Losing a friend or a loved one is a traumatic time for anyone, even more so when that person has died and has left no instructions for their funeral or has left insufficient funds to pay for a funeral.

At such a time no one should feel pressured into making any arrangements without taking advice and understanding what is involved. It is always best to review what options are available before committing to something that may not be affordable.

Direct Cremations – Many are opting for Direct Cremations, using the services of an undertaker to provide a service where the deceased is taken to a crematorium and their ashes returned with no religious/memorial service being undertaken. This may have been the wishes of the deceased to have had no fuss or simply an affordable way to cremate a person.

There are several companies offering Direct Cremation Services, please click on the names or simply search direct cremations.

Simplicity Funerals

Low Cost Funerals

Pure Cremation

Express Cremations

Prices start at just under £1000 including fees for an unattended cremation.

Help from the DWP – If an individual is in receipt of welfare benefits there is limited help from the Department for Works and Pensions in the form of a Funeral Expenses payment, though it wont cover all the costs of a funeral it can help meet many of the fees associated with funerals, information can be found on Gov.UK here – Funeral Payments from the DWP

Thinking of approaching your local Council? – Despite new services such as direct cremations being available, more and more people are finding that they are having to turn to local authorities or hospitals to provide a statutory funeral as they do not have sufficient funds to make the arrangements. It will depend on where the person died as to which authority has responsibility for making arrangements.

Sadly, most Local Authorities do not publicise the service, so it’s quite likely that staff on a main switchboard or contact centre will not know where to place your call. The statutory responsibility can be carried out in a number of departments. For instance if it is a District Council then it is usually carried out by the Environmental Health Department. In a Unitary Authority or Metroplolitan/London Borough it could be in Social Care. There is no one set place for the provision of this service. Teams in Housing, waste disposal or Cemeteries may hold the responsibility.

Usually a call to the local cemetery or crematorium will assist in directing you to the right service within the local authority.

Help and Advice There is help and advice available from a number of sources, that may help an individual carry out the wishes of the deceased without having to ask the local authority or hospital to intervene. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to assist and also offer advice on claiming from the DWP.

Nationally, the service of Down to Earth from Quaker Social Action offers practical advice and guidance to those that find themselves in this situation. Their unique service means that no one should face unnecessary debt or distress due to high funeral costs.

Their website can be found here:

Quaker Social Action – Down to Earth

You can call them on 020 8983 5055 – You may have to leave a message but they will get back to you as quickly as possible, often within 24 hours.