Using a Funeral Director

Funeral Directors

A funeral director is a person who is performs duties associated with the pre-burial or cremation of the deceased. Standard responsibilities cover preparation of the body including embalming and cosmetic enhancements usually on the face and hands. The majority of funeral directors operate from funeral homes that have one or more rooms allocated as resting place for the departed. Funeral directors may often be referred to as undertakers or morticians.

Responsibilities

(some are optional and you can choose to do these yourself)

What do funeral directors do before the funeral?

N

Transferring the deceased to a funeral home

N

Providing a location to view the deceased prior to the funeral

N

Taking care of necessary paperwork required to register and conduct a burial or cremation

N

Placing death notices in printed media and/or through online services

Organising the funeral service

N

Arranging musical requests and tributes

N

Presenting a choice of caskets and coffins to accommodate a range of budgets

N

Accepting donations for any prescribed charity in lieu of flowers on your behalf

N

Ordering the floral tributes and providing care for them prior to the service

N

Preparing the order of service sheets for the funeral event

N

Organising the funeral vehicle(s)

N

Catering services for presentation at a venue of your choice following the funeral

After the funeral has taken place

N

Following the act of cremation, a funeral director can assist with arranging for the ashes to be scattered or if preferred, stored in a memorial casket for preservation

N

Arranging obituary and thank you cards

N

Under certain circumstances the deceased or cremated remains can be relocated to either another area of the country or repatriated overseas

Pre-Preparation

Many people find it helpful to prepare their questions and answers in advance, it’s important that you express your wishes or perhaps the pre-arranged wishes of the deceased onto the funeral director. Remaining specific is important and it is your right as the client to ask the funeral director to conform rather than letting them persuade you. You can download and use our free funeral planner if you need a format to guide you.
As you reach the night before the funeral it can be of great merit to gather together close friends and family to talk about and express emotions brought on by the time of passing. A great unity between your group will arise that will prepare you for the event the following day.

Flowers

Not every person wants an exuberant display of flowers at a funeral. Such displays can be very expensive and can sometimes cost more if not arranged through a funeral director. On the other hand depending on your emotional state you may either want to delegate your wishes to the director or source the flowers yourself. Some people invite the guests to bring flowers if they want to, or donate a sum to designated charity.

The personality of the person who passed often dictates the choice of flowers and quantity, variations in the season can play a big role in the selection and of course may sometimes affect cost depending on the species you select. It is worth discussing the cost of flowers and packages available with a funeral director in order to compare against a direct approach to high street vendor/supplier. Some funeral directors have long established relationships with florists and may be able to secure a lower cost.

Burial / Cremation

Making the decision to bury a deceased person may often be left to you if said person did not express their desire for either. It is advisable from a moralistic viewpoint to adhere to any instructions detailed in a will or perhaps through a conversation with them prior to their leaving. Please remember that you are under no legal obligation to abide by their expressed wishes.

It is beneficial to discuss the differences with a funeral director, cremations are pretty much less expensive on the whole than interment (burial). From an emotional standpoint, some folk find the thought of people being lowered into the ground harder to bear.

Order of Service

This part of a funeral is very much down to you. The funeral director is obligated to secure arrangements by way of following religious, legal and guidelines of personal choice. If you examine cultures from around the globe, funerals are conducted in a variety of different ways. Traditions don’t mean that you have to be traditional; the person who has gone is quintessentially the point of focus and much unity and celebration of their life’s input and effect on loved ones can be brought into the way the service is conducted.

When someone you love and care about departs, it can create deep emotion that is combined with underlying issues with other family members. The death of this person very often unlocks this emotion and is a point where many come to reconciliation (if there underlying issues)  amongst one another. Please try to listen the opinions of others who were close just as you were, compromises can actually work far better than strict rules.

Music

It’s popular today to have a singer, musician or band play at a service; just remember to inform the funeral director whatever your decision so they can coordinate with the venue and keep things on schedule at the event.

It’s wise to express your music selection with the funeral director who can either play recorded material at the appropriate time, or pass it on to the celebrant and/or priest.

Many cremations now take place along with the service at a crematorium, in the case of a burial, and sometimes a private cremation, it is essential that you have the director coordinate your specific musical choices to the priest.

Usually a service will have three songs or hymns, one at the start, another during the main part of the service and one on exiting. You may actually know what songs you want to play from wishes expressed by the departed. If you need help, build the selection around their personality, the musical styles they appreciated or perhaps a particular song you know they frequently listened to.

Funeral Cars

A good percentage of funeral directors will provide the traditional black funeral cars and funeral hearse. You can of course opt for independent car hire with drivers, perhaps to migrate away from established tradition that has actually seen a decline in recent decades.Taking into account the emotional strain you are likely to endure on the day, it may be prudent for you to use this kind of service in order to help you feel more relaxed. When negotiating with the funeral director you should make it apparent early on if you require a hearse or not in order to obtain a reduction in your fee.

Memorial Booklet

With the advent of desktop publishing it has become very popular for people to produce the order of service themselves along with anecdotes, photographs and quotes regarding the deceased. It’s a very personal thing to create such a booklet and you will often find so many memories coming to the fore. People who knew the departed will elicit memories of their own from the information you often include. Funeral directors can often retain examples from other funerals that may give you inspiration on what to say and how to structure the order of service if you feel it necessary.

Catering

You may be the perfect host, please as a help to yourself get others to help you out with this. There is so much to handle with a funeral foremostly by way of emotion; the burden of organising and preparing food and drink for guests attending the wake would make the task stifling and your efforts might be compromised in quality.

No person is expecting you to throw a banquet, the food would be better off being light and simple. If you hold a wake at a venue they may have the means to lay on a buffet with hot and cold drinks including alcohol. In most cases you can get a better deal by at least ordering catering services yourself rather than using funeral directors more so the case if you are using a local venue. This being said, a competent funeral director should be able to provide a range of options in the event you feel unable to deal with much through grief.

Costs

Currently the national average for a funeral including the use of a funeral director is sitting around £3,600. This value depends on the region you live in, the local economy and the dependent disbursement fees associated with that region including the church, crematorium or council fees.

With respect to funeral directors alone, how much will their services cost?

It is very much a sliding scale moved by the inclusion or exclusion of particular services, whether or not they handle all the finer details or perhaps just provide transport of the deceased, place of rest viewing and the paperwork.

For a very modest input from a funeral director you should expect to pay around £1,800. The options will be limited and the presentation will be conservative.

At the other end of the scale you may spend in excess of £5,000 alone for extra services and benefits.
In terms of overall cost, a funeral director represents approximately 53% of the fees for a burial and 69% for a cremation based on the national average cost of a funeral.

Warnings

  • Make sure you have a price breakdown in writing before any contract signing
  • Choose a director who is flexible and you are not forced into having certain options you may want to do yourself
  • You as the customer should have the right to choose your own providers (florists,cars etc.), ask funeral directors if they can accommodate this
  • For peace of mind check their affiliation if they are registered with a governing body
  • Should you have doubts about the funeral director, you can move on and choose someone else, just because they have a consultation meeting with you doesn’t mean you are obligated

Free Funeral Plan

If you would like to make use of our free funeral plan i.e. the funeral wishes form, please click on the button. As a result this will download a pdf copy to complete and print for your own records.