Funeral planning in Northern Ireland
This information is about things you might want to consider when planning a funeral.
The web pages in this section are about the ways people can plan ahead if they live in Northern Ireland. We have other information about planning ahead in England and Wales, and in Scotland.
Funerals allow family, friends and others to pay their respects to the person who has died.
They play a big part in helping people:
- express their grief
- acknowledge someone’s death
- celebrate their life
- say goodbye.
Adrienne Betteley, a Macmillan Cancer Support Programme Manager and Diane Miller, talk about planning a funeral and the benefits of writing down your plans.
To talk to someone about your questions and concerns about cancer, you can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00
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I've been thinking about planning my funeral for a long time. I’m well now, but want everything organised and paid for so my family will have no financial worries if anything happens to me.
Many people die without making any plans for their funeral. For family or close friends who are left behind, arranging a funeral can be stressful if they don’t know exactly what type of funeral a person wanted or how they wanted it carried out.
If you tell your family or friends what you want, your funeral is much more likely to reflect your wishes. It may also be one less thing for your family or friends to worry about.
Although it can be hard to talk about, discussing your funeral plans with close family and friends can be helpful. They may have helpful ideas and suggestions that may help your loved ones celebrate your life, say goodbye and remember you.
Here are some suggestions of what you may want to include in your plans:
- Whether you want a burial or cremation. Burial is usually in a churchyard or other designated burial place. Cremation takes place in the Belfast Crematorium. It has a chapel where a service can be held. After a cremation, your ashes are given in a container to your next of kin. You can discuss with your family what you want to be done with your ashes. For example, you may choose to have them scattered in a favourite place.
- Whether you want to have a religious service or not. People who have a spiritual or religious faith often have a clear idea of who they want to conduct the funeral. However, you don’t have to have a religious service or a religious leader to conduct a funeral or memorial service. You could choose to have a family member, friend or lay speaker take the service instead.
- Whether you want specific music, songs or readings.
- Whether you want flowers.
- Whether you want donations to be given to specific charities. We have more information about collecting for Macmillan at a funeral.
- What clothes you want to wear. For some people this can be important. For example, a person may want to wear clothes that have been significant to them during their lives, such as a military uniform.
Recording your funeral plansBack to top
You can document your wishes in your will, or you can keep a record of them and leave them in a safe place known to your family or friends. Alternatively, if you don’t want to write them down, you can simply tell your family members or friends what your wishes are.
Funerals can be expensive, so you may want to pay for your funeral in advance by taking out a funeral pre-payment plan. You can find out more from your local funeral director or the National Association of Funeral Directors. It’s best to look into prices first. Make sure you know what services are included in the price, as these can vary.