Choosing a Funeral Director?

A funeral director or undertaker is there to look after the person who has died, support the family and help with funeral arrangements.

Their services may vary slightly but you should expect them to provide the following :

  • Transportation of the person who has died and visiting facilities for the family at the funeral home
  • Completion of all the necessary paperwork so the burial or cremation can go ahead
  • Funeral arrangements in accordance with the wishes of the deceased or their family

A good undertaker is there to guide and advise and will organise as much of the funeral as you want them to. They will liaise with the church, crematorium or cemetery and person conducting the funeral service, provide appropriate vehicles and trained staff and help with funeral flowers, newspaper notices, collection of charity donations and order of service sheets if required.

Funeral directors can make a huge difference to family and friends both through the support they receive and the quality of the funeral service itself, so it really is worth taking time out to choose the right one. After all you only get one shot at this so you need to be sure that your funeral is in good hands.

A benefit of putting your own plans in place in advance is that you are more likely to shop around, compare funeral plans and choose wisely, something your family may be reluctant to do when the time comes, either because they feel it is disrespectful or just too upsetting.

To help you choose the right funeral director or undertaker, there are a number of things you can do:

  • Get recommendations from family or friends viewing facilities for the family
  • Get estimates from 2 or 3 Funeral Directors as costs do vary.
  • Get a detailed description of funeral prices and quotes over the phone and in writing
  • Check the funeral director is professionally qualified and holds a diploma in funeral directing (Dip.Fd.)

There are several funeral directory's available that list all SAIF and NAFD members.

Finally, whether you choose a large corporate group or an independent family owned business, always choose a funeral director who is a member of one of the following:

These organisations follow a strict code of practice which should guarantee a quality service. They must also provide you with a price list for all their funeral services on request so all costs are clear.

Of course there is no legal requirement to use a funeral director. If this is something you are thinking about, the Natural Death Centre can provide free advice and guidance.

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Local funeral directors - how to find one

Searching for a local funeral director is not something you day every day and hopefully not one you will need to do very often. 

Unless someone recommends a funeral director to you, your first job will be to go online or if you prefer the more traditional Yellow Pages, but how do you choose?  

Firstly when searching online make sure you are in the right place, you may search something like "funeral directors town name", just substitute "town name" for your town. When you get the results it's worth making sure you that you select either a recognised organisation such as the National Association of Funeral Directors NAFD (who are the main funeral director trade body that has over 80% of the UKs funeral directors as members which is a positive endorsement) or the name of a local funeral director's company.

Or you can use the funeral director directory that we have created which includes all NAFD and SAIF members all in one place making searching easier.

Hopefully you will find a company that you have heard of even if you have no personal experience of them. If you are looking for a local funeral director's because you have just lost a loved one then whilst it's not a very nice job, ideally you should contact 2 or 3 to get several quotes to compare - you might be surprised at the large difference between them.  

Funerals aren't cheap with the average cost around £4,056 in the UK in 2022, but this will depend on where you live and whether you arranging a burial or cremation. A burial will be more expensive particularly if you have to purchase a plot.  

If your loved one has made their funeral arrangements known this can save a lot of guess work as to the type of service they wanted, but if they haven't hopefully you will have known them well enough to give them the send off they would have wanted.

You should also check to see if they had purchased a prepaid funeral plan If you are unsure you should check their bank statements and financial paperwork, the main funeral plan companies are highted in our list of FCA authorised funeral plan providers.

Don't be embarrassed about shopping around for funeral quotes, frequently people only contact one company and feel as though they should be selecting one of the more expensive options provided by the funeral director, unless you want this, don't be afraid to choose a less expensive option after all your loved one is unlikely to have wanted you to break the bank on their funeral.  

You may wish to start the conversation with the funeral director by telling them that you are contacting a few local directors to get some quotes as this may result in them sharpening their prices. 

Finding a local funeral director when you have just lost someone is never an easy task, make a strong cup of tea and take a deep breath and try and approach it like you would other significant purchase, you are likely to be spending over £3,000 so shopping around could save you money.

If you are reading this article and but not looking for a local funeral director right now, you may want to consider putting plans in place in advance. Pre-paying for yours or a loved one's funeral in advance could potentially save you money if prices increase, as you freeze the cost at today's prices.

Here is a list of some of the largest towns and cities:

  • funeral directors leeds 
  • funeral directors liverpool 
  • funeral directors northampton 
  • funeral directors cardiff
  • funeral directors belfast 
  • funeral directors london 
  • funeral directors bournemouth 
  • funeral director swindon
  • funeral directors plymouth
  • funeral director glasgow
  • funeral director edinburgh
  • funeral directors southampton 

For reviews on some of the UKs funeral directors, please click here.

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