Although it is common to use a Funeral Director to make arrangements such as moving and preparing the body, arranging embalming and viewing of the deceased, providing a coffin and a hearse, it is not a requirement to use one and not all people do.

People choose to arrange independent funerals for a variety of reasons. They may not want the body to be touched by a stranger, or they wish to have a more personal funeral, or they may see it as a tribute to the person who died. Whatever a person’s reason for arranging an independent funeral, it is their right to do so and they are not required to provide a reason.

Alternatives to Funeral Directors can be Funeral Facilitators who will assist the bereaved, but are more flexible in the services they provide than Funeral Directors. If a Funeral Director is not used, a Charter Member will assist the family in arranging an independent funeral. Nurses may assist in the preparation of the body for an independent funeral, particularly if the person died at home or in a hospice.

Currently, however, certain aspects of a traditional funeral may be unavailable to those not using a Funeral Director. For example, many Funeral Directors will not sell coffins separately or allow the use of a hearse without a Director. Thus, those arranging an independent funeral may need to use their own vehicles or hire a van and make their own coffins. This, then, should be something that’s taken into consideration before deciding whether or not to arrange an independent funeral.

Funeral Directors will offer a package which will include many of the cemetery and cremation fees, which the Funeral Director will pay and then recover the cost from the person responsible for the funeral. When organising an independent funeral, all of the required services and resulting costs need to be organised directly with the cemetery and crematorium. A list of funeral expenses for cemeteries and crematoriums is available - see Funeral Costs and the websites in links.

‘Green’ Funeral Directors

The role of Funeral Directors is changing as are people’s perceptions of ‘the norms’ for funerals. ‘Green’ Funeral Directors are beginning to become more popular – where they promote biodegradable coffins and a more personal approach, which may make them more accessible to those who dislike the approach of more traditional Funeral Directors.

Professional Standards of Funeral Directors

If you are concerned about the professional standards of funeral directors, you can consult the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) who can provide you with a list of members, all of which operate according to the organisation’s code of conduct and complaints procedures. Alternatively, Bolton Council has set up Bolton Municipal Funeral Services, which provide a professional service at competitive rates. For more information on this service please contact us.

Bolton Council

Overdale Crematorium

Overdale Drive

Bolton

BL1 5BU

Telephone 01204 334499
Fax 01204 847312
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