A funeral director (also known as undertaker or mortician) is a professional involved in the funeral industry and provides services related to performing the last rites for the deceased. This usually entails embalming and cremation or burial arrangements of the body. In the case of a wake, funeral directors are usually involved in cleaning and dressing the body, and otherwise making it presentable. Directors generally work through funeral homes or service organisation but can also be independent contractors. Funeral directors are sometimes a controversial subject as they are viewed as ‘making money from death’ by some and are associated with grief. However, they provide a much need service to the family of the deceased and allows them to concentrate on the wellbeing of the family while they take care of the funeral arrangements. Several funeral homes such as funeral directors Inner West provide a multitude of other related services such as counselling, planning, casketing, cremation, urns etc. The ultimate role of a funeral director is to provide organised and thoughtful services to grieving families and offer consolation.
Responsibilities of a Funeral Director
Preparing the body of the diseased for final disposition – As most funerals involve a wake, the body is made presentable by the funeral directors. If the wake is held over a longer time, the body should be embalmed. In addition to embalming, cleaning, dressing, restorative work, cosmetology, hairdressing etc. on the body to ensure that it looks appropriate for the duration of the wake. If the body is to be cremated, the directors oversee the cremation and return the remains to the family. If the body is to be buried, funeral directors arrange for cemetery plots and select caskets in accordance with the family’s wishes.
Plan the wake and funeral service – Funeral Directors provide consultation to grieving families about funeral arrangements and how to plan a meaningful service. If the funeral directors are employed by a funeral home, the wake would usually be held there. This would be done in accordance with the family’s wishes as funerals are usually performed with respect to customs and traditions of one’s culture.
Assist with legal documentation – Deaths involve legal and medical paperwork which funeral homes generally handle in lieu of the family and assist them in obtaining official or certified documentation which may be required for various processes afterwards such as inheritance and estate management.
Share grief resources – This is a less common service, but nonetheless provided by some funeral directors where they recommend and direct families to support groups and local grief counsellors. Families are usually in need of support in the days prior to and following the funeral and they are able to contact trained professionals that help them process their grief, if necessary.
This brief article provides an insight to the services provided by funeral directors and attempts to be a complete and broad overview of funeral services. However, this list is not exhaustive as funeral arrangements change and vary by region and culture.