prior to death and without a private address, then there may be no property to search. However, any retained personal papers will require careful examination to establish whether next-of-kin are able to arrange the funeral.

Whilst the majority of people may be organised in the retention of legal papers, correspondence, bills, diaries etc., others are not. In many cases important documentation is put aside for safekeeping in unconventional places and a full search of the property, therefore, needs to be made.

Property belonging to the deceased

Broxtowe Borough Council have statutory authorisation to enter a property to ascertain the extent of the estate and to remove any items or assets which may assist in funding the funeral. If the Coroner is involved, then a Coroners Officer should have previously removed any valuables, money, benefit books and official documents whilst undertaking their initial investigations into the persons death.

Keys to the deceased’s property should not be left with neighbours or any other person but handed either to a Coroner’s Officer or a Police Officer.

The premises must always be made secure. In the case of properties rented from the Council’s Housing Services, a call to the relevant office will ensure a temporary secure door to the premises is provided.

Generally, after the funeral costs and administration charges have been deducted, any funds, in excess of £500, remaining from a deceased person’s estate will be forwarded to the Treasury Solicitor.

Property owners

Landlords must not enter the premises or remove any items from the property until Broxtowe Borough Council has completed enquiries. In normal circumstances, this will be undertaken without delay and the keys subsequently returned to the property owner.

Broxtowe Borough Council needs to be advised of the condition of the property(i.e. if the occupant was a known drug user, general cleanliness etc.) in order that appropriate arrangements may be made for the safety of staff who will be required to enter the property.

For more information please contact Bereavement Services.


Exhumations are generally rare and tend to be traumatic for the family involved. They can take a long time to arrange and are usually expensive. For these reasons, it is always best to consult with all the relatives before proceeding. Exhumation of both buried and cremated remains generally will require a Home Office licence.

Exhumations occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Movement from the original grave to a subsequently acquired family plot in the same or other cemetery.
  • Repatriation overseas to be buried along with other family.
  • Transfer from one cemetery scheduled for development to another.
  • Court orders requiring further forensic examination.


However, it is an offence to exhume any human remains without first obtaining the necessary lawful permissions. Funeral directors can help in obtaining these.

  • A Licence must be obtained from the Home Office. Exhumation Licences will also contain certain conditions that have to be observed.
  • If the person is buried in consecrated grounds, permission from the church in the form of a faculty must also be obtained.
  • An Environmental Health Officer must be present at the exhumation of a body to ensure that there is no threat to public health.

Decency and Safety

An Environmental Health Officer must be present at the exhumation and supervises the event to ensure that respect for the deceased person is maintained and that public health is protected. The officer will also ensure that:

  • The correct grave is opened.
  • The exhumation commences as early as possible in the morning to ensure maximum privacy.
  • The plot is screened as appropriate for privacy.
  • Health and safety of all workers is maintained, such as protective clothing including masks and gloves, task lights and all other necessary equipment.
  • Everyone present shows due respect to the deceased person and to adjoining graves.
  • The nameplate on the casket corresponds to that on the licence.
  • The new casket has been approved by the Environmental Health Officer.
  • All human remains and all the pieces of casket are placed in the new casket.
  • The new casket is properly sealed.
  • The area of exhumation is properly disinfected.
  • Satisfactory arrangements are in place for the onward transmission of the remains.

The Natural Death Centre

Established in 1991, The Natural Death Centre is a social, entrepreneurial, educational charity that gives free, impartial advice on all aspects of dying, bereavement and consumer rights.

We give support on family-organised and environmentally friendly funerals, and we run the Association of Natural Burial Grounds. Although green in outlook, we promote choice and education in all aspects of funerals.

To be redirected to The Natural Death Centre website CLICK HERE