What is the role of a funeral director?

Last Updated: 27th June 2022

Understanding a funeral director’s role might help a person decide what type of funeral they choose and who they place their trust in to carry out the final arrangements.

The question of what is the role of a funeral director often arises and is easily misunderstood by many.

First and foremost, what is the role of a funeral director can be answered by stating that funeral directors are responsible for making arrangements for all types of funerals, including burials and cremations, as well as providing support and advice of the bereaved of the person who has recently passed away.

In order to fulfil it well, what is the role of a funeral director can be explored further in what skills and knowledge a person should have in this role. 

A funeral director should demonstrate excellent customer service with sensitivity and understanding due to the particularly emotional and challenging time their customers face at the time they require their services.

Attention to detail is particularly important so that mistakes do not occur but they should also be able to accept criticism and work well under pressure. 

The skills that allow someone to understand what is the role of a funeral director should also include being very patient and being able to remain calm in the most stressful situations as well as being able to understand how different people may react in such situations.  They should be able to work well individually, as well as within teams, and possess management skills with an ability to be able to work autonomously in a confident way.

However, the skills of a funeral director does not stop there.

The question of what is the role of a funeral director can go further because funeral directors are often skilled to carry out other tasks and responsibilities.

A funeral director may dress the body in clothing specifically selected by the family of the deceased person or the deceased person expressed themselves within their final wishes.

Funeral directors are often trained and licensed to practise embalming as well.  The deceased person can therefore be fully prepared for interment using the funeral director’s services.

There are many tasks that are included when considering what is the role of a funeral director. 

A funeral director will often help the bereaved loved ones, next of kin or family of the deceased person make the plans for a funeral to be held that meets their wishes.  What is the role of a funeral director will be demonstrated fully in how well the deceased person’s family or next of kin feel the whole process, from their initial enquiry to the collection of tributes or donations after the funeral, goes and how much stress has been lifted from them because of the funeral director’s expertise.

The legal requirements following the death of a loved one will be explained and can be attributed to what is the role of a funeral director to the next of kin or family of the deceased person so they can fully understand what needs to be completed, by whom and when.

They may help the bereaved loved ones, next of kin or family of the deceased person by arranging the transfer of the deceased person to rest until the funeral takes place. 

The funeral director will prepare the body, as per the deceased person’s next of kin or family’s final wishes and arrange visits for those permitted in the chapel of rest prior to the funeral taking place. 

Another key factor of what is the role of a funeral director is highlighted when the funeral director demonstrates a seamless process in arranging the logistics of the actual funeral, such as the date of the funeral, the time and the location of the funeral, and advise on the costs of such plans.

The funeral team is briefed and led on the day of the funeral of the deceased person, ensuring that the final arrangements are in place and everything runs smoothly on the day.

Additional services, such as flowers, death notices and transport on the day of the funeral can also be arranged by the funeral director.  Advice on the headstones and other types of memorials can be provided or arranged by the funeral director.

Any floral tributes or charitable donations are managed by the funeral director, before and after the funeral takes place. 

If a person considers a career as a funeral director and wonders what is the role of a funeral director they may expect to work in any environments, including outdoors in inclement weathers.  They may have to wear a uniform and they may work in a funeral home, in an office, at a cemetery or even in a client’s home.

The role of ‘undertaker’ is often used interchangeably with ‘funeral director’, however, whilst the undertaker manages the body and the funeral service what is the role of a funeral director can be defined as the person who operates a funeral home.

Once it is fully understood what is the role of a funeral director, it may become easier for a family or next of kin of the deceased person to be able to choose what services and type of funeral they wish.  This can,  of course, be planned in advance by anybody wishing to arrange their own funeral, with many funeral plans to choose from.

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