Choosing a Funeral Director
Unlike the plethora of price comparison websites or other listings of ‘recommended funeral directors’, we have personally been to visit every one of the companies we list as Recommended by The Good Funeral Guide.
We’ve had a good look round, asked loads of questions and have satisfied ourselves that these people are wholly worthy of our endorsement.
These are the companies that we consider to be the best funeral directors, and we have written about each of them in detail.
If you are a funeral director and are interested in being recommended by us then we invite you to apply for accreditation.
Not every applicant succeeds, but if you do then you will be in very good company indeed.
We can tell you who’s best
All funeral directors look the same – it’s very hard to tell them apart.
Well they don’t all look the same to us. That’s why we offer accreditation to really good funeral directors so that we can, in turn, recommend them to you.
We go to see them. We spend time with them. We look everywhere and ask lots of penetrating questions. We make sure they care for people who have died with kindness and respect. We make sure they listen to you properly, charge you fairly and enable you to create a funeral which fully reflects your values, your wishes and your budget. We write reviews of them on this website.
We’re sorry there aren’t more. But we hope you will find our listings useful — everyone we recommend is very good indeed.
Your legal rights and responsibilities
No law requires you to use an undertaker. An undertaker is your agent, your deputy, your colleague. You are the funeral director.
Find out more about who’s in charge and all your rights and responsibilities here: Your legal rights and responsibilities
You will sign a contract with the funeral director for the supply of goods and services. You can require the funeral director to sign an contract with you concerning the privacy, security, dignity and care of the person who has died.
Download the contract here: Contract
Do you really have to have a funeral?
Read the document: Do you really have to have a funeral?
Find out about direct cremation and burial here: Direct cremation and burial
Choosing a funeral director
More funeral directors than you might think are brilliant; some of course are awful.
The person you are looking for is someone who can listen to you, understand you, see where you’re coming from, interpret your needs and wishes and deliver what you want on budget. The right funeral director for one person may not necessarily be right for someone else. So in addition to making a hard-headed judgement you’ll also need to pay attention to your gut feeling.
Mostly, the best funeral directors are good independents. They are likely to be less expensive and offer a higher level of personal service.
We think it’s important that the person you make arrangements with at the funeral home will be there for you on the day of the funeral. Many funeral directors do not offer this continuity of care.
Find out more about continuity of care here: Continuity of care
Find out more about choosing a funeral director here: How to choose a good funeral director
Find out who the real independents are here: The four types of undertaker
Download the Buy Only What You Want checklist here: Buy only what you want
What do funeral directors do?
Don’t be taken in by the fancy title, funeral directors are not licensed. There’s no compulsory training. Anyone can set themselves up as a funeral director, no previous experience necessary. Funeral directors undertake to do those jobs, and only those jobs, that you are legally allowed to ask them to do for you. That’s why they are called undertakers. In addition to being able to look after the body of the person who has died and transport them to the funeral, a funeral director is, basically, an event organiser. Some—just some—are brilliant at this. You can, of course, do as much of what they do as you want.
Find out more about what funeral directors do here: What do funeral directors do
Find out how funeral directors care for people who have died here: How do undertakers care for the dead?
What are funeral directors like?
Most of us don’t know anyone who’s an undertaker nor do we ever think about undertakers until we have to. What are they like as people?
Find out here: What are funeral directors like
What does a funeral cost?
The bad news: funeral directors are in it to make money. The good news: the best are some of the most reasonably priced. Treat the transaction the same as you would with any service provider. Value for money can only be measured by the value you place on the funeral as an event. The more important this is to you, the more important it is to find exactly the right funeral director.
Co-operative Funeralcare and Dignity plc are more expensive than we think they ought to. Avoid them. We have very little time, either, for the Funeral Services Partnership.
NOTE: It’s not always obvious who owns a funeral home. See Beware the name over the door below.
For some quick online price comparisons, have a look at yourfuneralchoice.com, the online price comparison website run by some very nice people who we know.
If money is very tight or you simply want a lowest-cost funeral, we can advise you.
If you are arranging a funeral for a baby or a child under 16, you can apply for help up to £700 from the Child Bereavement Charity.
Find out about funeral director’s charges here: What do you pay for att doc
Beware the name over the door!
Many branches of funeral chains trade under the family name of the undertaker who sold out to them. They look just like family businesses but they’re not. How disgraceful, you may think, that these outfits have so little faith in their good name that they feel they have to dress up as someone else. How right you are.
Find out how to tell who’s what: The four types of undertaker
Trusted information resources
The Bereavement Services Portal is a good source of very useful info about registrars, cemeteries, memorials, local funeral directors, natural burial grounds, care and advice and the like. Find it here.
You can find pretty much all the background information you’ll need about cemeteries here.
If you’d like to meet up with real funeral directors in the virtual world or in person and find out more about what they do, why not consider joining the Good Funeral Guild? Some of the very best are part of the Guild, along with people from all walks of life who have a common interest in making funerals better. In the process, they are all helping us keep this website going for those who need it now, or in the future.