What questions to ask a funeral director

Organising a suitable send-off for your loved one can be a daunting task, especially if it is your first time organising a funeral. Knowing what questions to ask your funeral arranger can help you understand what to expect before and during the ceremony and assist you in getting any necessary preparations underway such as funeral music, flowers, and memorial services.

At Heart of England, we’re here to help you through every step of this difficult time and we’ve compiled a list of funeral questions you might wish to ask, alongside some questions that your funeral celebrant or director may ask you so that you can be prepared.

What to ask a funeral director when planning a service?

When it comes to organising a funeral, there are many aspects and areas to cover, from choosing a funeral home to deciding on a cremation or burial. Naturally, this can sometimes be overwhelming especially if the death was unexpected and you’re still processing your grief. To assist you with the planning stages at this difficult time, we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask your funeral director.

What is and is not included in your cost? 

Funeral costs can be expensive, and they can easily add up if you don’t know exactly what’s included. Knowing what is covered by the funeral home, and what you’ll need to source elsewhere can help you to budget accordingly. At Heart of England, we make our prices available to view on our website to help you understand what costs are incurred and why. However, some funeral homes may send you a customised quote directly when you enquire and it is best to ask for a breakdown of these costs so you know exactly what is covered.

Where will the deceased one be kept until the day of service?

Funeral homes generally operate a chapel of rest where the deceased are kept until the day of the service. You will have to contact the funeral home to arrange for a collection of the body to be taken to the chapel. Often, this building is located within the same premises as the funeral home but on occasion, it may be somewhere else. You should ask the funeral director for the address, as this is likely to be where the funeral procession begins from and where you will be allowed to visit your loved one before the service.

Can I visit my loved one before the funeral?

Funeral homes are very respectful, and in most cases, you will be able to visit your loved one as many times as you like before the service. However, you may not be able to visit until they have dressed or embalmed the deceased, and you will need to be aware of the opening and closing times of the chapel. By asking this question, the funeral director will be able to give you definitive times that you can arrange a visit.

Alternatively, for religious funerals, you may be permitted to have the deceased at home the night before the funeral. Your funeral director will be able to advise further if this is a service you require.

Can we choose the day and time of the funeral?

Some funeral homes may not be able to offer you full flexibility in the date and time of your service as crematoriums, churches, and other establishments will have other services arranged. Funeral directors will try their best to accommodate your request but are likely to offer you a selection of available dates and times to choose from. Often it is easier for you to provide the funeral staff with dates, days or times that you may want to avoid for the service, as this can reduce the to and fro of agreeing a suitable date and time for the funeral.

How do I choose a coffin or urn? 

Funeral directors are highly empathetic and will be able to guide you through this process, often offering a selection of coffins and urns for you to choose from as well as talking you through the process of both cremations and burials. They will be able to help you select an appropriate choice that is within your budget, or offer further guidance if you’d like to choose a casket from elsewhere.

How do I choose a burial plot? 

If you choose to bury your loved one, whether that be with or without cremation, you will need to select a burial ground and plot for the body to be interred. Your funeral director will be able to help you find a suitable cemetery and assist you with picking a plot, advising on any specific requirements you may have. Following on from this question, your funeral director will also be able to offer advice on choosing a headstone if you require one. 

Do you provide transportation?

Funeral directors will always offer a hearse car, but they also offer limousines which follow the hearse. However, if the family prefers to drive, they are able to follow the hearse in their own vehicles. It is worth asking this question to understand how many limousines the funeral home can offer so that you can plan transportation in advance for attended funerals.

Can the funeral be personalised?

Sending off a loved one can be extremely difficult, but personalising a funeral can offer families comfort in the face of bereavement. What level of personalisation can be achieved will depend on several factors such as venue, religious requirements, and cost. Of course, funeral directors will work with you to accommodate any requests you have and they’ll be able to let you know which aspects of the service can be personalised.

Would you come to our home to discuss arrangements?

Funeral directors are very sympathetic and understanding. They are aware that you will be grieving and may not feel ready to attend a funeral home and may be more comfortable in your own home. In this instance, when enquiring with a funeral home you should ask if they are willing to attend your residence and whether this will incur any extra costs. 

What funeral questions may be asked of you?

When preparing for a funeral, the director or celebrant may also ask you a list of questions to learn more about the type of funeral you’re looking for, as well as the kind of person your loved one was. Whilst this article serves as a guide as to what you might wish to ask, we have curated a list of questions that you may be requested to answer. By reading through the questions below, you can be better prepared for anything that you may find difficult to answer or need to think more carefully about. 

What questions do funeral celebrants ask?

Funeral celebrants will ask you lots of questions about your loved one’s life and personality. This is so that they can give an accurate eulogy that reflects the life of the deceased. They will also encourage family members to share memories and stories but they can do this on your behalf if you find it difficult. As such, they’re likely to ask some personal questions to get a better picture of who that person was. Funeral celebrants will always share their script with you before the service to check that you’re happy with it or add in any details you feel are important. Some of the questions you might expect to hear are: 

  • What is your favourite memory of your loved one? 
  • What did they like to do? 
  • What were some of their favourite stories to tell?
  • What was their personality like?
  • What impact did they have on your life?

What questions do funeral directors ask? 

In order to give the best possible service for your loved one, funeral directors will ask you a series of questions to understand what you’re looking for and give an accurate reflection of your loved one in every detail of the service.  In turn, they’ll be able to help you organise your funeral whilst you’re grieving and provide further support if you need it.

  • What type of service would you like? i.e. a burial or a cremation
  • Where would you like the service to take place?
  • Are there any days or times to avoid for the funeral date?
  • Do you want to visit them in the chapel of rest? 
  • Would you like them embalmed and dressed in their own clothes?
  • Is there any specific music you’d like to be played?
  • Will you be collecting donations for any specific charity?
  • How many limousines would you require?
  • Are there any special requirements we can organise on your behalf?
  • Would you like us to arrange flowers for you?

Get the support you need with Heart of England Co-op Funerals

Whether you have lots of questions to ask or none at all, our experienced funeral directors can support you through every aspect of this difficult time. We seek to start a conversation and will listen carefully and with empathy to your requests, never bombarding you with difficult questions and decisions. We are committed to looking after you and your departed loved one as if you were part of our own family, treating you with respect and kindness every step of the way. 
If you aren’t quite ready to speak to us yet but need further information, you may wish to visit our ‘what to do next’ or frequently asked questions pages for further guidance. Alternatively, we offer a range of options to contact us for more information. Simply call, email, or visit one of our branches when you’re ready to take the next steps.