Arranging a funeral

Arranging a funeral can be particularly challenging during a time of loss. To help, most people rely on a funeral director to look after the many details. It’s also possible to organise the funeral yourself. In either case, here are some important things to keep in mind.

Arranging a funeral on a laptop

Can I still arrange a funeral during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis?

Funerals are proceeding during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. Although it is still essential to adhere to social distancing guidelines to manage the risk of spreading of COVID-19, especially if spaces are crowded. It’s important to check government guidelines and other resources for those involved in arranging such an event as restrictions can be subject to change. 

The first important steps

There are some important practical steps to take in the days following someone’s death.

Registering the death

First, the death must be registered within five days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and within eight days in Scotland. This can be done at any register office.

Finding the will

Once the death is registered, you’ll need to locate the last signed and witnessed version of the will. It will tell you who the executor is, and may also provide other details about the wishes of the deceased – including the kind of funeral they want. If Barclays has been appointed as an executor, please let us know as soon as possible by calling the Central Bereavement Team on 0800 068 2238*. If you can’t locate a will, or for more information, read the government’s guide to wills, probate and inheritance.

Notify us

The next important step is to notify all the banks and financial institutions where the deceased held accounts. If the deceased had a Barclaycard account, please call our specialist Bereavement Team on 0800 161 5199*. Lines are open 8am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday. To discuss both Barclays and Barclaycard accounts, please call our Central Bereavement Team on 0800 068 2238*. Lines are open 8am-5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-2pm Saturday. You can also contact our team with this online notification form.

Paying for the funeral

Since the person arranging the funeral is responsible for paying the final bill, it’s important to know exactly how these costs will be paid. In some cases, the deceased person might have paid in advance through a ‘funeral plan’. If you’re not sure, you can:

  • check the will
  • check the local funeral parlours to see if the deceased made arrangements in advance.

If there was no funeral plan, there are several options for how to pay for a funeral:

  • the deceased person’s bank may give you the money from their account to pay for the funeral. This should be arranged by the executor of the estate
  • if the estate of the deceased can’t fully cover the cost of a funeral, family and friends could be asked to contribute 
  • the government’s Funeral Expense Payment may be available to help pay for the funeral. This would be deducted from any money you get from the estate. You can find out more by visiting the government website
  • we may also be able to help with an overdraft, loan or increase to your Barclaycard limit to help with unexpected expenses (subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history)
  • there are charities such as Friends of the Elderly that can help with funeral expenses.

You can also get other helpful ideas in our Bereavement Guide.


How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral can vary considerably, and will depend on a range of factors. Some of the expenses you’ll have to consider include the service, coffin and vehicles. It’s also important to remember doctors’ fees, as well as clergy or other officiant fees. There will also be disbursements, which are third-party costs that depend on whether you choose a cremation or burial.

Currently, the average cost for a funeral with burial is £4,975. The average cost of for a funeral with cremation is £3,858.

With a cremation, the person’s ashes are returned to loved ones, who may choose to keep or scatter them. It’s also possible to have a cremation and have a private farewell ceremony, where the funeral parlour is not involved. The average cost of a direct cremation is £1,626. You can find help on how to manage the details and expenses of a funeral in our Bereavement Guide, along with help on Managing a budget.

In some cases, a funeral director may ask for a deposit before making the arrangements. They may also offer you a discount if you pay before or immediately after the funeral. If this is the case, and you know the money will be released later to cover the cost, you could consider using a Barclaycard to pay upfront to help reduce the final cost (subject to application, depending on your financial circumstances and borrowing history).

If you’re looking for ways to manage the costs of a funeral, it may also be possible to negotiate an instalment payment plan with the funeral director.

Services provided by funeral directors

Funerals can vary enormously depending on the specific arrangement. However, there are a few standard services you can expect from any funeral director:

  • a lined coffin
  • transport of the deceased to the funeral director's premises
  • the handling and care of the deceased until the funeral
  • a vehicle to take the body to the nearest crematorium or burial ground
  • the people required to carry the coffin

Depending on the specific arrangements you choose, other items may also be included in the cost of a funeral. This includes flowers, a more expensive coffin, embalming fees, a medical certificate required for cremation, fees for religious services, as well the room rental and catering for a memorial service.

Arranging the funeral yourself

If you decide to arrange the funeral yourself, you’ll be responsible for organising all the details ordinarily left to the funeral director. This includes ensuring that death certificates and other legal documents are properly filed, purchasing the coffin or arranging the cremation, as well as dealing with transport. You’ll also need to look after the details of any memorial service, such as arranging flowers and other details of a service. It’s a lot of work, but it is possible to save on the cost of a funeral this way.

What's next?

If you’re looking for help handling expenses during a difficult time, Barclaycard can help make things easier.

How Barclaycard can help make things easier

*Please note that calls to 0800 numbers are free from UK land lines and personal mobiles. Otherwise, call charges may apply. Please check with your service provider. Calls may be monitored or recorded in order to maintain high levels of security and quality of service.