How to choose a funeral director

Although it’s not a pleasant thought, there will come a time in each of our lives when every one of us will be in search of a funeral director. Whether you’re saying goodbye to a loved one or thinking about your own last moments, funeral directors play an important role in bringing life to a close. Called upon during one of the most difficult times, choosing a good funeral director is important in ensuring we give a heart-warming send-off to those we love. 

To make the decision easier, we’ve gathered together all of the vital information you need to make an informed choice on which funeral director is best suited to your needs. Read on to find out more about what qualities to look for in a funeral director, when best to contact them and the important questions you should be asking when it comes to funeral arrangements.

What makes a great funeral director?

Choosing the right people to manage and direct a funeral can make all the difference in ensuring the day goes as you or your loved one would have wanted. There are many different qualities to look out for when it comes to picking not just a great funeral director, but the one that best suits your needs. Below we have outlined these key qualities, to help you make an informed decision.


Arguably one of the most important qualities a funeral director should have is empathy. If you’re walking through the doors to a funeral home, chances are you’re experiencing feelings of sadness, overwhelm and stress. A good funeral director is one who understands the myriad of feelings you may be having and has an empathetic awareness of how best to support each client individually. 

True empathy is a moral responsibility for all funeral directors and this should involve listening intently to clients, honouring the clients’ thoughts and opinions above all else and trying to approach each client with a unique perspective that fits their needs. By doing so, this will hopefully bring a welcome sense of clarity and calm to a turbulent situation.


Successfully planning a funeral requires a particular level of experience and knowledge that only experienced and/or qualified funeral directors will have. When choosing a funeral director, you put your faith and investment into a person you believe has the most knowledge on how to best curate the funeral you envision. 

A good funeral director will be able to answer any question you may have surrounding the funeral, registering a death and what funeral services are available based on budget, location and preferences. They will be up-to-date with the latest developments within the funeral industry and therefore able to provide clients with accurate and relevant knowledge throughout the process.


Communication is another vital factor in choosing a funeral director. They should take the time to actively listen to clients’ thoughts, feelings and concerns surrounding all matters of the death at hand and the funeral. A good director should respect you or your loved ones’ decisions, listen to how you would like the funeral to be conducted and offer professional guidance and support throughout the whole process.

They should be available 24/7 to answer any queries you may have and should also be transparent about their prices and the services they offer so that you know what to expect. A good funeral director will also be present on the day of the ceremony and afterwards to help manage the service, ensure the day runs smoothly and help you through any questions you may have after the funeral.

Emotional Strength

In a similar vein to empathy, funeral directors should also possess a certain degree of emotional strength in order to be able to conduct their role with compassion, care and professionalism. 

A good funeral director can often be an emotional pillar for families when dealing with the grief of losing a loved one, therefore, a key component of a successful funeral director is someone who knows how to balance empathy and professionalism, to be a strong force for those who need it most. 


And finally, another key characteristic of a good funeral director is creativity. As sad as it may seem, being responsible for giving someone’s loved one the perfect farewell requires a certain level of creativity and imagination. Whilst being faithful to the decisions and traditions loved ones have laid out in their funeral plans, funeral directors are there to offer unique ideas to clients if asked of them and in some cases are there to create a funeral from scratch.

No matter the circumstances, trying to make funeral decisions whilst grieving can take up a lot of emotional headspace and may impact your ability to make the right decisions. Therefore a good funeral director should be there to alleviate some of this mental load and offer advice on everything from floral arrangements to order of service, working together with clients to ensure the perfect farewell.

When should you contact a funeral director? 

When it comes to dealing with the aftermath of losing a loved one, knowing what to do next can be difficult, especially if you’ve never had to handle a situation like this before. It’s important to note that a funeral may only take place after the death has been registered, however, you do not have to wait until this moment before contacting a funeral director. Most funeral directors are available to contact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that you can start making arrangements at a time that suits you.

You may choose to contact a funeral director after the death has been registered, but our preference would always be to get in touch with them prior to this, and they can advise you on how to go about registering the death and the steps following this. In some cases, a coroner may need to be involved, in this instance a funeral director can liaise with the coroner for you and advise you on the plans from there. Some people may even choose to get in contact with a chosen funeral director before passing, in order to relieve loved ones of the burden of arranging the funeral themselves. 

What should you ask a funeral director?

Whether you’ve had experience organising a funeral before or it’s your first time, there are many questions you will have going around your head that may make the already sad situation more overwhelming and stressful. Therefore, choosing the right funeral director is essential to relieving any pressure and stress you have surrounding arrangements before, during and after the funeral. In order to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible from a trustworthy and respected director, there are a number of questions you should be asking when liaising with a director for the first time, including:

  • What is and isn’t included in the costs?
  • What services are provided?
  • What type of funeral ceremony could we have and where?
  • Can we choose a burial or cremation?
  • Where will the deceased be kept until the day of the funeral?
  • Can I visit my loved one before the funeral?
  • Is there a range of coffins, caskets and urns to choose from?
  • Can the funeral be personalised?
  • Can we choose the day and time of the funeral?
  • What funeral transport do you provide?
  • Who will liaise with third parties and take care of the paperwork?

Asking the above questions will ensure that you get the highest quality service your loved one deserves. A good funeral director will be able to accurately answer all of these questions, be transparent and honest about pricing and provide you with all of the detailed information you need. Having all of your questions noted down can also help the process so that you don’t forget anything that is important to you. 

Make an informed decision with Heart of England Co-op Funerals

If you have any questions regarding the above information, or you are looking for assistance in organising a service for you or a loved one, get in touch with us today. Contact your local Heart of England funeral home to find out how our friendly team members can help you.