You will need to telephone a funeral director soon after your loved one’s death, usually on the day or the day after it occurs. There may already be a pre-paid funeral plan in place which will tell you who the funeral director is going to be. He or she will make an appointment with you where your wishes will be discussed and all the arrangements for the funeral and burial or cremation can be made. If you are concerned about paying for a funeral you may be able to get help with the costs, this is called a Funeral Expenses Payment.
Funeral directors will organise appropriate funerals for people of different faiths, or you may prefer to contact your own religious leader. A funeral director will can arrange a minister for you but if you have a particular minister in mind it is advisable to contact him or her yourself to find out their availability. A civil ceremony can be arranged through a Kent County Council or East Sussex County Council civil funeral celebrant. Services can be held anywhere that is not a religious building and can include a hymn or prayer if you wish. Civil funerals can be arranged through your funeral director or contact your nearest Register Office. The British Humanist Association can arrange secular funeral ceremonies that do not include prayers or hymns or you can also ask your funeral director about this. You can arrange a funeral without the help of a funeral director. If you wish to do this, contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your Local Authority or the Natural Death Centre.
Sometimes the person who has died has a will giving details about the funeral arrangements that they would like to be made. The next of kin is not bound to carry out every wish of the person who has died. In planning a funeral service it is important to think of your own feelings and the feelings of others, as well as respecting the wishes of the person who has died. The person or your family may wish to request donations to charity, like Hospice in the Weald in lieu of flowers at the funeral. Charities can reclaim tax paid on donations if donors complete a Gift Aid form which is available from the relevant charity. Further information on this can be found here or via your funeral director.
It is important to find out if your loved one has a Will; this will say what should happen to any property and possessions and may discuss a loved ones wishes for funeral arrangements. The person who deals with everything owned by the person who dies is known as the personal representative (or the executor if there is a Will). The personal representative or executor may wish to deal with matters by themselves but a solicitor will be pleased to advise or handle the matter for you. A solicitor will make a charge for this service.