The two most common factors for people choosing their funeral director are the overall expense and the quality of the goods and services provided.
When funeral planning, how do you choose the right funeral director in advance when these factor of cost and service are ever-changing and could be wildly different by the time your funeral is needed?
This guide includes information about the cost of a UK funeral today, what the cost might look like in the future, and some quality assurance considerations when choosing a funeral director in advance of the event.
Who is this guide for?
Do I need to choose a funeral director when planning in advance?
When you're planning the details of your funeral, you may want to specify a particular funeral director. Don't have anyone in mind? That's okay. You don't need to choose a funeral director.
The important thing is that you don’t let your indecision stop you from cracking on with your plans. Your thoughtful decision to plan ahead can help loved ones avoid the added emotional and financial strain often experienced by bereaved families when having to make the arrangements at the time the funeral is needed.
You don’t have to use a funeral director by the way. Your family can organise the funeral with or without the help of a funeral director or the help of a home funeral arranger.
If you do want to choose the funeral director and are unsure how to select the right one, we've got some key pointers to help you.
2 things to bear in mind before choosing your funeral director when planning your funeral in advance
Life is unpredictable
Your choice of funeral director today may not have the same reputation, belong to the same independent company or group, or even be around when you finally need them.
It’s also possible you might move to another part of the country in the future – in which case you will need to choose funeral director.
If the cost of your funeral is going to be a consideration for you or your family, you need to get a feel for the funeral director’s fees before you make your final choice - even though it could be some time before their service is needed. Do your research. Ask for a copy of their price lists or go online.
What most people don't know about funeral costs
Local funeral director’s fees can vary
by more than 50%,
for the same service,
for the same standard of service,
even in the same high street.
Funeral costs have risen well in excess of general inflation and are set to continue in this way.
The cost of a basic funeral today is £4,184. The total cost of dying is £9,263 - which includes the extras such as flowers, funeral notices, the reception after the funeral and legal fees. Funeral costs are expected to rise a further 20.6% to £5,044 by 2025.
What you can do to help your loved ones avoid the rise in funeral costs
To avoid needlessly wasting money - due to the continuing above-inflation rise in funeral costs - that's better left in your estate for your beneficiaries, you can set money aside.
You could consider putting money into a savings account, buying a life insurance or Over 50s policy, or a prepaid funeral plan. What makes a funeral plan different, is that it fixes the funeral cost at today’s prices and guarantees to pay for your funeral regardless of how much the cost may rise in the future.
3 key pieces of advice to help you choose the right funeral director when planning in advance
Look for a mark of service quality
Anyone can set up as a funeral director.
Consider choosing a funeral director who belongs to a funeral trade association or certified in some other way for assured quality of service. In the UK, there are two UK funeral trade associations. Registered members must abide by a strict Code of Practice. They are:
Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors Independent (SAIF)
Includes independent funeral director members only
National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
Includes independent and chain funeral director members
Both associations monitor their members’ compliance with a Code of Practice. This includes a premises inspection and interviews with key personnel.
Get a recommendation
Ask friends and family for their experience.
Check online reviews
Back up word of mouth recommendation with ratings and comments on review sites. To make sure the reviews are impartial, honest and genuine, here are some things to look out for.
Can I choose my preferred funeral director when I buy a prepaid funeral plan?
Most plan providers will allow you to nominate your preferred funeral director, but it will depend on the type of funeral plan you buy. It will also depend on whether your preferred funeral director agrees to take on the plan.
If the funeral director declines to take on your funeral plan, the plan provider will find a worthy replacement (the plan provider's reputation depends on it!) and put forward another funeral director for your consideration. If you don't approve, keep asking your provider to find another funeral director until you are happy.
Funeral trade association
Members: Group and independent funeral directors
National Association of Funeral Directors
Funeral trade association
Members: Independents funeral directors only
Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors
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