What you need to do
Firstly, before you try and whittle down which funeral director is best in your area, there are a few things that you, most likely the next of kin, must take care of.
- You must register the death, which must be done within 5 days of the death (8 if you are in Scotland) and there are certain documents that you must present in order to be given, in return, a certificate of registration of the death.
- The next thing would be to apply for a cremation or burial, whichever you or the deceased has chosen. You can then go on the hunt for your funeral director.
What to look out for
To start off, there is no point in looking for professional qualifications as most of the best funeral directors haven’t actually got any. Instead you should be organising a meeting and judging them on how they listen to you and if they understand exactly what you want, there is no point in signing a contract with a funeral director who isn’t on the same wave length as you, as this can create conflict further through the process.
Another point to look out for would be if they were a member of any of the governing bodies which are The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), they are obliged to meet certain regulations and standards so you can ensure you will receive top quality services.
Price is mostly likely a huge factor for everyone when planning a funeral and therefore shopping around can be the best idea, don’t just pick the first one you meet just to get it over with – you may end up regretting your choice. You should check to see if the funeral directors you want to go with can offer a payment plan and what sort of timescale they can do for you, if they don’t offer anything like that and you need it, you should continue your search. Many funeral directors carry great relationships with florists and caterers and can offer you discounts on the extras that you need for the ceremony, ask when you first meet to see if this is an option. However you must be aware that funeral directors quite often pair up with florists and drivers etc. in order to send each other business, you must make sure you can use who you want when picking.
The most important thing to remember
You are hiring a service to take the weight off your shoulders during a difficult time. You must ensure you are getting exactly what you or the deceased wanted. You also must remember that there are still things for you to take care of such as the order or service/ceremony – setting a path for the day such as religious or personal guidelines that have been set. At this point in the process many decisions have been made and some ideas may clash and although you are the organiser all family members will have the deceased in mind – you must prepare to compromise.
If you are not particularly bothered about who the funeral director is or if you just want some recommendations, ask around friends and family or if you have been to a funeral that went extremely smoothly go back and ask who undertook it. There is also the option of funeral planning services who have thousands of contacts and can recommend the best ones in your local area, you chose a plan and pay it up and everything is taken care for you. If neither of those options feels right for you and you don’t mind a little hard work you can always do it yourself!