What exactly does a funeral director do?
A good funeral director is on hand to help and support you when you’re undergoing a very difficult time. But what exactly do they do and how far can they go to ensure that the funeral arrangements meet your priorities and fulfill your wishes? Here are 10 ways that a funeral director can help you in your time of need.
1. Give you the time you need to prepare
In the past, funerals may have taken place within a few days of a death. Nowadays, however, the reality is that it may be a few weeks before everything is arranged. Your loved one will need to be kept somewhere suitable. Funeral directors have specialist facilities where they can care for the person who has died until the day of the funeral, and they can make preparations for you to view them if you wish.
2. Contact local celebrants
Because funeral directors are experienced in making funeral arrangements, they will know all your local funeral celebrants. Depending on your loved one’s religious beliefs, they’ll be able to help you find a trusted celebrant who can lead the funeral. Often they will have worked with the celebrant before and will know they are reliable.
3. Place death notices and obituaries
Your funeral director can help you place death notices and obituaries in newspapers, and will often have existing contacts with local papers. Some funeral homes also offer online obituary services, where friends and family can leave messages and light candles in loving memory.
4. Help you with complicated paperwork
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in registering a death and arranging a funeral. Funeral directors are well-acquainted with the many different forms you will need to complete and can fill them in for you, or advise you on how to fill them out yourself.
5. Advise you on rules and regulations
Burial and cremation involve many regulations, particularly regarding coffin specifications. Green burial sites are especially strict on what kind of coffins are allowed to be buried there. Funeral directors are aware of these rules and will be able to help you choose a suitable coffin and meet all the requirements.
6. Help you make an informed decision
When you are arranging a funeral it can be difficult to know what is for the best, especially while you’re coping with the early stages of grief. While some people know what they want, you might be struggling to decide. A good funeral director will be able to talk you through every option and explain what’s involved. It’s your choice and they want you to make the decision that’s right for you and your family.
7. Prepare your loved one to say goodbye
Many people find peace by viewing their loved one before the funeral. Sometimes too, it’s a chance for other family and friends to say goodbye and feel reassured they are at peace. If this is something that you would find comforting, it’s worth finding a funeral home which has a special room, sometimes called a chapel of rest, where you’ll be able to spend time with your loved one in peace and privacy.
Before a viewing, the funeral director will prepare the person who has died; washing and dressing them, brushing or styling their hair and doing their makeup, according to your own wishes. They’ll do everything they can to make the viewing a positive way to say goodbye.
8. Offer support on the day
Funeral directors help you make arrangements in the run up to the funeral, but they will also be there on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly. From making sure the transportation arrives on time to directing mourners to their seats, their team is there to see that everything goes according to plan so that you can focus on saying goodbye.
9. Arrange burial sites or crematorium times
Our guide to cremations and our guide to burials containt a lot of helpful information. But when it comes to organising the perfect funeral for your loved one, the funeral director can help you with the logistics. They’ll be able to help you find a suitable burial plot, or a time slot at your local crematorium.
10. Signpost you to bereavement support
Funeral directors aren’t just there for practical support, they are also concerned with your emotional well-being following the death of a loved one. They will be able to recommend local bereavement support groups or counsellors for you, or some funeral directors even hold their own support groups.
Find out more about funeral directors and their important role, with Funeral Guide’s Ultimate Guide to Funeral Directors.