The role of the funeral director

Many of us have attended funerals, but not everyone has had to organise one. If a funeral is arranged properly, planning and logistics are the furthest things from our minds as we pay our last respects. But there is an incredible amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure even the simplest funeral goes smoothly.

It is possible to arrange a funeral by yourself, but most people turn to a funeral director for help when the time comes. With their experience and specialist knowledge, we trust them to ensure that the final send off for our loved one is a day worthy of their memory.

We’ll take a look at the role of the funeral director and what you can expect them to do before, during and after the funeral service.

Before the funeral

Every year, about half a million funerals take place in the UK and the funeral director plays a crucial part in the vast majority of them.

There are some big businesses in the UK funeral market, but three in every four UK funeral homes employ fewer than 10 workers. Those are the sort of companies that make up Golden Charter’s network of over 3,000 independent funeral directors. They are typically smaller, family-run businesses, local to you, on call 24 hours a day and providing a wide range of services, from handling practical arrangements to offering support and guidance.

Golden Charter funeral plan holders receive a membership pack containing contact details for their chosen funeral director. When the time comes, you contact them with your plan number and the funeral director will begin taking care of all the arrangements.

If you don’t have a funeral director, you can find one local to you by typing your postcode into www.yourfuneraldirector.co.uk.

Once a death certificate has been issued, your funeral director can start to arrange the funeral. They will transfer the deceased to the funeral home or assist you if you wish for the deceased to remain at home prior to the funeral. They can also provide facilities for viewing prior to the funeral ceremony.

Funeral directors also deal with the official paperwork required for burial or cremation, as well as placing death notices in local or national newspapers and online.

Answering questions

One central part of the funeral director’s job is to make sure the service reflects the wishes of the deceased, as well as their family. Often, with many decades’ experience, they know that those closest to the deceased may not have dealt with this kind of situation before, and will be able to help answer questions and even make suggestions in advance of the service, from choosing a coffin to contacting religious or humanist celebrants to conduct the service.

There is a long list of practical arrangements to be taken care of before the funeral, but fortunately many of these are the responsibility of the funeral director. Following conversations with the family, they will set the date and time of the funeral with the chosen venue and arrange cars, flowers and catering. They can also help with special requests for music or other tributes.

The funeral director’s role is to provide emotional as well as practical support, as one of the first people a bereaved family deals with in relation to the death of a loved one. As the service approaches, this support and guidance continues, but the practical requirements of transport and timing begin to take over.  As part of our series looking at the role of a Funeral Director, we will also be looking at the funeral director’s part in making sure the ceremony runs smoothly.

Golden Charter has the largest network of independent funeral directors in the UK, giving you the widest possible choice. Many of the independent funeral directors we work with are long-standing, family-run businesses, and all provide a compassionate and professional service, earning a trusted place in the local community. For more information on arranging a funeral plan with Golden Charter, allowing you to choose from more than 3,000 independent funeral directors across the country, visit www.goldencharter.co.uk or call 0800 111 4514.