What you should know about using a funeral director

What you should know about using a funeral director

It can feel daunting to approach a funeral director when you want to discuss or arrange a funeral, especially when the process is unfamiliar.  The financial impact of a funeral can add to the burden too. In these instances it’s worth bearing in mind the following facts:

  • The funeral director’s service is not legally binding until the arrangement form is signed.
  • The person who signs the funeral director’s arrangement form is responsible for payment.
  • You have seven days in which to cancel the funeral arrangement contract if it was signed in your own home.
  • Funeral directors who are members of a trade association cannot charge you more than the written quote without your permission.
  • You don’t have to use any or all of the funeral director’s services, or buy a coffin from them, but you should be aware that some funeral directors in this instance may choose not to offer their services if they can’t provide the full package.
  • Embalming, also called ‘hygienic treatment’, slows down decay and restores a more life-like appearance. It is an invasive procedure.  Embalming is only required in special circumstances, such as when the body is to be repatriated overseas or in cases of communicable disease.  If your funeral director advises you that they will be embalming the body, ask why.  If you need further advice contact the British Institute of Embalmers before allowing the funeral director to go ahead with this procedure.
  • In the case of a coroner’s involvement due to a sudden or unexpected death, you do not have to use the coroner’s contracted funeral director – you can choose your own.
  • You can arrange the funeral yourself.  There is no law that demands you have to use a funeral director.

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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