A Guide to After a Funeral

June 14, 2022

After the death of a loved one, it is common to concentrate on organising the funeral. However, it can then become overwhelming to think about what happens after the funeral and what needs to be done. We are here to help with that. We want to help provide this information and guidance with our guide after a funeral.

Whilst there is a lot of advice when it comes to organising a funeral, there is often less information provided for after the funeral and this can be overwhelming and daunting for people. 

Hold a wake after the funeral  

Whilst a wake or funeral reception is not a must-have, it is a common thing to happen. It provides an opportunity for all the friends and family of your loved ones to come together and celebrate their life, share happy memories and offer support to one another. Whilst they will all have attended the funeral, there is often not a lot of time to take and see everyone, which is why a funeral reception can be the perfect opportunity to do so. 

Whilst wakes are often held in family homes, restaurants or pubs, these are not the only options. Museums, aquariums and theatres have all been used for wakes, it depends on whether the venue will allow you to host the funeral reception there. Your loved one may have a special place which you may want to consider as a venue.

There are many ways to make a funeral reception personal. From displaying your favourite photos of your loved one, serving their favourite food, and playing their favourite music. 

Organising their estate

Once the funeral is over, your loved one’s estate will need to be sorted. If you are an executor or administrator of their will, you will have the responsibility of dealing with the finances. This includes dealing with their money, any property they had and paying any taxes owed.

If your loved one had a will, this can help make the process more simple as they can write down all the wishes they want you to carry out. When there is no valid will or no will at all, the court will appoint an administrator. 

For those whose estate contains a substantial amount of property or money, the executor may have to apply for a grant of representation through the Probate Registry to gain access to the money.

Contact relevant people to inform them of their death  

This is can be a difficult task and you may want to ask someone you trust to help with this as it can be painful to repeat the fact that your loved one is no longer here. There are quite a few people who you will need to inform, this includes:

  • Your solicitor so that the estate can start being sorted
  • Insurance companies – to claim or to stop
  • Banks 
  • Mortgage company
  • Utility Companies
  • Pension Company

Create a memorial  

A memorial is a lovely way to cherish your loved one for years to come. Not only can the memorial have a practical use, but it can also be a great source of comfort. There are many options to choose from. Having a bench is a popular choice as it provides a physical place for people to sit and think about their loved one. Choose a location that has a special meaning to them. If this is a public place, you will need to get permission from your local authorities.

Another popular option is planting a tree or an entire memorial garden. This is a great option if your loved one loved nature and can provide a calming space for you to be and think of them. When planting a tree, only use a small amount of the ashes in the soil as they have a high pH and therefore are not plant-friendly. Instead, you could place the ashes in a container and place these near the roots.

You may also consider using the ashes to form part of a piece of jewellery. This is becoming a more popular option as it means you have something you can wear and have with you every day. 

The memorial doesn’t have to be something physical. You could also have an online memorial which you can share with friends and family. This can be an online space for you all to find support and share your favourite memories. 

Sort out their social media accounts

Whilst it is commonly thought that inactive social media accounts will be shut down, this is not the case. Each social media platform has its own procedure that they follow and you will need to familiarise yourself with these. Some decide to leave the pages open and act as a memorial page, whilst others want the accounts of their loved ones closed down. You will need to decide what you want to do about this and then reach out to the individual social media networks.

Seek bereavement counselling  

This is of course not mandatory but many people find it beneficial so it may be an avenue you wish to explore. It is normal to feel a range of different emotions but whilst it is normal, it doesn’t make it easier for you to deal with, which is why counselling can talk you through how you are feeling. If you do not want to speak to a professional, reach out to members of your family or friends or see if there is a local group you can attend. 

Consider marking their death anniversary  

Again, there are no strict rules around this, and you may not want to mark the occasion, however, doing something to mark the anniversary of your loved one’s death can help. You don’t need to do anything extravagant. It may be something small like requesting their favourite song to be played on the radio, reading a certain poem, looking through old photos, visiting a special place or lighting a candle in their honour. Rituals can provide comfort for people and if you think you would benefit from marketing the anniversary, then make sure you do what feels right for you.

Consider your own funeral wishes

Having to deal with organising your loved one’s funeral and what needs to be organised afterwards can make you realise how much is involved and how many decisions need to be made. This is why having a will and a list of wishes is so important. Now is the opportunity to lay down all the decisions you want to help ease the work of your family. Whilst it is not a pleasant thing to think about, knowing that your family will not have the burden of trying to think what you would want which can cause unnecessary additional stress, you can explain it all to them. By planning, you can determine what medical care you would like, what music you would like played at your funeral, whether you would like to be buried or cremated and much more. It will remove any confusion and your family will be grateful to know that they are carrying out your wishes.

We hope this information is helpful. Whilst this is by no means a definitive checklist, we hope it provides you with a starting point for a task that can seem overwhelming and never-ending. We want to help support you through the funeral planning but also provide you with useful information for after the funeral as well.