The Best Funeral Director exists - Upon a sudden death, most people grab a telephone or mobile and call their local or nearest Funeral Director immediately to get things ‘sorted’. The Funeral Director you have just rung may or may not be the best option for you. There are key questions to ask and things to look out for you to find the best funeral Director for you. Here we will discuss a few of those questions you need to ask or think about.
Funeral Directors are human, warm blooded and have feelings just like all of us. One Funeral Director commented, arranging a funeral is, “the ultimate distress purchase ... made infrequently by inexpert, emotionally vulnerable clients under time pressure... Clients don’t know what to expect, spend little time thinking about the provider and feel under pressure to sort things quickly”. (CMA report published March 2019).
By talking to a Funeral Director and asking them questions, you will be able to gauge whether he or she is right for you. Whether they will look after your loved one well, be as professional and efficient as you want them to be as well as a host of tangible and intangible feelings you may have.
Only 14% of people organizing a funeral compare more than one funeral director according to industry research. Only 4% search for a Funeral Director on the Internet.
The price is not always the driving factor; in fact, only 6% indicated price was the most important aspect whilst 5% said the range of options were the most important part in selecting a Funeral Director.
How to Choose the Best Funeral Director for you
The first thing is not to rush-in and call a Funeral Director straight away – not unless you know them well, trust them and are happy to use their professional services without question.
STOP – BREATH – THINK
Is a good maxim.
Their funeral home may be a familiar sight as you pass them to and from work each day or pass them on your weekly visits to the supermarket. Knowing of their existence is not the same as knowing them personally.
Jules, a Funeral Arranger at the Nuneaton Heart of England Co-operative funeralcare, has one of those personalities that radiates gentleness, kindness, and genuine caring qualities. One can hear and feel that over the phone. Sitting and talking with her simply emphasizes this even further. She is not unique, but this is what you should be looking for. Caring and empathetic.
Joy, Jule’s Funeral Director is a warm, thoughtful, and deeply passionate person about people. Again, these are traits you want your Funeral Director to have. Meeting and talking will reveal this (or not as the case may be). If you do not feel empathy immediately, they are not the person for you.
Questions to initially ask a Funeral Director.
It is an incredibly stressful time. They will understand and answer any questions you may have of them and their service. There are no right or wrong questions to ask.
Here are a few:
• Will you come to my home and discuss the arrangements, or must I come to your Funeral Home?
• When will you come and take my loved one? Do I get a choice of time?
• Can I choose the funeral date, or will it be chosen for me?
• Do you have a Chapel of Rest at your Funeral Home I can view my loved one?
• Can you offer a choice of funeral transport instead of just a hearse? (“George was a keen motorcyclist and would have loved a motorcycle sidecar hearse…”)
• Do I get a choice of coffin? (“I would prefer a Willow, Bamboo or Cardboard coffin to be eco-friendly”)
• Do you collate the costs for other services I would like and bill me in one invoice (Funeral Celebrant, Order of Service printing, cars, coffin, Pall Bearer and so forth?)
There are many other questions you may want to ask. Do not worry if you cannot think of them on your initial call.
The relationship you build, albeit over a short time span is important. A Funeral Director has just one chance to get it right. And they do want to get it right.
Key pointers for identifying the Best Funeral Director Exists
• Are they listening to you?
• Have you been persuaded to purchase the most or nearly the most expensive coffin they have for example?
• Do you feel they are ‘rushing you’ into making decisions?
• Do they offer suggestions on what you have said or is their funeral plan or way of doing things entirely formulaic?
Most people know what they do not want for a loved ones’ Funeral. Identifying what you do want on the other hand can be an uphill struggle for Funeral Directors at times.
First and foremost, Funeral Directors want to please you. They want you to have your wishes. It is almost like Pandora’s Box – you can have whatever you want. But bear in mind, wishes and desires can come at a cost and have consequences.
A Funeral Director’s level of involvement
Before calling a Funeral Director, decide within reason what you want him or her to do - even though you may be uncertain about a few things. The Best Funeral Director will do as little or as much as you would like him or her to do.
Think of how much your family may wish to be involved in the funeral and or arrangements; from washing and dressing the deceased, being a Pall Bearer to conducting the funeral and so forth.
The quality of service a Funeral Director gives is as vitally important as price. A traditional church funeral will not be the same price as a Woodland Burial. Was the deceased a ‘formal person’ or a ‘seat of your pants dare-devil’ type of person? Conveying that to a Funeral Director will give insight into what suggestions he/she will give and thus the type of service offered.
In the infamous catchphrase of a famous store, ‘it is alright to change your mind’. Listen to the Funeral Director (they do give good advice), discuss ideas with family, friends, or close ones to you. Make your mind-up and then inform the Funeral Director as soon-as-possible.
The Best Funeral Director exists and is out there – for you.
Take your time and do not be rushed into making hasty decisions. Ask questions. Everyone involved (the Funeral Director, me as a Funeral Celebrant, the florist, and many others) want to do our utmost best for you and the deceased. The options available to you are now bigger than they have ever been. Where ‘one hat fits all’ used to be the norm, it is certainly not the case today. Within reason, you can have the send-off you or the deceased would have wanted or dreamed of.
Planning ahead, before that inevitable day happens from which Funeral Director to use, church versus Civil Funeral Celebrant to even a Humanist officiant, Woodland Burial, cremation versus Church yard interment, traditional coffin versus eco-coffins to a whole myriad of options is in itself an exciting journey to undertake and plan ahead with family and friends.
The choice is now definitely yours.