Find answers to the questions we get asked the most
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Is there any government support for the cost of adult funerals?
Yes, but it is means tested and so not everyone qualifies. It is administered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – generally you need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit (such as Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, etc) to be eligible. See the DWP website for detailed information and to make a claim (www.gov.uk/funeral-payments). Typically the amount of help that you could get would be £1000 plus burial or cremation costs.
Husbands, wives and civil partners may be eligible for a Bereavement Support Payment. You must be under state pension age to qualify. Again, this is administered by the DWP and more details can be found at www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment.
What other sources of financial help are there?
One of the things to check is whether your loved one had a life insurance policy.
Also, some people may have access to help from charities and other organisations, for example, previous employers or pension schemes.
Sometimes SSAFA, or the British Legion, have been able to help with the costs of the funerals of ex-forces personnel.
My loved one died with no money and had no assets. I don’t have any either. I just cannot afford to pay anything for the funeral, so what happens?
In these circumstances, the best people to contact are the hospital’s bereavement office (if the death took place in hospital – full list of numbers on our contacts page - link) or the local authority (if the death took place elsewhere - Sheffield City Council Executive Services on 0114 273 5558). They can help with the arrangement of a simple funeral.
I have been told that I have to pay a supplement because of the weight/size of my loved one. Why is this and how much is the charge?
Extra staff are involved each time that your loved one has to be moved, whether that be when they are brought into our care; when we get them washed and dressed; put them into their coffin; or move them on the day of the funeral. Also larger coffins cost more to make. The additional charge that we levy is usually either £75 or £150 and it is intended to cover these costs.
Keeping costs down
Is a cremation cheaper than a burial?
Generally cremation is cheaper but if the family already own burial rights to a plot where there is room for another interment, then that will reduce the overall cost of the burial and so the difference in price between the two options will not be as great.
What does a direct/unattended funeral involve?
This type of funeral is very simple. The price is much lower because we can schedule the date and time of the funeral to fit around our other commitments and fewer staff are involved. Often these funerals take place early in the day before other cremations. Although you are not able to attend on the day, you can still come to view your loved one before the day at one of our chapels of rest, if you wish (normal charges apply).
Unattended funerals either take place at one of our local crematoria or at an out-of-area crematorium which specialises in this type of funeral.
What can I do to keep the cost of my loved one’s funeral down?
Unattended funerals are the least expensive service that we offer but we know that they won’t suit everyone.
If you are arranging a funeral which mourners will attend and you want to keep the cost down, we would advise you to think carefully about the choices that you make.
For example, our standard veneered coffins, at the lower end of our price range, are very presentable and are like the coffins that are used in the majority of funerals. We even offer a willow coffin for just a £40 supplement.
And what about transport? Mourners could travel in their own cars rather than hired limousines. And consider using a standard hearse rather than a horse and carriage or other special hearse.
There is no doubt that flowers on a coffin can make it easier to view but a small arrangement can be almost as effective as a much larger one, so think about saving money here as well.
Spending less isn’t a sign of disrespect, it’s just sensible sometimes.
I want to make sure that my family don’t have a big funeral bill to pay when I die. Do Peace Funerals operate any scheme where I can contribute to my funeral in advance?
Yes. Peace Funerals provide funeral plans where you can design the funeral that you want and contribute towards it in advance. Your money will be held by the Peace Ethical Trust.
What is a ‘green’ or ‘environmentally-friendly’ funeral?
A green funeral is one where the family try to arrange a funeral that has less negative impact, or even some positive impact, on our environment. This might be by choosing a coffin made from renewable, or recycled resources, or by using a natural burial ground, for example. Or living flowers (in pots) could be used to decorate the coffin rather than cut flowers, and mourners can take them home afterwards to plant in their gardens.
What is the difference between a ‘natural burial’ and a ‘traditional burial’?
In many ways, burial in a natural burial ground is just the same as burial in a traditional cemetery – a grave is prepared, the coffin is lowered into it, and the grave is later backfilled. The main differences are about the type of marker, if any, that can be placed on the grave – upright headstones are not permitted in natural burial grounds and sometimes trees or shrubs are used to mark graves instead.
Where are the nearest natural burial grounds to me?
The nearest natural burial grounds are at Ulley (on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham, run by Peace Funerals); Wisewood (within Wisewood Cemetery, run by Sheffield City Council); Hope (within Hope Cemetery, run by High Peak Borough Council); and Bradfield View Woodland Burial Ground, Stannington (privately operated). A new burial ground is scheduled to be opened within the next 18 months at Apperknowle, a village to the south of Sheffield, not far from Dronfield. This will be run by Peace Funerals.
Are all natural burial grounds the same?
No. Each natural burial ground will have its own characteristics, and rules. Some will be included within a larger traditional cemetery (like Wisewood and Hope). If you are considering a natural burial we would advise you to go and visit the proposed site before you make your final decision.
Children & Funerals
Should I allow my son/daughter to be involved in his/her parent’s or grandparent’s funeral?
Psychologists suggest that it is a good idea to ask your child if they want to go the funeral of a loved one. Personal funerals can be highly therapeutic and provide an opportunity in which people can support each other.
If your child does want some involvement, if they have never attended a funeral before, try to give them enough information so that they can make an informed choice. Allow them to opt in or out of different parts of the arrangements. Instead of, or as well as, attending the funeral ceremony they could be given the opportunity to write messages/or draw pictures to go in the coffin or say goodbye in some other way that is appropriate for their age.
What government support is there for the cost of children’s funerals?
The government provides £300 towards the cost of any child’s funeral up to the age of 18. Details of the scheme can be found at www.gov.uk/child-funeral-costs.
What rules are there about what you can, and can’t do in a funeral ceremony?
There aren’t any rules about what you can do within a funeral ceremony, although if it is a religious service there will probably be restrictions imposed by the particular church, or faith group, based on what they feel is appropriate.
For ideas about what you can do to make a funeral ceremony personal and appropriate, visit our blog ‘Making Funerals Personal’.
I am really struggling emotionally – where can I get help?
Please refer to the section for Bereavement Support on our Useful Contacts page.
What is embalming (also known as ‘hygienic treatment’)? Do Peace Funerals use it?
Embalming is a process designed to slow down the process of a body deteriorating. It is quite an invasive process. It was standard practice decades ago but now many funeral directors prefer to just use refrigeration.
Peace Funerals do not embalm unless it is required by regulations, e.g. such as when a body is repatriated to another country by air, or when it is specifically requested by the family.
We’re here to help
Please don’t feel you have to do this alone. Our team are on hand to provide personalised, practical help & advice no matter what your situation.