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How to Plan a Funeral

Planning a funeral for a loved one can be hard, but it is something that is normally expected of the next of kin. Most people in the United Kingdom will turn to a funeral director for assistance; however the next of kin will still need to make some choices to help to add personal touches to the day. Here is some guidance on how to plan a funeral.

Registering the Death

A funeral cannot normally take place until the death has been registered. In order to do this, you will require a death certificate which has been signed by a medical professional. This certificate will state the cause of death. In rare circumstances, such as those where the cause of death is disputed, the body may have to be examined by a coroner before it can be released. The death certificate must then be shown to the local Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Storing the Deceased

In most cases, the deceased will be immediately released to the family or next of kin. The majority of deceased persons are released to a funeral director who will keep the body in a chapel of rest until the day of the funeral. However, there is no requirement for the body to be kept at one of these locations. In fact, the remains of the deceased can be kept anywhere as long as public health regulations are not breached. It is possible to keep the body at home, and this option is favoured by many of those who are planning non-Christian religious funerals where special rites must be performed.

Choosing a coffin

There are hundreds of different types of coffin to choose from. A basic wooden lined coffin is the simplest option, but more exquisite options are also available.

Alternative caskets are also green-coffinbecoming more popular, including cardboard, wool, wicker, and sea grass. Coffin Covers may also be used. These are temporary covers which can be used to improve the appearance of a biodegradable coffin during the public portion of the ceremony. They can then be removed before the cremation or burial. They are a great option for those who would prefer biodegradable options but are worried about the appearance.

Choose a Celebrant and Venue

A celebrant is the person who will lead the funeral service. Many people will choose a religious leader who represents the beliefs of the deceased. In the United Kingdom, every person has the right to a funeral in their local parish church, and this will normally be led by a member of the clergy. Other faith leaders may be able to lead the ceremony for people of their religion. Alternatively, a humanist or non-religious celebrant can lead the ceremony of someone who did not hold religious beliefs.

The choice of venue and the celebrant often strongly linked. For example, if you wish for the funeral to take place in a religious venue, then a representative (vicar, rabbi etc) will normally take on the role of leading the service. If you do not want to arrange a religious ceremony, there are plenty of other options available. Most crematoria have a small chapel, hall or function suite where the service can take place. A funeral director may be able to suggest alternative venues or celebrants. Some people even choose to hold the ceremony at their own home. You will also need to decide whether you want to arrange a gathering after the ceremony.

Informing Mourners

A funeral is an important time for the friends and family of the deceased. In order for them to pay their respects at the funeral, it is important that you spread the word to tell people of the date and time. If the deceased had an address book, you may be able to use this to contact friends who might wish to attend. Being able to contact a few people will allow them to tell others in their friendship network. Alternative methods of alerting potential mourners to the date and time of the funeral include using social media accounts and placing an announcement in the local print media.

funeral-flowersFlowers

You may wish to arrange flowers or a floral tribute. Flowers are a very personal touch and you may wish to speak to a florist about creating an arrangement that perfectly represents your loved one. You can also ask other mourners to bring flowers. Some people prefer to ask for donations in lieu of flowers.

Transportation

The deceased will need to be transported to the ceremony in a safe vehicle. This is normally done in a hearse. The next of kin may also wish to arrange a funeral car or cars for close friends and family members. Funeral cars are normally able to accommodate around 6 or 7 mourners, but they add an extra cost. You may arrange alternative transportation.

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Claiming Funeral Costs in Fatal Accidents

It can be very difficult to cope when a person dies in unexpected circumstances. It can be even harder to have to think about necessary tasks like arranging and financing their funeral. Everybody deserves a proper funeral, but it can be particularly hard to know how to pay for this if the deceased was the main breadwinner in the family. However, it may be possible to sue for the funeral costs if the deceased died because of an accident or incident which was not entirely their fault. Claiming costs back from the parties who were liable for the death can help to relieve some of the financial burdens of paying for a funeral.

Compensation Claims

It is not unusual for a family to launch a compensation claim after their loved one has been killed in a fatal accident. Compensation claims are designed to cover families for any expenses that they have experienced as a result of an accident or incident which was not the fault of their loved one. These compensation claims normally cover a variety of different aspects, from cover for medical costs, through to compensation for loss of relationships. One of the aspects that it is normally possible to make a claim for is the cost of the funeral. The claimants should be able to argue that they would not have needed to cover these costs at that time if it had not been for the fatal accident or negligence.

Why should people be allowed to claim for funeral costs?

The average funeral in the United Kingdom is estimated to cost around £9,000. Even the simplest funeral and cremation packages can cost around £3000. It can be difficult for families to contemplate covering these costs when they have just lost a loved one. Paying for a funeral can leave families in debt if there is no money available from the estate of the deceased. It is only fair that families should be able to claim these costs back if they have had to hold a funeral for a loved one who was killed because of third party negligence.

Are funeral expenses always covered?

In the vast majority of case that reach court in the United Kingdom, the judge will be prepared to award funeral costs to the claimant. However, funeral costs are not always guaranteed in successful cases. There is precedent of a judge ruling in favour of the defendant in an otherwise successful claim, because the defendant’s actions did not bring the deceased’s death forward by a significant margin. Although some other costs were awarded, the judge did not award funeral costs to the claimant. A defendant may therefore be able to argue that funeral costs should not be awarded if the deceased was expected to die soon anyway. However, many lawyers do not believe that this ruling was fair and they will be prepared to produce strong cases to support the need for funeral costs to be awarded.

Do funeral cost claims always go to court?

The good news is that these types of claims do not always end up going to court. However, an independent investigation into the death may end up in a court room setting. The outcome of this investigation can be used as evidence in the claim.

When a claim is launched, the lawyer or solicitor will approach the defendant to alert them to the existence of a claim. In most cases, the claim will then be handled by the defendant’s insurance company. If the claim is very clear cut, the defendant’s insurance company will agree to pay the full value of the claim without delay. They may also try to negotiate a lower settlement based on the evidence that is available. The case should only go to court if both parties cannot agree on an acceptable settlement.

How to raise a claim which includes funeral costs

Funeral cost claims are normally launched as part of a wider claim, rather than being launched independently. If your loved one has been involved in a fatal accident or an incident that resulted in their death, you may be able to launch a larger claim for compensation. If it can be shown that the accident was not entirely their fault, then a claim can be made against the negligent party.

A lawyer or solicitor should be able to listen to the details of the incident and advise about whether a claim may be possible. They should also be able to give an estimated value of how much compensation for a death you might receive based on the details you provide. You can ask your lawyer or solicitor if their estimated claims value includes funeral costs. Most claims are launched after the funeral has taken place. Keep all of the paperwork from the funeral to provide evidence of how much the funeral cost in total.