What does a funeral director do?

wicker coffin covered in flowers in a church

What is a funeral director? And what do they do? In this guide we’ll take you through the role of a funeral director and how they can help you arrange a funeral. It’ll give you a better understanding of how much support you can get from them and how to find a good funeral director too.

What is a funeral director?

A funeral director (also known as an undertaker) is a professional who helps you plan a funeral. They’ll offer you the emotional and practical support you need to arrange it. And behind the scenes, they’ll manage everything from collecting the body of the person who has died, through to the legal paperwork and planning the service. A funeral director takes on a lot of the practicalities so that you can concentrate on the things that really matter to you and your family.

What’s the difference between a mortician and a funeral director?

You might have heard of professionals in the funeral industry called morticians. Sometimes the terms mortician and funeral director are used interchangeably. But the word mortician is more commonly used in the US to refer to a funeral director. In the UK the term mortician is sometimes used to refer to someone who works in a hospital morgue. Sometimes they’re responsible for taking care of the body of someone who’s died, before the funeral director comes to collect them to take them to the funeral home.

What does a funeral director do?

What is the role of a funeral director? And how exactly do they support you when you’re organising a funeral?

A funeral director has a lot of responsibilities – they will help you before, during and after the funeral. We’ve outlined the role of a funeral director below. That way, you can get a better idea of how they can assist you.

What funeral directors do before the funeral:

What funeral directors do during the funeral:

What funeral directors do after the funeral:

It’s up to you how much support you’d like from your funeral director. You can choose to have a funeral director arrange every part of the funeral, or just some parts. But keep in mind that you can lean on your funeral director. It’s their job to organise even the small details that you might not have thought of yet, such as sending floral tributes onto family members after the service. And even if you do take on some of the planning yourself, know that your funeral director can answer questions you may have about the process.

What a funeral director will ask you

As part of the funeral planning process, a funeral director will ask you questions to help them understand what you’d like.

They’ll ask you questions about your loved one, such as:

They’ll also ask you practical questions, including:

Answering questions about your loved one when you’re making these arrangements might be upsetting. But your funeral director is there to help you through it. They won’t rush you. And they won’t expect you to have all the info to hand first time round. Rely on their expertise so that you can take the time you need to grieve.

Are funeral directors regulated in the UK?

Funeral directors are not currently regulated by the government. But there are two organisations that funeral directors can be part of:

These trade organisations set out codes of practice for the funeral industry. So when you’re choosing a funeral director, it’s a good idea to check if they’re a member of the NAFD or SAIF.

How to find a funeral director

Most people choose a funeral director who’s local to them or the venue where the funeral is taking place. You can find funeral directors near you using the following tips:

Read our guide on how to choose a funeral director. It’ll help you prepare with a list of questions to ask and things to look out for so you can find the right funeral director for your circumstances.


Photo by The Good Funeral Guide on Unsplash