How to choose a funeral director

funeral directors stand assist pallbearers carrying wicker coffin at funeral

How do you choose a funeral director? It’s not always easy – especially if you need to plan a funeral quickly. But it’s well worth taking a little time to find a funeral director you’re comfortable with and who can plan the service you want.

This article should make things a little simpler. Consider it a checklist for choosing a funeral director who fits your needs and budget. We’ll also show you how to find a good funeral director in your area.

Choosing a funeral director

Follow these steps to help you choose a funeral director:

We’ll take you through each of these steps and what you need to do.

Remember: even if you’ve used a funeral director to collect the person who has died, you don’t have to use this funeral director to organise the funeral for you. You still have time to look into other options and change funeral director if you need to. Learn more.

Check if the person left instructions

The person who has died may have left instructions for their funeral. They could tell you what kind of funeral they wanted, where it should be held and even which funeral director to use.

You should try to find these instructions.

The person might have written them down on a piece of paper or simply told someone about them. Or they could be included in their will.

Here are some ways to find them:

Bear in mind that you’re not required by law to follow a person’s funeral instructions, even if they’re in a will. If you disagree with them or can’t afford to follow them you’re free to make different choices for the funeral.

Check if the person had a funeral plan

A funeral plan lets you pre-pay for a funeral before you die, so your family won’t have to worry about funeral costs.

The person who has died may have had a funeral plan with a specific funeral director. If so, it’s probably simplest to use this funeral director instead of making new arrangements.

Currently, there’s no easy way to check if a person had a funeral plan. Your best bets are to look for documentation or call some popular funeral plan providers. Here’s a list of providers that are currently authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Decide if you want to use a funeral director

The person who has died might have asked for a specific funeral director. You may decide to honour this wish, but you don’t have to. You’re free to choose another funeral director or even arrange the funeral yourself without using a funeral director.

This kind of funeral is sometimes called a ‘DIY funeral’ or ‘family-led funeral’. It can be hard work, but you’ll have complete control over the funeral and save on funeral director fees.

If you decide to use a funeral director, you’ll pay more but have less to worry about. They’ll help you do things like make arrangements, handle paperwork and look after the body.

Most people choose to use a funeral director. It’s quite rare for someone to arrange a funeral without any help.

Compare prices

Funerals can be quite expensive. In 2021, the average cost for a funeral was £4,056 (SunLife 2022) – and that doesn’t include things like venue hire, flowers and transport.

Sometimes people feel pressured to spend more than they’d like. But you don’t have to. There are lots of ways to save money while still arranging a fitting send-off for the person who has died.

One way is to compare funeral director fees. After all, funeral directors are like any other service provider – some charge more than others. Doing a quick price comparison could save you hundreds of pounds.

You can use our search tool to find one that suits your budget. Simply enter your postcode to see a list of local funeral directors, as well as prices for attended and unattended funerals.

Look for reviews and recommendations

It’s hard to know how to choose a good funeral director unless you’ve used one before. That’s why it’s a good idea to get recommendations from people who have.

You could start by asking friends and family members. If they’ve used a funeral director and had a good experience, they’ll usually be happy to point you in the right direction.

And if you have a funeral director in mind, there’s a good chance other people have left reviews online. Simply search the funeral director’s name using Google and you should see a link to reviews you can read.

Check their location

Most people choose a local funeral director to avoid hassle and save money.

You may have to visit the funeral home several times, so it’s easier to choose one nearby. And funeral directors might charge extra if they have to travel outside of their local area.

Ask questions

It’s up to you to decide whether a funeral director is a good fit. So before you meet them, you may want to prepare some questions. This way, you’ll make sure you know what you’re getting and won’t forget anything.

Here are some questions you might want to ask:

 

Check if the funeral director is NAFD or SAIF-registered

Like most types of businesses, funeral directors can join independent membership organisations. These organisations exist to promote good standards in funeral care.

The main two to look for are the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF). The SAIF is for smaller, family-run funeral homes, while the NAFD is open to all funeral directors in the UK.

If a funeral director isn’t a member, it doesn’t mean they’re bad at their job. There are plenty of excellent funeral homes that aren’t part of NAFD or SAIF.

If they are registered, though, it’s a good sign that they take their job seriously and care about maintaining high standards.

Make sure you feel comfortable

This is really important.

Remember: funeral directors aren’t just funeral planners. They’re there to provide valuable emotional and practical support at a difficult time.

There needs to be a personal connection for this relationship to work. So if you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you should consider choosing a different funeral director.

It works the other way too. Does the funeral director seem uncomfortable with some of your suggestions? Are they reluctant to do certain things? If so, it might be worth finding a different funeral director who’s happy to arrange the funeral you want.

How to find a funeral director

Our funeral director search tool is a good way to find and compare funeral directors in your area.

It’s really easy to use. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the funeral director search
  2. Enter your postcode or region then click ‘search’. Or just tap ‘use my location’ and it will detect which area you’re in.
  3. You’ll see a list of funeral directors near you, along with prices for attended and unattended funerals.
  4. If you want more information about a funeral director, click the ‘learn more’ button.

Alternatively, you can browse funeral directors by region.

More funeral planning help

 

Photo by The Good Funeral Guide on Unsplash

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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