Independent Funerals

Funeral directors

Funerals are often organised by a funeral director. They would typically arrange for:

  • the collecting and moving of the body,
  • embalming and viewing of the deceased,
  • providing a coffin, hearse and other elements.

Carrying out these services relieves the bereaved from doing what they may feel are unpleasant and difficult tasks.

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Organising funerals yourself

Although a funeral director will be invited to organise the majority of funerals, some people prefer to organise funerals themselves. This can be for a wide variety of reasons. Some people feel that passing the body of a loved one to a stranger is wrong or that personally organising the details of the funeral is their final tribute to the deceased person. Others may simply wish to save money by doing everything themselves or may have used a funeral director in the past and found the experience unsatisfactory. It is your right to make the decision without giving a reason.

The entire funeral can be handled by the bereaved family and charter members are able to assist in facilitating this. Such a funeral is referred to as an Independent Funeral or 'Personalised' Funeral. Currently many funeral directors will not offer a hearse for use, unless the entire funeral package is purchased, however it may be helpful to seek advice from them. Consequently, personalised funeral arrangers often use their own vehicles or hire vans in lieu of a hearse.

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Other options

It is possible that the dominant and traditional role of funeral directors is diminishing, as new approaches are sought. A new type of 'green' funeral director is emerging, promoting bio-degradable coffins and a more personal approach.

Funeral facilitators are also appearing. They are people who will assist the bereaved in organising a funeral for a fee. They may offer a vehicle to carry the coffin and assist in handling the body.

Other people, such as nurses, may offer laying-out or body preparation services, to avoid people having to do this themselves. This may be particularly relevant when a person dies at home within a 'hospice at home' scheme. These changes are evidence of a return to past times, when various members of the community helped in the completion of a funeral.

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Page last updated:

March 8, 2023

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