Choosing the Right Funeral Venue for You

It may seem like a straightforward task, but choosing the right funeral venue is not as easy as it might seem.

Your funeral venue may be dictated by the type of service you want. If you’re religious, a funeral in a church or place of worship might be the most suitable funeral venue. These traditional services focus on faith-based teaching and are often followed by a burial at the same location.

However, religious funerals have fallen out of favour, with cremations becoming the more popular choice of funeral. Here the funeral venue would be the chapel alongside the crematorium, but services are not religious in nature, they cater to many different faiths, including those of an atheist and agnostic belief.

funeral venue

Direct cremations – which avoid the fuss of a service – are also increasing in popularity and often followed by the scattering of ashes or a Celebration of Life service, which opens up a wealth of alternative funeral venues. Since there are no legal restrictions on where a funeral can be held and no license is required, they can be held almost anywhere.

You should choose a funeral venue that is important to you, perhaps your football team’s stadium, the theatre or somewhere closer to home, like the local pub or village hall, or even your own home or garden. Bear in mind the nature of the space; a funeral venue should be somewhere sensitive to the circumstances and allow for periods of silence or reflection, as well as celebration and thanks.

Whatever funeral venue you choose, remember to discuss your wishes with your family and leave clear instructions on how you would like the day to unfold in your funeral plan. Not only does your funeral plan allow you to arrange and pay for your funeral in advance, but it can also ease the financial and organisational burden on your family.

To see how a Capital Life funeral plan can help you leave your funeral wishes, contact us or call 0800 411 8688, and one of our friendly advisors will be happy to take you through the options available.

We can also assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs.

Funeral Glossary

We have put together a Funeral Glossary to explain some of the most common terms that will be used when funeral planning. As at Capital Life we know that navigating the practicalities and technicalities of planning a funeral is overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand the terminology. 

funeral glossary

Funeral Glossary

Bier:  A movable frame used for transporting the coffin or casket in the church or crematorium, or before burial in a cemetery.

Catafalque: A stand upon which the coffin or casket is placed, usually in a crematorium. 

Celebration of Life: A funeral or memorial service that focuses on positive memories of the person, and the life they lived. It’s sometimes referred to as a colourful funeral because it ignores the protocol of traditional funerals, such as black clothes.

Disbursements: “Disbursements” (also referred to as funeral third party costs) are the fees payable to the Doctor or Coroner for the issue of a death or cremation medical certificates or Coroner’s certificates, cremation or burial fees, the service at a Crematorium or Cemetery and the fees for the Minister or Celebrant to perform the services at the Crematorium, Cemetery or graveside. These can vary greatly depending on location and as such it is important to have a provision in your funeral plan. 

Embalming: The process of preserving the body of the deceased before their funeral to delay natural processes, allowing the family to spend more time with their loved one. 

Eulogy: A speech given in honour of a loved one at their funeral, usually by close family or a friend. 

Funeral Plan: A scheme allowing someone to plan and pay for their funeral in advance so their loved ones don’t have to.

Green Funeral: A funeral using environmentally-friendly practices and materials, like natural or biodegradable caskets. Embalming doesn’t occur, and the deceased is often buried at a natural or woodland burial ground.

Humanist Funeral: A funeral that focuses on the life and personality of the deceased, rather than the afterlife, much like a Celebration of Life.

Obituary: An announcement in a newspaper or online of someone’s death. It may outline their life and who they leave behind, and is different to a eulogy.

Pallbearer: Someone who carries or escorts the coffin at a funeral, usually close family members or friends, or a professional.

Probate: The legal authority to manage a loved one’s estate after they die, as per their Will.

If you would like help navigating funeral arrangements or to see how a Funeral Plan could help you, contact us or call 0800 411 8688 and speak to one of our helpful advisors. 

We are happy to assist with your Funeral Plans including Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs.

Hymns at Funerals : A Brief History

Hymns at funerals have been customary for thousands of years. The tradition of song as a demonstration of grief has long been a revered part of honouring the dead and dates as far back as the ancient Greeks and Chinese.

In Greece, women sang after preparing their loved one’s body for the funeral, with their song demonstrating their grief to the deceased, who were believed to hear and judge their mourners’ cries.

Traditions have since evolved, and the practice of chest-beating and pulling out hair that was once seen in Ancient Greece has thankfully disappeared. The custom of song, however, has persisted and evolved into the hymns at funerals we hear today.

hymns at funerals

Singing hymns at funerals is an important part of the Christian faith, a tradition crossing all denominations. They are often spiritual and chosen to reflect the deceased faith in God.

There are usually two hymns at funerals – one at the start and one at the end, although there may be more. Hymns may be joyful, melancholy or inspirational, and unite the congregation in sadness and grief. Other hymns at funerals serve to provide comfort and guidance to mourners in their time of need.

Take Abide With Me for example; this is a popular hymn written in Victorian times as a prayer to God, asking for comfort in dark times and guidance through the grieving process.

The Lord is my Shepherd, and Amazing Grace are both reassuring hymns, focusing on finding peace in death. Other hymns are more uplifting, like All Things Bright and Beautiful, and Morning has Broken, which centre on new life and renewal and are more celebratory in nature.

A funeral plan is the ideal place to leave clear instruction for your family and friends about the hymns you’d like at your funeral. It also means you can plan and pay for your funeral in advance, taking the emotional and financial burden away from your family.

With a Capital Life Funeral Plan, you can leave your loved one’s directions on your choices for your funeral, from hymns to flowers, to the wording on your memorial. Contact us or call us on 0800 411 8683 to speak to one of our friendly advisors.

We can also assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs.

Epitaph : What it is and How to Write One

An epitaph is the wording inscribed on a headstone, plaque or memorial, marking someone’s final resting place; they honour the memory of a loved one in a unique and lasting tribute.

Epitaphs can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians but were also used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Their use became more commonplace in the 1700s, and some of these epitaphs may still be visible in churches and cemeteries today.

Deciding on epitaph wording can be difficult. It is an opportunity to personalise their final resting place, and should reflect them and their uniqueness. But should it be something moving and profound, or humorous and light-hearted?


It’s important to discuss and brainstorm ideas with your family when writing an epitaph, whether for you or a loved one. Their feedback and opinions might help you decide on the all-important message.

If writing an epitaph for someone else, consider what they would want – perhaps a Bible verse if they were religious, or a snippet of a favorite poem or song. Avoid anything that might be considered a passing fad or will fade into obscurity.

Epitaphs often reveal something about the deceased legacy, something like Beloved husband, father and friend or Dear daughter, sister, mum and nanny for example. And keep it short – your epitaph may be limited by space and choice of material.

And, perhaps most importantly, take your time – you are setting the words in stone, so make sure you have chosen the right ones. Give yourself (and your family) time to think it through to ensure the epitaph truly represents your loved one.

Planning ahead and writing your own epitaph can take the burden off your loved ones at an already difficult time; it can take the decision out of their hands, but remember to include them in the process.

With a Capital Life Funeral Plan, you can leave your family clear instructions on the type of memorial and the epitaph you want. Contact us or call us on 0800 411 8688 to speak to one of our friendly advisors.

We can also assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs.

Understanding How to Close Accounts When Someone Dies

If you’ve been named executor in a loved one’s Will, it’s important to understand how to close online accounts when someone dies. This includes both online and offline accounts, and will protect against fraud or identity theft.

Bank accounts, online shopping, streaming, social media – figuring out how to close accounts when someone dies can seem overwhelming. Many organisations have similar thoughts on how to close accounts when someone dies; the most important being that you have authority to do so as named executor of their will.

how to close online accounts when someone dies

Start with your loved one’s financial affairs; bank accounts, credit cards and store cards. A credit report will detail the accounts your loved one had, and any outstanding debts requiring payment. Next, contact the bank or card issuer – you will normally have to provide details of the accounts you want closed, and a copy of the death certificate. Unless a bank account is in a joint name, you may need a Grant of Probate to close accounts and release funds.

Online shopping and streaming accounts – Amazon, eBay, Netflix etc. – also need to be closed by contacting customer services and providing information about the deceased along with a copy of their death certificate.

Social media accounts may not seem as pressing, and how to close accounts when someone dies are a little different. You could simply deactivate the account, but Facebook and Instagram, for example, give you the option to name legacy contacts who can memorialize the account, meaning it can still be viewed, but no longer accessible to edit.

The practicalities of how to close accounts when someone dies involve gathering lots of information. You can help your loved ones navigate this minefield by leaving all the necessary details along with your funeral plan.

Traditionally, a funeral plan allows you to arrange and pay for your funeral in advance, but you also have the opportunity to leave instructions about what to do with online, offline and social media accounts upon death.

See how Capital Life can help you prepare for the future and for your funeral including Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs. Call us on 0800 411 8688 or contact us.

What to Do When Someone Dies – Practical Advice

Your world can be turned upside-down when a loved one passes away; it can be difficult to know what to do when someone dies; the checklist can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to start.

Not only do you have to navigate your own loss and grief, you may also have to deal with the practicalities surrounding their death.

The first thing to do is get a medical certificate of the cause of death; this will allow you to register their death and gives you the correct paperwork to start planning the funeral.

what to do when someone dies

Your loved one may have already started this process by purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan, allowing them to arrange and pay for their funeral in advance.

When determining what to do when someone dies, their funeral plan is a good place to look. Capital Life’s Funeral Plans include a welcome pack and allow your loved ones to leave clear instructions on what they want for their final farewell.

So, the first thing to do is to call the provider to inform them of the death. After that, many of the practical aspects of the funeral will be arranged by the Funeral Director as per the funeral plan. They will take care of everything, from moving the body to the Funeral Home or Chapel of Rest and arranging family visits, organising the funeral procession and all aspects of that.

Notifying people is high on the list of what to do when someone dies. Of course, family and friends will be among the first to know, but other organizations also need to be informed, like their GP and their employer, for example.

It can be difficult to know what to do when someone dies; Capital Life is here to help guide you through the process of purchasing a funeral plan and beyond. Call us on 0800 411 8688 or contact us to see how we can help you.

We can also guide you through the importance of Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs.

Tips for Writing an Obituary

Writing an obituary can be challenging; how do you sum up a person’s existence in a finite space? The challenge is to know which memories and anecdotes to include and which to avoid.

An obituary is a short piece of text announcing a person’s death – it may be published in a newspaper or online for the benefit of friends, family, and the wider community. It offers an account of a person’s life and provides details about their upcoming funeral.

writing an obituary

When writing an obituary, there is some key information to include; name, age, place, and date of birth, and place and date of death. There is also usually space to include details about their life, their education, hobbies, and any significant contributions to the community.

Each person is unique and their obituary is a chance to reflect that. But, if writing an obituary for a newspaper, bear in mind the word limit. When writing for online purposes, you might not be quite as restricted in how long your obituary can be.

It is customary to include family who have survived the deceased, as well as close family who predeceased them. If space allows, you may also be able to include a photo. And don’t forget to include details about the funeral or memorial, and the wake.

The responsibility to write usually falls on the family and can be incredibly difficult at such an upsetting time. If you are not sure what to write, the funeral director can usually suggest what to include.

However, you can make the process easier by collating biographical details, photos, and any other relevant information about your life ahead of time, and leaving it with your funeral plan – you could even write it yourself!

Capital Life has a range of funeral plans to suit all budgets and our helpful advisors are here to support you at your time of need. If you would like to discuss your wishes and start funeral planning including Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs, call us on 0800 411 8688 or contact us.

Choosing What to Write on Funeral Flowers

Funeral flowers symbolise death but also growth and new life, knowing what to write on funeral flowers can be challenging. This long-standing tradition helps mourners convey the emotions and words they struggle to express to someone who has lost a loved one.

Flowers have traditionally been a means of expressing emotion, and different flowers have different meanings – roses for love and white lilies for purity, for example.

what to write on funeral flowers

But how do you choose what to write on funeral flowers? You want your message of condolence to be sympathetic, show that the person who has passed is in your thoughts and provide comfort and support to those grieving.

If you are unsure, short and heartfelt messages are usually best. Simple phrases like You will be sorely missed, In loving memory, or Always in our heart and thoughts are amongst the most common messages.

Avoid anything that might upset those grieving – select your words carefully when choosing what to write on funeral flowers. It’s best to side-step phrases like They’re in a better place and Everything happens for a reason.

There is a multitude of options when it comes to choosing funeral flowers and what to write on funeral flowers – it can be quite overwhelming. Many flower retailers offer a wide range of suitable flowers, accompanied by a list of appropriate phases for the sympathy card.

A funeral plan can provide key information about the decisions a loved one has made regarding flowers and what to write on funeral flowers. Not only does a funeral plan allow for a funeral to be organised and paid for in advance, but it also allows the day to be personalised to the individual – including the blooms they’d like. It could also detail what they’d like to happen to the flowers afterward, like donating them to a nursing home or family.

Capital Life has a range of funeral plans to suit all budgets and their friendly advisors are here to support you in your time of need. If you would like to discuss your wishes and start planning your own funeral, call us on 0800 411 8688 or contact us.

We can also assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs

Cremation vs Burial – Which is best?

When funeral planning, the first decision to make is cremation vs. burial; each service will have its positive and negative elements, but making this choice a priority can streamline decision-making further down the road.

Planning your own funeral can be an emotional and thought-provoking experience, but a necessary one to ensure you leave your loved ones with clear instructions concerning your final wishes and how the day should go.

Capital Life have an experienced team of Funeral Advisors, who can help guide you through your choices and make the experience of choosing your funeral requirements a positive and comforting one.

cremation vs burial

But which is best? Your decision concerning cremation vs. burial may be influenced by factors including cost, religious beliefs and environmental concerns.

People’s attitudes and beliefs around faith and death have changed. Fewer people identify with a particular faith, and the religious elements of burial services no longer align with people’s final wishes. Cremations and direct cremations accounted for 75% of funerals last year as people chose Celebration of Life or Humanist ceremonies over traditional burials.

The rising cost of funerals also means people are looking to make the most of their funeral funds. Using a funeral plan means that the prices of funeral directors are locked in at current prices, saving money as the costs rise over time.

Another factor in the cremation vs. burial debate is how each affects the environment. Cremations are energy-intensive and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but traditional burials involving embalming can release a toxic cocktail of chemicals into the area. Woodland burials are, however, emerging as a greener alternative, and could help those wrestling with cremation vs. burial.

Cremation vs. burial –the choice will ultimately be personal, but it’s important to discuss your choices with loved ones and record your requirements in a funeral plan. This allows you to arrange and pay for your funeral in advance and gives you peace of mind that your instructions will be carried out and you get the farewell you want at an affordable price.

Capital Life is here to guide you through our funeral plans and offer support at your time of need. Our funeral plans include Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs. If you would like to discuss your wishes and start planning your own funeral, call our helpful advisors on 0800 411 8688 or contact us.

What Happens at a Burial Service?

Funerals can be an emotional experience, but knowing what will happen at a burial service can help alleviate any concerns.

A burial service can be considered the traditional funeral choice and tend to have a religious focus. For some religions, including Islam and some branches of Judaism, burial is the only choice as cremations are prohibited due to their beliefs about death and the afterlife.

burial service

A burial service generally follows an order of service, which is increasingly becoming tailored to the individual. People are arranging elements of their burial through a funeral plan, which gives them peace of mind that their final wishes will be carried out, and everything is paid for in advance.

The Funeral Director is responsible for planning the service, including transporting the coffin – which is often adorned with flowers and photos – from the family’s or funeral home to the church (or other religious building).

Upon arrival, the coffin is carried into the church and family and close friends will follow. Normally, loved ones sit in the first few rows of the congregation, while other mourners sit just behind.

The service will likely be led by a religious leader, although anyone can lead a funeral service. It will feature hymns, readings and prayers, a sermon and often a eulogy, alongside the personal elements requested by the deceased or their family.

After the service is the committal; the coffin is taken to the cemetery or burial ground, which is often, but not always, within the same grounds. The clergy or celebrant offers a few words, and mourners have a final chance to say goodbye before the coffin is lowered into the ground.

Sometimes dirt or flowers are thrown to symbolise their loved one’s return to the Earth as a final resting place and new life. The grave is then closed, and a headstone or marker may be placed on the grave at a later date.

If you’d like to discuss funeral options and planning your own funeral in advance, contact us directly with any other questions, or call our experience Funeral Advisors on 088 411 8688. We are also here to assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate and LPAs.