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

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.

Chris

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

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

Connie

We sincerely thank the staff and in particular Sarah and James at Freemantle's Titchfield for their understanding and kindness in organising and conducting the recent funeral of our son John. The whole process was guided with much empathy on such sad occasion.

Michael Coward

We sincerly thank the staff and in particular Sarah and James at Freemantle's Titchfield for their understanding and kindness in organising and conducting the recent funeral of our son John. The whole process was guided with much empathy on such sad occasion.

Michael Coward

James handled the funerals of both my mother and father, and in both cases everything went very smoothly and was done with great dignity. We could not have asked for more.

Peter Allday

Recently I was sadly in need of the services of A.H.Freemantle. I cannot find words to thank James and his staff enough. They guided and comforted me through the whole sad process. James's quiet steady professionalism both before, and during the ceremony made a dreadful experience much much easier to endure..highly recommended to anyone facing this inevitable ordeal. Thank you all.

Robert Leake

Jane and her colleagues went above and beyond to support and guide my family and I through the most traumatic time. From the moment of instruction to the service itself, I received true professionalism coupled with empathy. Every detail was discussed, every request was met, with kindness and thought. Thank you.

Nicky Goga

Sarah really put our family at ease and was very helpful. Made a very difficult thing to do a lot easier. Would highly recommend their services.

Verity Maddocks

I’ve never lost a parent and didn’t have a clue what I should be doing - James made us feel very relaxed, made sure that our mum would be well looked after with him which gave us comfort. The celebrant he chose was absolutely brilliant and really made the whole experience extremely personal to us. James even sourced out a Leopard print coffin for us - the first in 22 years apparently! Would really recommend

Kerris Smith

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

Tim Quinlan

Excellent personable service. Caring and sensitive - Sarah always seemed to be available no matter what time. The attention to detail and everything was brilliant. We all felt very happy with the choice that we had made for our Mum's funeral and burial that we did not hesitate to use again for our Dad. Our Mum and Dad had such lovely "send offs" managed so well by A.H. Freemantles.

Susan Grace

I would like to thank all the staff at the Eastleigh branch of helping me through a very difficult time when my mother passed away recently. All the staff were so helpful, considerate and compassionate, Clair in the office was always helpful and kind and helped me through the whole process of arranging a funeral.

Robert Duma

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.

PM

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.

Kes

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

Freemantles handled the funeral for my son - firstly they had to collect him from Leicester where his post mortem took place. From the start they were so caring and attentive to our distress as it was a sudden death. Kate the lady we dealt with was absolutely wonderful. She dealt with every detail with so much sympathy and feeling. The Celebrant they appointed was also terrific and dealt with the ceremony exactly as we wanted. If you find yourself losing a loved one I would highly recommend Freemantles. They totally helped make a nightmare of losing your child bearable.

Helen Sallis

We as a family would like to thank James and everyone at Freemantle’s Titchfield for all their help and guidance, James you made us feel so relaxed and calm, the day went without a hitch, we laughed we cried, our mum would of approved of everything, also a very big thank you to Martin the celebrant, you were all amazing thank you so much.

Sarah Bartlett

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.

Customer

Exemplary and highly professional service throughout, with every effort made to accommodate the wishes of the family. Would highly recommend to anyone faced with having to arrange a funeral.

Robert Greaves

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

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