When someone dies, the two most common factors for people wanting choice of their funeral director are reputation and cost. 

This begs the questions:

Do you have a choice of funeral director when you buy a funeral plan?

Will you need to choose the funeral director when you buy a funeral plan?

How do you choose the right funeral director in advance when the factor of service could be wildly different by the time your funeral is needed?  

Who is this guide for?

  • Those wanting to know why it's often easier, and better, for the funeral plan provider to nominate the funeral director.
  • Somebody wanting to  know what happens if  you're not happy with the choice of funeral director the funeral plan provider nominates.
  • Anyone keen to nominate a funeral director of their choosing and  - if the terms of the funeral plan allow  - how to select the right funeral director.

Reading time:

 3 mins

Can I choose my preferred funeral director when I buy a prepaid funeral plan?

Some plan providers will allow you to nominate your preferred funeral director, but it will depend on

  • the type of funeral plan you buy;  
  • if your preferred funeral director is on the plan provider's panel;
  • when your preferred funder director is outside the plan provider's panel, but agrees to deliver the services the funeral plan.
  • Your favoured funeral director may decline to take on your funeral plan. Usually because they are commercially restricted to service only one plan provider. And the plan you want isn't with the provider they have an arrangement with.   If this is the case, your plan provider will put forward names of other funeral directors for your consideration until you are happy.  

Do I need to choose the funeral director when planning in advance?

No, you don't need to choose a funeral director when planning in advance.  In some ways, it's easier not to nominate a funeral director for two reasons which we will come on to.

The important thing is not to let your indecision stop you from moving on with your plans.  No one knows what's around the corner, but from the moment you plan and prepay your funeral, you can be certain in the knowledge of this:

  • You'll get the funeral you want;
  • your loved ones will be saved from the upset of organising your funeral; and 
  • you will have spared them from having to unnecessarily bear the cost of future funeral price rises,  which - depending on when you die - could cost them dearly.

Two reasons why it might be easier to leave the choice of funeral director to the funeral plan provider

Life is unpredictable

You might move to another part of the country in the future.  Also, your choice of local funeral director today may not have the same reputation in the future. Also it may not be in the same hands or even be around when your funeral is needed.

In any of the above scenarios, your funeral plan provider will ensure your plan is placed with a local reputable funeral director.  The plan provider's reputation depends on it!

Money matters

If your choice of funeral director means the plan provider has to approach a funeral director outside of its panel, the cost of your funeral plan may increase.  This is because your preferred funeral director may demand an extra payment for it to be commercially viable for them to take on your funeral plan.  

The fact is that some funeral directors can be considerably more expensive than others, but this doesn't have to mean the quality of the service is any less.

Your funeral plan provider will appoint a funeral director within its panel, who will be contracted to deliver your funeral when it's needed, at the price you were quoted.

Should I be concerned if the funeral director that I want, and who is eventually appointed, isn't already on the funeral plan providers panel?

No - providing you are happy to pay the extra, if indeed there is anything extra to pay for your preferred choice of funeral director to deliver your funeral plan.  

Some funeral directors prefer to have the freedom to accept or decline a funeral plan on an ad-hoc basis, rather than being appointed automatically.

What should I look out for if I want to choose which funeral director delivers the service in my funeral plan?

If you are still keen to choose your funeral director, here are three key things you should look out for when planning in advance to ensure you find the right one.

Look for a mark of service quality

Consider choosing a funeral director who belongs to a funeral trade association. (not every funeral director is a member). Or who is certified in some other way that assures you of a quality standard of service.  

There are two funeral trade associations in the UK, whose registered members must abide by a strict Code of Practice. 

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

Validate 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.

  • Ensure the review site is independent of the funeral industry
    Independent review sites include Feefo, Review.io or Trustpilot.
  • Scan the rating scores
    If the review site predominantly shows 5-star reviews, ask the site to confirm how the reviews are collected.  Bear in mind that if the funeral director invites a client to leave a review. So it’s all too easy for only the happy ones to be approached.
  • Check the rating is for the funeral service only
    Another thing to watch out for on review sites is ‘merged’ reviews.  This is where a single rating is shown, but it covers a whole host of different services and products, e.g.  funeral plans, wills, estate administration.  Get in touch with the review site if in doubt.


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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About the author 

Derek Thompson

Derek Thompson is a writer and author, who has written extensively about grief and the funeral industry. He thinks humour is a much-underrated commodity. And thanks to a mix-up, when his name was read out during a committal, instead of his brother’s, he has technically been to his own funeral.

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