What Does a Funeral Director Do?
The primary role of the Funeral Director is two-fold. First, to facilitate the entire funeral planning process and to make sure that everything gets completed according to the wishes of the family. And second, to serve as a counselor to families going through a particularly difficult time. Many funeral directors are trained in grief counseling and compassion, and it’s those skills that can really set them apart from each other and make the whole experience for the bereaved, a positive or negative one.
One of the major competencies of a Funeral Director is to know the laws surrounding their practice. Because of past abuses within the industry, these laws are highly regulated. For example, Funeral Directors are required by federal law to be upfront with consumers regarding what specific services will be provided and at what cost. They must present all who inquire about their services with a general price list which shows all the items and services the funeral home offers, and the cost of each one. They also file all certificates, permits, affidavits and authorizations as may be required by law.
If you choose to work with a funeral home directly and forego the no-cost option of body donation for medical research and training, here is what you can expect from the home’s Funeral Director:
Funeral Director Duties
Arrange for removal of the deceased from the place of death.
Prepare the body according to the wishes of the survivors and legal requirements.
Gather information for obituary.
Assist with notifying friends and family.
Help family choose and make arrangements for clergy, church or memorial service location, as well as help with personalization such as music, photos, flowers and more.
Consult with family members to gather any necessary information regarding burial or cremation arrangements.
Make arrangements with a cemetery, crematory or another place of disposition.
Provide options for casketed remains and/or urns for cremated remains.
File all certificates, permits, affidavits and authorizations as may be required by law.
Acquire certified copies of the death certificate which will be needed to settle the estate of the deceased.
Help families with Social Security benefits, veterans insurance, grief counseling and other needs.
Provide additional memorialization products such as a register book, prayer cards, acknowledgements and funeral folders as instructed by the family.
Arrange for pallbearers, transportation and special services (fraternal or military), as requested by the family.
Direct the funeral services in a professional and compassionate manner, and coordinate the funeral procession to a cemetery or other final resting place.
Handle all memorial contributions presented to the family.