Not sure how to find a funeral director who’ll arrange the right kind of send-off for your loved one? At first glance, it can seem like they’re all much alike – or that there are too many to choose between – but there are a few key things that can help you find the best option for your needs.

Here, we’ll explain everything you might want to look out for when you’re choosing a funeral director, as well as some of the top questions most people have about them:

Looking for funeral director listings? Use Beyond’s Find a Funeral Director tool to see prices, reviews and services for funeral directors in your area.

 

What do funeral directors do?

A funeral director’s main duty is to take on most of the burden of planning a funeral, following your wishes as closely as possible. This can give you and your family some space to breathe, without worrying about the details of the funeral.

To do this, they will usually:

  • Collect the person who has died and take them to the funeral home, then to the funeral.
  • Wash, dress and prepare them for the funeral, or for a viewing if you would like to visit your loved one at the funeral home.
  • Support and guide you through the process of planning the funeral.
  • Sort out all the paperwork that’s needed for the cremation or burial.
  • Provide a coffin or urn.
  • Organise the funeral service and burial or cremation, and guide you and the guests on the day.
  • Co-ordinate third-party services, such as funeral transport, order of service sheets, notices in the paper, music, catering and flowers.

Depending on your wishes, the funeral director may also offer services like embalming, help with DWP applications, repatriation to or from another country and ongoing bereavement support after the funeral. If there’s something specific you need, check with them when you first contact them.

 

How to choose a funeral director

So, what makes a good funeral director? Here’s what you might need to think about when doing a local funeral home search:

1) Take your time choosing a funeral director

You don’t have to settle on a funeral director right away. Take some time to research quotes, prices and reviews before settling on a shortlist of around two to five.

2) Compare prices

Check what each quote includes (and what it doesn’t). Beyond’s free Find a Funeral Director tool lets you quickly compare funeral director prices based on the services you need, without making a commitment.

If you’re considering a funeral director who hasn’t listed their prices online, be sure to ask if you can see a price breakdown and ask if it includes additional third-party costs.

If a funeral director won’t give you a quote without meeting you, be wary. You may feel more pressure to commit in person.

3) Use recent reviews to find recommended funeral directors

Recommendations from friends and family members can guide you to the top funeral homes, but funeral directors are often bought out by chains and kept under the same name, with different people in charge.

Recent online reviews, such as those on our funeral director profiles, can help you get make sure the standard of service is the same.

4) Check the location, and ask about home visits

It’s usually a good idea to find a local funeral home that’s easy to get to from your house, as you may need to visit a few times to sort out the arrangements. Funeral directors themselves usually cover a 10-15 mile radius, after which they may charge extra to cover travel costs.

Many funeral directors are happy to visit you at home, which can make things easier on you and your family. You can see whether home visits are offered on their Beyond profile.

5) Make sure they offer the services you need

Can the funeral director provide the type of funeral you’re looking for? Some funeral directors specialise in eco-friendly natural burials, traditional funeral services and alternative contemporary options. Embalming and viewings need certain facilities on-site.

When you’re choosing a funeral home, make sure to ask if there are specific things that you want or any personal preferences you’d like them to accommodate.

6) Ask about payment options

Check whether the funeral director will need payment up-front or later on. They may also let you spread the payments out over time. If you think you might need help with funeral costs, read our guide here.

7) Look at qualifications

There are a number of associations out there that provide training and qualifications for funeral directors, such as the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) and the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD). These associations have codes of conduct that their members abide by.

That said, you don’t need qualifications to be a great funeral director – some excellent funeral directors have none whatsoever. You can find out more about the NAFD and SAIF here.

8) Choose someone who makes you feel comfortable

This is the most important thing to think about when you’re choosing a funeral director. A good funeral director will be someone you’re happy to have attending the funeral. They will respect your wishes, and won’t ‘up-sell’ or push you to make certain choices.

If you feel particularly drawn to a funeral director and would like them to arrange your own funeral service, you might consider setting up a Beyond Open Funeral Plan with them.

 

Do you need a funeral director?

Most people don’t have much experience of arranging a funeral, so they choose to use a funeral director. You don’t necessarily need to use one, though. If you want to, you can organise a funeral yourself.

We hope this guide – and our search tool – will lead you to the best funeral director for you and your family’s needs. If you’ve found someone you like, your next step will be to organise the funeral itself: read our detailed guide to funeral planning here.

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