How to find a funeral director, things to consider & costs involved 

 

Funeral Directors can provide invaulable support and information. Their knowledge and guidance can ease the burden of dealing with legal and practical arrangements after a death. 

It can help to gather information together before you meet with them. To use our free Planning Tools and to save your own personalised collection of ideas to a folder, please REGISTER and LOGIN. Your Ideas Folder can be printed out or shared digitally with others involved in making arrangements.

Checklists provide summaries for 'WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES' and 'PLANNING A FUNERAL'. These can be printed out to use as a guide.

Although there is no obligation to appoint a Funeral Director, most people choose to do so.  The style, cost and quality of the services they offer vary, so it is advisable to speak to more than one in order to find a company that fits your requirements and budget.

Funeral Directors can take care of most aspects of the funeral (see list below), and many are happy to do as much or as little as you like. Some people ask them just to take care of the legal and more unfamiliar tasks (such as collection and storing the body) and then appoint a celebrant to help them plan and lead the service, or they may organise items such as flowers and music themselves.

HOW A FUNERAL DIRECTOR CAN HELP

    • the collection, caring, preparation and timely delivery of the body to the chapel or crematorium (or chosen location for the service)
    • completion of all necessary paperwork
    • assistance, guidance and support
    • recommendation and appointing of a suitable Officiant (for example, a Celebrant or Priest)
    • advice on location for the service and/or local crematoria
    • choosing and ordering a coffin 
    • arranging transport
    • ordering flowers
    • providing pallbearers
    • organist fee (if required)
    • production of order of service
    • co-ordination of proceedings on the day of the funeral
    • collection of the cremated remains (where relevant)
    • collection and co-ordination of any charitable donations
    • disbursements (payments made on your behalf, for example the cremation or burial fee; the officiants fee; any other items provided by the Funeral Director)

HOW WHITEBALLOON CAN HELP

Whiteballoon's Information section can help you to decide what type of service you would like and to think about the questions you want to ask your Funeral Director. Our free Planning Tools enable you to gather and share ideas and information with others involved in making arrangements. If you would like to research some of the items in advance, please go to Inspiration or view the many beautiful photos on our Inspiration Wall.

 

HOW TO FIND A FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Family, friends, a local GP or religious leader may be able to recommend one.

Alternatively, you can find a Funeral Director on whiteballoon in the Providers section or using the search facility above. Many, but not all, are members of either the The Society of Allied and Independent Funderal Directors (SAIF) or the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) who both have their own codes of conduct and compliant procedures.

The quality, style and cost of the services offered vary enormously so it is advisable to speak to more than one. Also, before committing, it is best to meet them to go through their prices and quotation. 

 

INFORMATION THEY WILL NEED FROM YOU

There are many decisions to make in a short amount of time, so the more prepared you are for the meeting the better. Having a clear idea of your budget, thoughts and wishes, will help you and your Funeral Director to create a fitting funeral ceremony.

The sort of questions that your Funeral Director will ask:

    • would you like the deceased to be buried or cremated
    • a suitable date for the funeral (this will also depend on availability)
    • where is the funeral to be held
    • who will lead the ceremony (a celebrant, faith leader, friend, family member?)
    • preferences for choice of coffin or urn
    • preferences for transport
    • any particular wishes regarding the choice of flowers
    • ideas & thoughts for the order of service
    • preferences for music, songs, hymns and prayers
    • who you would like to present the Eulogy, and any other readings
    • ideas for personal touches
    • would you like donations to a particular charity or charities
    • any choices for catering and the post-funeral gathering

INFORMATION FOR THE PERSON LEADING THE CEREMONY

At this stage, it may also be worth thinking about information that the person leading the ceremony might need. They will want to accurately capture the essence and uniqueness of your loved one, so have a think about the following:

    • their personality and character
    • their values and the way they lived their life
    • any funny quirks or amusing stories
    • what they were passionate about or favourite hobbies
    • anywhere they lived and loved 
    • favourite songs or poems
    • where they were at school or college
    • any notable achievements or challenges overcome
    • family members and close friends

HOW WHITEBALLOON CAN HELP

We have created a number of tools to help you to prepare for your meeting.

Checklists for What To Do When Someone Dies and Planning a Funeral can be printed out to remind you of the things to consider and questions to ask.

A personalised Ideas Folder can be created in which to save any items on whiteballoon that resonate with you (from music and flowers to poems and prayers). These can be 'hearted' and saved to your folder to share with family and friends, or taken to the meeting with your Funeral Director as a reminder of your thoughts and wishes.

Through our search facility and Inspiration pages, whiteballoon makes it easy to find and connect with Providers who can help you to create what you are looking for.

 

Funerals can be expensive. According to Sunlife's Cost of Dying Report*, the average cost of a basic funeral in the UK in 2020 was £4,184*. This can vary considerably depending on the location (the cost is substantially higher in London) and the type of service.

By the time you have accounted for other possible expenses, such as flowers, coffin, the post-funeral gathering and fees for hiring someone to administer the estate, the total 'cost of dying' can often double.

Although there is no legal requirement to do so, the majority of people appoint a Funeral Director to arrange, co-ordinate and oversee most aspects of a funeral. How much you wish them to take care of, and consequently their total costs and fees, is up to you. Some people choose a Funeral Director to just take care of the legal and more unfamiliar tasks (such as the collecting and storing of the body) and then organise transport, flowers, music, and production of the order of service, etc themselves.

Here are some of the items your Funeral Director's costs and fees may cover:

      • the collection, caring, preparation and timely delivery of the body to the chapel or crematorium (or chosen location for the service)
      • completion of all necessary paperwork
      • assistance, guidance and support
      • recommendation and appointing of a suitable Officiant (for example, a Celebrant or Priest)
      • advice on location for the service and/or local crematoria
      • coffin 
      • transport
      • flowers
      • pallbearers
      • organist fee
      • musicians or choir
      • order of service
      • collection of the cremated remains (where relevant)
      • collection and co-ordination of any charitable donations
      • disbursements (payments made on your behalf, for example to two doctors for the completion of the cremation certificate, where relevant; the cremation or burial fee; the officiants fee; any other items provided by the Funeral Director)

 

Funerals are often sold as a package, so do ask for a breakdown and summary of the costs in writing so that it is clear what is included and what is not. Please note, certain items, when part of a funeral package, are exempt from VAT.

The whiteballoon Planning a Funeral checklist and a printout of your Ideas Folder can be taken along as a reminder of questions to ask and any choices you have already made.

RESEARCHING ITEMS IN ADVANCE

If you would like to research some of the items in advance, or get an idea of price, please visit the Providers section of whiteballoon or use the search facillity above. For ideas and inspiration, please go to Inspiration or view the many beautiful photos on our Inspiration Wall.

Budget Planner in our Planning Tools section can help you to set a budget and keep track of costs. Please note that you will need to register to use this free facility.

For more information about the cost of burial and cremation, and for ideas on ways to keep costs down, please see whiteballoon Costs & Financial Support.

 

*for the SunLife Cost of Dying Report click here.