Using a Funeral Director

It is not legally required, but most people choose a funeral director to make the funeral arrangements on their behalf.

The funeral director is there to give a professional and sympathetic service and will ensure your funeral arrangements follow your wishes.

Their services usually provide:

  • 24 hour service
  • private Chapel of Rest
  • pre-paid and pre-arranged funerals
  • choice of coffins and furnishings
  • special services, e.g. provision of horse-drawn hearse
  • hearse and matching limousines
  • Pallbearers.

The funeral director will:

  • collect the body from the home/mortuary
  • meet, by appointment, the executor or person arranging the funeral and discuss funeral arrangements
  • talk with the cemetery and crematorium office to arrange the cremation or burial service
  • arrange the attendance of a minister or other officiant and organist if needed
  • make the necessary payments (disbursements) on your behalf, to include cemetery or crematorium fees, doctor's fees, minister's fees and organist's fees
  • make sure all official documents are completed and delivered within the required timescales
  • transport the coffin and any floral tributes to the crematorium or cemetery.

You can also ask for the funeral director to:

  • prepare the body for viewing (may involve embalming and/or cosmetic treatment)
  • arrange for the publication of obituaries
  • provide floral tributes
  • organise a collection for a named charity
  • following cremation, remove the cremated remains from the crematorium on your behalf, to their Chapel of Rest, pending a decision on their final resting place
  • arrange a private burial of the cremated remains at a cemetery or churchyard of your choice.

But you can also choose to:

  • use your own vehicles to meet the hearse at the church or crematorium
  • use your own pallbearers
  • ask for jewellery to be worn by the deceased
  • have a religious or non-religious service
  • have an organist, use the crematorium's music system, or both
  • have an audio and DVD recording of the service
  • have the webcam facility to enable family and friends who may not be able to attend the service to watch it live.

Funeral director's charges can vary so you may wish to contact more than one for a quote. Most local companies will be listed in the telephone directory.

Funeral directors are usually members of one of two trade associations:

Your funeral director will need the Disposal Certificate for Burial or Cremation issued by the Registrar or the Certificate of Cremation issued by the coroner. It is not necessary to delay contacting your funeral director who will be able to offer advice on local conditions.

The funeral director's bill should be itemised and clearly list all the disbursements that have been paid on your behalf.

If you are not satisfied with the funeral director’s services or the prices charged, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If the funeral director is a member of the NAFD or SAIF you can also contact them to resolve any disputes.

Page last updated: 19/01/2017