10 questions to ask to ensure you choose the right funeral director

When you lose a loved one, you only have a few weeks to prepare their funeral – at a time when you are dealing with your own grief and probably that of people close to you and the deceased. Simon Welham, Managing Director of Welham Jones Funerals and Memorials, explains some of the key questions to consider to help you choose a funeral director who will assist you in shaping the farewell you would wish your loved one to have…


  1. Should I choose a funeral director I know?

For many people, their initial thoughts revert to a funeral they have attended in the past, and if they liked the service and/or the venue. After all, a funeral is not a life event many of us have attended often, so it’s a useful reference point.


  1. Could family or friends give recommendations?

If you don’t have a local funeral director in mind, then seeking recommendations is a good idea; people are generally all too happy to help and share information. About 90% of families are referred to us, which is an important indicator for us that we are delivering a good service to our clients.


  1. Should I research online?

Comparing websites can give insights into different funeral directors, funerals in general and the choices available. Online reviews and testimonials can provide an idea of the variety of services on offer; however, as reviews can’t always be verified, we would advise you still to do your research in person.


  1. Should I choose a family run business?

Family run businesses will often have been trading for many years, even decades – a helpful barometer of good service and experience passed through the generations. They often offer a 24-hour on call service and have good relations with a network of suppliers, such as florists and printers, ensuring a seamless offering from beginning to end.

If your family has a trusted family funeral director they have used over the years, do check to see if they still are; some firms are sold but still operate under the established family name.


  1. Should I choose a local business?

The more local the firm, particularly a family run business, the more local knowledge the staff have. They will understand the local customs and traditions, as well as venues available. Whilst they look after your loved one before the funeral, you can feel somewhat reassured that they are not too far away.


  1. Can I select from a list of regulated funeral directors?

Remarkably, the answer is no! The industry is not regulated, and I dare say there are some stories out there you would not believe! However, families should always go to funeral directors that are members of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), or The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), so that they can be assured of the highest standards.


  1. Is it best to choose on first impressions?

Whatever your first point of contact – a phone call, visit or email – how you are dealt with will give you an instant understanding as to whether you feel heard, understood and looked after from the offset. The personal connection is all important and it’s essential to feel supported. Often, it’s wise to go with your instinct.


  1. Can I afford the service I’d like for my loved one?

If your loved one had taken out a pre-paid funeral plan, they might have given some guidance on the type of funeral they wanted and most of the costs might have been paid for in advance. However, if this is not the case or you still have costs to cover, budget can be a defining factor in your choice.

Look for a funeral director that gives costs up front with no hidden bills. Get a few comparisons to help inform your decision, and make sure that nothing has been missed. It’s all too easy to be misled by a low ‘telephone quote’, only to find that the final account is higher than a competitor’s quote that you initially thought was too expensive!


  1. Can the funeral director be flexible to our date and wishes?

It’s a great relief if your funeral director can give you the date and time you want. However, you might need to be flexible to get the length of service you want, which might be an earlier morning or later afternoon service instead.

If you want to know about the little touches that can truly personalise a final farewell, ask your funeral director what they can offer. And if you’re not sure, ask elsewhere.


  1. Can we have an environmentally friendly funeral?

The request for more eco-friendly funerals has increased. Wicker coffins and burials in woodland are possible. Make a list as to what is important to you and ask your shortlisted funeral directors.

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