What does a Funeral Director do, exactly?

What does a Funeral Director do, exactly?

At a time of extreme upset and grief for close family and friends, after a loved one has died, your chosen funeral director will show how they carry the responsibility to make certain that the funeral meets the needs of either the instructions of the person who has died (if they left specific instructions through a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan or perhaps their last will and testament – although family can choose to ignore the latter) or the wishes of the family. They will guarantee to provide a funeral that is extremely fitting and dignified and it will be carried out in an exemplary manner and with a professional behaviour.

They are accountable for a funeral being completed while complying 100% with the law. The funeral director will help the family and friends with all of the necessary practicalities from arranging the funeral through to its completion and any necessary actions afterwards. Here is a list of most of the duties you will expect your funeral director to carry out. It’s a fairly general guide and while not completely exhaustive, some funeral directors will be able to offer other services in addition to those listed below.

  • They will arrange for the deceased to be moved from where they died, which may be at home, a hospital, or elsewhere, to the funeral director’s premises so they may prepare the body for the funeral. The funeral director is able to move the body to the family home if that’s your preference.
  • There is a range of documentation that must be completed before a person can be buried or cremated and if you are unsure, the funeral director will help you and offer advice on all of these matters as well as the entire funeral process.
  • Where it is required, the funeral director will prepare the body and a suitable location if people wish to view the deceased before the funeral is completed.
  • In some cases, the funeral director will arrange for the repatriation of the body from overseas so that the deceased can be buried or cremated in the UK.
  • If the funeral is to be held in a different part of the country from where the funeral director operates, they will make all of the arrangements for the transfer of the body.
  • Having inspected the requests of the deceased and discussed those further with close friends and family, the funeral director will help you arrange the time and date for the funeral.
  • It is the funeral director that will make the arrangements with the church, if one is to be involved and the crematorium or cemetery if that is the requirement. Where a woodland burial or a humanist is to be involved, they will make those arrangements for you, as well.
  • Where people intend, on request, to offer a tribute to the attendees, during a service, the funeral director can offer advice as to what is appropriate and what will not be seen as fitting.
  • They will place notices in local newspapers to inform people about the funeral and after the funeral they can arrange for thank you notices to be placed.
  • The funeral director will have a link with local florists and will be able to advise families and friends about the purchase of a floral tribute or inform people if the family has decided to ask for donations instead of flowers. They will record all of the specific information about people who leave the donation at the funeral home. It will be the funeral director’s responsibility to care for any floral tributes once they have been left at their premises and until after the funeral.
  • Where vehicles are required, the funeral director will provide them along with trained staff will be able to carry the coffin if family members are not able to carry out this task. The employees of the funeral director will have a professional understanding of how to proceed with great dignity throughout the entire process of the arranging of and the funeral service.
  • They can arrange for specific music to be played at the church or private funeral service as well as receiving and distributing or service sheets.
  • When cremation has been chosen, the funeral director will ensure that an appropriate urn has been received and is filled with the ashes of the deceased after the cremation.
  • Where the family is not taking the ashes of the deceased after a cremation, the funeral director will make arrangements for their disposal.
  • For a burial, the funeral director will ensure that a grave is prepared to standard guidelines in advance of the day and they will also make the arrangements for the grave to be filled after the coffin has been lowered.
  • The funeral home will offer a wide range of caskets so that an individual’s budget and choice can easily be resolved, unless a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan organised a specific coffin or casket, in advance.
Essentially, the funeral director will arrange everything for you, depending upon your requirements and mostly, they are available to offer you advice and help with any matters that you may not understand, but are crucial to a successful funeral. Most, if not all of these services are often included with a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan. It is important that anyone who chooses to purchase a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan carefully check their certificate which clarifies all of the services that have been purchased as some plans include more or less than other plans.

About funeral directors

Most people choose to entrust the organisation of a funeral to a professional funeral director, but it almost certainly more beneficial to arrange your funeral in advance, when you can, with a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan.

People choose Funberal Directors partly for reasons of convenience at what is generally a stressful time, but also to ensure that the remains of the deceased are disposed of with dignity and propriety. Friends, family, clergy or your doctor may be able to suggest reputable organisations, but the trade associations might also be helpful. There are two trade associations which operate within the funeral business:
Each operates its own code of practice, which may or may not be currently supported by the (Office Of Fair Trading OFT). Each code of practice requires its members to:

1. Provide information on charging, including displaying a price list on the premises and providing an individual copy

2. Provide a written estimate of the cost of the funeral

3. Offer a basic or simple funeral.

Further information on each code of practice can be obtained from:

National Association of Funeral Directors

Web: www.nafd.org.uk

The British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD)

Web:  www.bifd.org.uk

The National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)

Web: www.saif.org.uk