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What does a funeral director do?

A funeral director, previously known as a mortician or undertaker, manages a funeral home and arranges the details of funerals. The role of the funeral director is not only to provide compassionate support to the grieving families alongside advice on the organisation of the funeral, but also work behind the scenes to ensure everything is managed on their behalf.

It's common for practises and rites to vary among different cultures and religions, but the main role of a funeral director remains the same - to remove the deceased to a mortuary, prepare for, and manage the planning of the funeral itself.

The role of a funeral director

With expert knowledge and experience, a funeral director can advise you on how best to plan for a funeral. However, this is often dependent on the wishes of the deceased, or the grieving family - so the requirements of a funeral director often differ. Typically, the role of a funeral director will include the following but everyone is an individual with personal preferences and would always be treated as such:

What do funeral directors do

Before the funeral

  • The deceased - transferring the deceased to the funeral home , or, if requested, transferring the deceased to remain at home prior to the funeral. A funeral director will also liaise with a repatriation company if the death happened while abroad. It will then be organised for the deceased to be held at a chapel of rest for friends and family to view if they wish prior to the funeral.
  • Documentation - handling and managing all necessary legal documentation regarding the death and the funeral.
  • Notices - placing notices of death in the newspaper or online to inform people of the passing.

Preparing for the funeral - the funeral director will advise on all aspects of the funeral. This would include advising on:

  • Types of service options available
  • Venues
  • Coffins/caskets
  • Priests or non-religious celebrant
  • Music
  • Flowers
  • Hearses and vehicles
  • Order of Service
  • Donations
  • Memorials

On the day of the funeral

  • Managing the funeral - on the day of the funeral, the funeral director ensures the day runs are smoothly as possible, adhering to the wishes of the grieving family and the deceased. This would also involve arranging transport for family and close friends if required, as well as overseeing procedures of the cemetery or crematorium.
  • The deceased - if the deceased has requested a cremation, the funeral director will organise providing the grieving family with the ashes.
  • Guests - obituary or attendance cards will also sometimes be collected by the funeral director, so that the organisers of the funeral can know who attended.

After the funeral

  • The deceased - having provided the grieving family with the ashes, the funeral director will then help you to arrange scattering or preserving them. They will also help facilitate transferring them to another location, either in the UK or overseas, if required.
  • Donations - any donations, or funeral flowers, which are to be provided (whether that is online or in person) will be handled by the funeral director - and will be accepted for a nominated charity on the behalf of the deceased.
  • Guests - arranging obituary cards, or 'thank you' cards for guests who attended the funeral.
  • Graves/headstones - depending on the type of service had, the funeral director will also manage graves or headstones to be put in place after the burial or the scattering of the ashes.

Find out more information about how we can help funeral directors. Alternatively, get in touch with a member of our team for more detailed information and support.

  • Posted 8th June 2020
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