How to choose a funeral director

Choosing a Funeral Director

Choosing a funeral director isn’t something often mentioned in ‘polite society’ – or even impolite for that matter.

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Because it means acknowledging the fact of death. It means embracing the ‘odd idea’ that we are not immortal, that our body will wear out at some point, that death will never happen to us.

Which is where a funeral director comes in.

Recently in the UK, there has been a change in the law, and now all funeral directors have to have a price list in their premises and their websites outlining all their prices.

This is a result of a report from the Competition and Markets Authority who made several interesting findings, not least that ‘for a  considerable  number of  years the largest  firms  of  funeral  directors have  implemented  consistently  large  annual price  increases,  without  reference  to  underlying  operating  cost  pressures’. 

Not okay.

Comparing Funeral Directors

They also found that ‘only 14% of  people  organising  a  funeral compare  more than one  funeral director, and  only  4% search  for a  funeral  director  on  the  internet’.

I suggest that this is because we don’t plan in advance for this event,  so when a family has to choose a funeral director, they are doing it under the discombobulating effect of grief, not to mention the ‘unbecoming’ idea of ‘shopping around’ when someone has just died.

So what’s the answer?

Plan in advance!  Choose your funeral director now!  

Shop around and get your 3 quotes, like you would with a plumber or builder. 

How to choose a funeral director

And how do you choose a funeral director, now, before it’s really needed?  Here’s a few tips:

1.  Decide in advance that you will choose your funeral director with an air of curiosity, fun and determination to get what you want

You might even rope in some friends, and do it together. My parents met the woman who would be their funeral director about a year or so before they died (of course, they didn’t know it would only be a year, nor that they would die within a week of each other, and that we’d have a joint funeral – hence the photograph).

She came to the house, my sister and I were there too, and we commented that there was almost a party-like atmosphere as they chose the kind of coffins they wanted, told her their favourite songs and readings, and generally discussed what would happen. (Just like you would organise any big occasion really). 

But you could equally arrange a time to visit a particular funeral home with a couple of friends to look round – just make sure you tell them beforehand that you are doing this, as most are not up to speed on people planning in advance!

2. Make sure the ones you select for a more in-depth interview will provide what you want.

Not everyone will offer green burials, for instance, or wacky ways of transporting the body, or unusual shaped or decorated coffins. 

And it’s worth noting that when you take out a funeral plan you can only use the designated FD. So make sure if you go down this route, that the FD really is someone (or a firm) that you want.

3. Choose ones that are relatively nearby.

If you live miles away and are doing this on behalf of a family member, you can still do your research online, or arrange to meet the funeral director via Zoom. You want them to be nearby unless it’s okay with you that they charge extra mileage outside a certain range.

4. Check who is offering what, for which price.

Put your ‘I’m employing a builder’ hat on and remember you want what you want, that is okay, and you want a good price for it too.  Don’t be swayed by thoughts of this being an odd thing to do.  It’s only odd because not enough people are doing it – and that’s what we are changing here at Before I Go Solutions!

5. Choose the funeral director you feel most comfortable with.

Even if it’s you that is the dead body, and therefore you won’t know about it, you will have the comfort of knowing while you are still alive that the kind, loving, funeral director you chose will treat you as you want to be treated.

Plus there is great peace of mind that comes with that knowledge when you are coming towards your end, and a great source of solace for those left behind too. I found it so soothing that my parents had chosen Chris Dudzinska of Last Wishes in York, England, had met her and knew before they died that I and she would carry out what they wanted. 

What next?

So what action will you take this week about choosing a funeral director?   Mention it to a friend/colleague/family member? Share this blog? Or take one small step towards getting clearer about your own wishes? Share below in the comments and let us know.  

To help you with arranging your funeral, plus everything else involved in your end of life, see our End of Life Planning Cards and Workbook bundle – a fun way to help you make decisions easily, have useful conversations, and record everything in one place!

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