What Does a Funeral Director Do?

Posted: 17/10/2017

When planning a funeral, you may choose to consult with a funeral director, although some people choose to plan a funeral without the help of a funeral director, however, this is quite uncommon. Most people seek the help of a funeral director for many reasons, some being that a funeral can come at a high price and they need advice on the money aspect, and more importantly funerals can cause a huge amount of stress for the family or loved one of the deceased. A funeral director can ease this stress by taking the lead in the organisation of the funeral.

While you do have the option to go solo in arranging a funeral for a family member or a loved one, we highly advise that you seek a funeral director. It is all too often the case that doing all of the things required for the funeral yourself can be tremendously upsetting, which is something you could do with avoiding. A funeral director can help to make sure things run smoothly, after all, they are trained professionals in this field.

But what does a funeral director actually do? They basically offer a broad service encompassing all the practical organisation and guidance throughout the process of arranging a funeral. The funeral director acts as a port of call for the family and does all the third-party arrangements so to ease the stress that will be felt by the family at a time like this.

The initial steps for you

If you do choose to go through a funeral director for the funeral of your loved one, the first step in arranging said funeral is, of course, to source a funeral director. You should always choose a funeral director who belongs to a professional association such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral directors (SAIF). The funeral director is then sure to follow a certain code of conduct as these types of associations all expect their members to know and follow their codes of conduct which surround the standards of practice and complaints procedures.




It may be the case that the deceased person may have left a set of instructions behind or discussed with others their wishes for their funeral before their date of death – this is relatively common. Nevertheless, there is no legal obligation to follow these instructions and you can arrange the funeral how you see fit. Remember, however, it is considered distasteful not to respect and carry out the instructions left behind. If you wish to honour these wishes, you will need to share them with the funeral director so that he or she can make them a reality to the best of their ability. For example, if the deceased would rather be cremated than buried, the funeral director would arrange a cremation rather than a burial.

The Funeral Directors Role

The role of a funeral director is essential to manage the arrangements along with all the details for the funeral held in honour of your loved one. Their work mainly revolves around working in and with funeral homes and crematories. The following are the things that you will not have to worry about as they will be overseen by a funeral director:

  • Arranging the transportation of the deceased
  • Preparing the remains (of the body)
  • Consulting with the family of the deceased
  • Handling and submitting all the paperwork and legal documents, including registering the death
  • Planning the funeral in general
  • Dealing with the deceased’s personal affairs and estate.
  • A plain, lined coffin – you can choose to upgrade this yourself.
  • Sourcing and providing the necessary people to carry the coffin
  • The flowers
  • A more expensive coffin and fittings then provided under a basic plan
  • Press notices of the death
  • A medical certificate that is required for cremation to take place and any doctor’s fees for signing this may be included
  • An organist to play at the service
  • Fees required for religious services
  • A burial or crematorium fee. The burial fee will usually include the costs of preparing the grave
  • Any extra cars needed
  • Embalming
  • The use of the Chapel of Rest
  • Transport from the mortuary
  • Special viewing arrangements
  • The cost of journeys of more than ten miles to the funeral director’s premises
  • The catering arrangements
  • Helping in arranging for the ashes to be scattered or preserved in a memorial casket once the cremation has taken place
  • Arranging ‘thank you’ cards, if required
  • If necessary, organizing the deceased body to be transferred for cremation or burial in a different area of the country or in an entirely different country

If you choose to arrange a funeral solely as discussed previously, without a funeral director, you can still gain guidance and help from the Natural Death Centre or Cemeteries and Crematorium department of your local authority.

The Cost of a Funeral Director

As discussed, it is very valuable to have a funeral director aiding the process of arranging a funeral for your loved one. While it is widely considered a great investment, it does obviously come with its costs.

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is from over £3,000 to over £4,000 depending on whether you go for the cheaper option of cremation or for a traditional burial.

Using a funeral director racks up fees which are arguably the most expensive part of holding a funeral. They probably make up around 69% of the overall cost of a funeral with cremation and around 53% of a funeral which features a burial.

The costs of a funeral director are somewhat reliant on the things you choose. For example, the price of the coffin can span from as little as £100 to as much as £10,000. In this way, it is what you chose personally that can make the fees add up very quickly. To save money, you could query whether they offer a simple funeral plan or a direct cremation.

Have you considered a prepaid funeral plan? This freezes the current cost of a funeral from when you take it out so that you can avoid the rising costs that are yet to come. Read more here.