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Role of the funeral director

Once commissioned - and this usually includes part of the payment - the funeral director will deal with the storing and preparing the deceased until the funeral, arranging the burial or cremation, acquiring and assisting with all the necessary documentation, paying any set fees, and providing advice on the funeral service or ceremony and assisting with the organisation of the event.

Core arrangements

The core arrangements include:

  • collecting the body from the home or mortuary;
  • providing the coffin of choice;
  • liaising with the crematorium/cemetery/church/funeral venue to arrange all aspects of the funeral;
  • arranging the attendance of a preferred officiant;
  • making the necessary payments;
  • ensuring completion and submission of all required documents;
  • transporting the deceased, close family members and floral tributes to the crematorium or cemetery;
  • ensuring the funeral event is carried out to the agreed instructions.

Additional arrangements

Additionally, the funeral director can:

  • prepare and treat the body for viewing (including embalming or cosmetic treatment);
  • organise the Order sheet - giving the order of service/ceremony and other agreed details;
  • arrange an obituary to be published;
  • provide floral tributes;
  • organise a collection for a preferred charity;
  • care for the cremated remains following cremation until a final resting place has been chosen;
  • arrange a private burial of cremated remains at a cemetery of your choice.

Funeral planning checklist

We have created a funeral planning checklist.

This will help you get a good service from the funeral director and enables you to decide which funeral arrangements you want the funeral director to be responsible for and which you and the family and friends can organise yourselves.

The more you do yourself, the less the cost charged by the funeral director,

Your choices

There are a few families who decide to organise and arrange all the details themselves. This is known as a DIY funeral.

More families are now deciding to be responsible for parts of the funeral that don't require the specialist input of a funeral director. These include:

  • Using your own vehicles;
  • Family/friends as coffin bearers;
  • Selecting the officiant;
  • Selecting the music, hymns and text of the service/ceremony;
  • Creating or buying the order of service/ceremony leaflets and memorial cards;
  • Supplying the main floral tribute.

It is also possible to select a plot in advance of the funeral.

At need and pre-need

Funeral directors have two types of client. Those 'at need' require their services because a loved one has just died or is about to die.

If you are planning your funeral (or that of a loved one) before the death, you are 'pre-need'. Pre-need clients are more likely to be interested in the benefits of pre-paid funeral plans and ensuring their funeral matches their beliefs.

My Last Song recommends you plan your funeral in advance, which includes choosing the funeral director who best suits your needs.

When you have planned the funeral, put your instructions into your Lifebox. This is a secure area which only you can access to store and amend the information.

Only on your death, or when you give permission, can the second key holder (your executor or trusted next of kin), open the Lifebox and read the instructions you have left. (SA)

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  • Would you consider planning your funeral?
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  • Current Results
    • 69%Yes
    • 31%No (expect my close family to take responsibility)