How do I choose the right funeral director?

How do I choose the right funeral director?

There are some key differences that you can look at to help you choose between funeral directors.  Here are seven simple steps to help you find the one that’s right for you.


Step 1   Get a recommendation

You want the best for your loved one and a funeral director who will guide and support you through the process.  Ask friends and family for their recommendations, or look at online reviews left by previous clients.


Step 2   Start with a budget in mind

The average cost of a basic funeral in 2016 was £3,897*.  This included the cost for cremation or burial and minister or officiant fees, but excluded costs for extras such as cars, flowers, stationery and reception – all of which can add another £2,000 to the bill.  Set an amount you feel comfortable with.


Step 3   Compare costs

Funeral director costs can vary considerably within the same locality.  Comparing these costs can be confusing as each funeral director has their own way of listing their prices and bundling services.  About the Funeral does the hard work of untangling all those price and services options so that you can tailor the funeral to your exact needs and compare like for like.  No previous experience of arranging a funeral is needed and costs are the same as if you visited the funeral director direct.


Step 4   Look for a mark of service quality

For assurance of a standard of service, consider choosing a funeral director who belongs to a trade association or is accredited in some other way – especially where a funeral director has chosen not to belong to a recognised trade association.

There are two UK funeral trade associations whose members must abide by a strict code of practice.  Our website shows you which funeral directors belong to which association.

OLD NAFD 160x160 png NAFD National Association of Funeral Directors Code of Practice
Independent, co-operative and national funeral company members are monitored by a team of compliance managers, which includes a premises inspection and interviews with key personnel.
saif 120x120 SAIF Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors Code of Practice
Independent funerla home members are monitored by a team of compliance managers, which includes a premises inspection and interviews with key personnel.

For further assurance of a funeral director’s commitment to delivering a standard of service, look for a funeral director who has been accredited by one of the following organisations.

gfg 100 x 100 Good Funeral Guide
Recommended funeral directors must meet in-depth accreditation criteria, including references, premises inspection and interviews with key personnel.
     NDC-logo650x650 The Natural Death Centre
Recommended funeral directors self-accredit.  They pledge in writing that they are “flexible, transparent and accommodating”.
SIFH 194 x 70 Selected Independent Funeral Homes
Independent funeral homes are hand-selected for membership and agree to uphold its Code of Good Practice.
    agfd 70x91 AGFD Association of Green Funeral Directors
Members are willing to offer eco-friendly funeral options and encourage green practice within their own workplace.
  BIO 78x87 BIE British Institute of Embalmers
Trained members abide by the Code of Ethics, which includes treating the body with respect.
  BIFD 70x78 BIFD British Institute of Funeral Directors
Members promote best practice through quality training and continued learning.

Step 5   Consider using a funeral director from further afield

If arranging a funeral on a budget is essential, you could save money by choosing a funeral director outside your locality, even though you may be charged for travelling time and mileage outside the normal allowance.  The funeral director may be able to travel to your home to make the arrangements, or they can discuss them with you over the phone or on Skype.  The key thing to consider is whether you want to visit the deceased before the funeral, how far is too far to travel?  We show you all the funeral directors who can provide a service in your area.


Step 6   Ask about payment terms

The financial and emotional impact of paying for a funeral cannot be underestimated.  It’s important to check the funeral director’s terms on the legally binding arrangement form before you commit.  Generally, funeral directors will ask for third party payments, such as cremation or burial fees, at the time of the arrangement or for them to be cleared at least 24 hours before the funeral.  These fees can account for around 30% – 50% of the funeral cost.  Some funeral directors may also ask for part or full payment of their fees at the same time.


If you think you may struggle to pay, ask your funeral director for advice on how you can lower the cost of the funeral.  This doesn’t mean having to compromise on the dignity and quality of service.  And although not obliged, your funeral director may be able to help by restructuring the payments.


Step 7  Finally, speak with your funeral director

Ask the funeral director questions before you make your final choice.  You should get a good feel as to whether they are the right one for you.


Start here


* Source:  Sun Life Direct ‘Cost of Dying Report 2016’



Kim Bird is the founder of the comparison and review site About the Funeral and Editor of the bereavement support and funeral planning magazine, Day by Day.

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