It might be comforting to plan your own funeral. Making decisions about what type of service you would or wouldn’t like; where you will be buried or your ashes scattered, and what music and words will accompany you should give you some peace of mind and it will also be immensely helpful for your family and friends to know that you are being cared for as you would wish.

You may choose to keep your plans as a simple list that you can update from time to time, or you may want to plan your funeral in its entirety by talking to local funeral directors to find out what all your options are.

Whatever approach you take, write everything down and make sure you let your loved ones know what you have in mind, or where you have stored your wishes.

How will your funeral be paid for?

The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK in 2022 was just over £4,000. This would include employing a funeral director and the costs of a coffin, hearse and the funeral administration together with any burial or cremation fees and celebrant’s fees.

If you want more than a basic funeral, for example where friends and family gather together after the funeral to drink a toast or enjoy a time to reminisce over a cup of tea, the venue and catering would cost more. The Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2022  says that the average cost of dying in 2022, which includes the funeral, professional fees and send-off costs is £8,864.

When it comes to paying for a funeral, if there is sufficient money in your estate, your family can use that money to pay for your funeral, if they choose to. Alternatively, you might want to look at buying a funeral plan.

You can pay for a funeral plan with a one-off payment or pay monthly instalments over a number of years. You can also choose between different types of funeral plan, ranging from basic to standard to comprehensive, but bear in mind that some things you would like to have at your funeral might not be covered in a prepaid plan.

Read Which? Money’s Funeral plans explained  for further information, including the pros and cons of purchasing a plan, comparisons of funeral plan providers and how to buy a funeral plan.

What will your funeral be like?

Depending on your budget and how much detail you feel able or wish to think about, here are some questions to help you plan your own funeral.

  • Do you want to be buried or cremated? You might want to look into purchasing a burial plot.
  • Is a green burial important to you?
  • Do you have a specific funeral director you would like to use?
  • Do you want a religious element at your funeral? Or are you more interested in a humanist ceremony?
  • What sort of a coffin, casket or urn would you like to be buried in for your ashes?
  • What atmosphere do you want at your funeral?
  • Are there meaningful readings or poems that you would like to share?
  • Is there any special music you would like played? Or songs sung?
  • Do you want a close family member or friend (or several of them?) to say something about your life? You may want to ask them in advance if they would be comfortable talking about you in this way?
  • Do you have specific photographs that you would like displayed at your funeral or the reception? If so, you might want to put them into a digital folder and share this online with someone you trust.
  • What sort of reception would you like? Is there a particular venue you would like it held at or would you like it at your home?
  • Do you want to be memorialised with a headstone? What would it be made of? What would it say?
  • Do you want to write your own obituary?
  • Do you want to leave personal letters to family and friends?

Share your thoughts

Once you have made your plans and written them down, together with any personal notes and letters that you would like opened after your death, store them somewhere safe, such as in a secure safe box at home, or with your solicitor. Alternatively, make a few copies of your plans and give them to trusted family members or friends to be opened after your death.

Related pages

  • Making a will: ensure that you have your estate protected for those people you leave behind and know that your wishes will be upheld.
  • Lasting Power of Attorney: ensure you have these important legal documents set up in good time and while you are able to make your own decisions.
  • Talking about dying: death is one of the most difficult subjects to discuss with family and friends; here we give some ideas on how to start the conversation.

The EPiC Resource Centre is kindly sponsored by Cleenol: working for a cleaner, safer, kinder world.