What Does a Funeral Director do?

Blogs & Articles Article What Does a Funeral Director do?
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When planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one, it is highly likely you’ll require a funeral director to help with the organisation of all the formalities. A.H. Freemantle has been around for over 150 years so you can be sure we know how to help you through the process of organising a funeral – it’s something that has been rooted in our rich history.

The public’s understanding of what a funeral director’s job is can be blurred, which is why we’ve created this easy-to-understand guide. Read on to learn what a funeral director does in all stages of planning and delivering a funeral.

What does a funeral director do?

Traditionally, a funeral director is someone who helps arrange every detail of a funeral, including the coffin, ceremony and burial or cremation. They typically work in a crematorium or a funeral home in a local village, town or city.

Typically, funeral directors help individuals with the planning of a funeral, whilst taking into consideration specific needs and requirements.

What does a funeral director do before the funeral?

Together with family members, a funeral director will help determine where the funeral service will take place, the date and time of wakes, memorial services and establishing whether your loved one should be cremated or buried.

In addition to this, an undertaker will help manage legal requirements and death notices as this comes under their job description – so don’t put pressure on yourself to know how to handle these things!

  • Collection and preparation of the deceased
  • Handling of legal documents and paperwork
  • Help arrange the funeral

What does a funeral director do at the funeral?

On the day of the service, a funeral director’s main role is to ensure everything runs smoothly. They would begin by leading the procession and will walk in front of the hearse (this may not be for the entire route depending on the distance between the funeral home and the service), but it’s where the funeral director is at their most visible to anyone attending the service.

Following that, they’ll also oversee transportation for family members and supervise the burial or cremation once at the service location. It is the funeral director’s responsibility to ensure the requests made by the family members are followed and respected on the day, and to be on hand at all times should the bereaved need it.

  • Transportation of the body
  • Supervise pallbearers
  • Conducting and overseeing the service
  • Help arrange the wake

What does a funeral director do after the funeral?

Once the funeral service has finished, a funeral director will arrange for the ashes of the deceased to be placed in an urn for those that have chosen a cremation service, alternatively, they can help select a headstone or other memorial and arrange its installation.

After this process, undertakers can also help arrange for acknowledgements and thanks in local media outlets along with bereavement support.

Is an undertaker the same as a funeral director?

Funeral directors and undertakers are often used interchangeably in the industry but this isn’t fairly common knowledge in the UK. You’ll be able to find in the Oxford Dictionary that a funeral director is defined as “an undertaker (= a person whose job is to prepare the bodies of dead people to be buried or cremated, and to arrange funerals).

So yes, an undertaker and a funeral director are the same things.

Over 100 Testimonials and Reviews

I can’t praise Claire at the Botley branch enough, who looked after my husband’s funeral. She was very professional, but more than that she was kind, caring, and nothing was too much trouble. Going above and beyond, which made this very difficult time so much more bearable for my family and I.

Nicola Abbott

Extremely kind & considerate. Very professional. I felt supported throughout a very difficult process. Jane was fantastic, sensitive and caring and made me feel that she truly understood and cared about us all.

Jill Spence

James and the team really are who you need by your side when you are facing your most challenging times in life. I've been in need of the services of A H Freemantle twice in a year having lost both my mother and father. Honestly I couldn't recommend them enough, at such a challenging time they really did do everything to make it as bearable as possible. I can not recommend James and the team enough, they were truly incredible from start to finish.


From my first phone call to the completion of the funeral the staff at A H Freemantle gave outstanding service. They were professional and compassionate, taking time to listen to our requests and discuss the options. They made a difficult time easier and I knew I could trust them absolutely with the arrangements.


Although my review is simplistic it comes from the heart. Without A H Freemantle's Park Gate & Titchfield offices I could never have got through what was and always will be my darkest hour. Thank you for looking after my beautiful mother, Gwen. Special thanks to Jane and Dawn. And thank you Jane for recommending the wonderful Rev. Boggust. My brothers, sister, and myself will always remember the kindness, respect, and compassion shown by all at A H Freemantle.

Eleanor Campbell-Loveday

Sarah's kindness, genuine warmth, understanding of the personal character of how people say goodbye to a loved one, and inclusive approach, together with her knowledge and professionalism made me feel 'held' throughout the process of organising and being at my mum's funeral. It made such a difference at a difficult time. Highly recommend this company to anyone.


Having had experience with this company earlier in the year they were the natural choice when my wife died. Clair was absolutely brilliant from the initial enquiry and compassionately and clearly explained the whole process. Nothing was too much trouble and the whole range of options clearly laid out and explained. We really didn’t have to do anything ourselves. I would gladly recommend when the the time comes to anyone else.


I would like to thank both James and Jane for the courtesy and respect shown to me and my family. They appreciated the tragic circumstances and were able to guide us gently through the Church service and subsequent committal at Wessex. You were as a company stars that day, showing us the way.

Brian Stoker

James was incredibly understanding and dealt with a difficult situation with care and attention. Nothing was too much trouble.

Tim Quinlan

James and the team at A H Freemantle did the most fantastic job for us when my brother died suddenly and unexpectedly. They were very clear about the things I had to make a decision on - not there and then but in my own time - but they also completely took over and seamlessly managed all those other things that have to be booked and paid for. They also gave me great advice about how to handle the things I needed to handle. They contributed hugely to giving my brother the send off that he deserved and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend A H Freemantle to anyone else when that time comes and you need a funeral director.

Kevin Briscoe

James and his team were extremely kind, thoughtful ad professional. As a family we appreciated the help and advice that was given.