Choosing a funeral director
When a person dies, either the next-of-kin or an executor will need to organise a funeral. They will normally contact a funeral director to arrange a burial or cremation in accordance with the wishes of the deceased person.
A funeral director will help the bereaved to decide which type of funeral service is most suitable, liaise with third parties and arrange and oversee the funeral service.
There are many funeral directors, both small family businesses and larger companies and groups, in the city of Brighton & Hove who can provide a high standard of service to the bereaved. The funeral director may be personally known to the family, recommended by someone who previously used their services or selected from a local directory.
Charges can vary considerably and it may be appropriate to contact or visit more than one funeral director, most are members of either the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
When choosing a funeral director, check that they belong to a trade association. This requires them to provide full information about their services and prices, as well as meaning that they will comply with a code of practice laid down by the trade association. Check when the funeral director's account needs to be paid. The invoice should be itemised and clearly define the disbursements that the funeral director has made on your behalf.
The role of the funeral director
Most people choose to engage the services of a funeral director to make the funeral arrangements on their behalf. They will do so for reasons of convenience and to ensure that the arrangements are carried out with dignity, respect and propriety.
The funeral director is there to provide a professional and sympathetic service and will ensure that the burial or cremation arrangements are carried out as specified by the next-of-kin or executor.
The funeral director usually provides
- a 24 hour service
- a private chapel of rest
- pre-paid and pre-arranged funerals
- a choice of coffins and furnishings
- special services - for example, the provision of a horse drawn hearse
- a hearse and matching limousines
The funeral director will
- collect the deceased person from the place of death or the city mortuary
- meet by appointment, the executor or person arranging the funeral to discuss funeral arrangements
- arrange with Bereavement Services either a burial or cremation service, advising them of all relevant instructions and requirements
- arrange the attendance of a minister, priest or other officiant and an organist, if required
- organise the necessary disbursements, to include cemetery or crematorium fees, doctor's fees, minister's fees, organist fees and, if appropriate, mortuary retention fees
- ensure that all necessary official documents are completed and delivered to Bereavement Services within the required timescales
- transport the coffin and any floral tributes to the cemetery or Woodvale crematorium
- ensure the funeral is carried out under the guidance of a funeral director
Additionally, on request the funeral director will
- prepare the deceased person for viewing, a procedure which may include embalming and / or cosmetic treatment
- arrange for the publication of obituaries
- provide floral tributes
- organise a collection for a named charity
- arrange a suitable location for the mourners to meet following the funeral
- remove the cremated remains from the crematorium, to their chapel of rest, pending a decision on their final resting place
- arrange for the private burial of the cremated remains at a selected cemetery or churchyard
- family and friends may use their own vehicles to meet the hearse at the church, graveside or crematorium
- family and friends can be used as bearers, with instructions from the funeral director
- jewellery and special clothing may be worn by the deceased, subject to cremation regulations
- music at the Woodvale chapels can be provided by the music system, using either family CD's or from the crematorium library or, alternatively, by an organist
- the funeral service can be either religious or non-religious
If you are not satisfied with the service you receive then, if considered appropriate, contact Brighton & Hove City Council's Trading Standards or, if the funeral director is a member of the NAFD or SAIF, there is the option of using their independently managed conciliation services.