Choosing a Funeral Director
A Funeral Director is no different to any other professional person whom you may need to call on for a specialised service, such as a doctor, solicitor or accountant. You should carefully consider their qualifications, facilities and ability to service your needs.
Arranging a Funeral
The Role of the Funeral Director
There are few services you will need that are as sensitive or as personal as those provided by your funeral director. We are not grief experts, but we do know the death of a family member or friend is very distressing.
If no prior arrangements regarding the funeral have been made and the deceased’s wishes are unknown, there are some major decisions that need to be made. Our job is to help you make them.
Our professional staff can be of great help at such a difficult time.
All denominations are respected and every financial circumstance is catered for. At every instance the wishes of the family are paramount.
Our role is to provide a funeral service that individual families ask for.
What needs to be done?
“Expected” or natural cause of death
By law, a certificate to confirm the death must be signed by a doctor. This is called a “Death Certificate” or “Life Extinct” form. Until this occurs, the funeral director cannot transfer the deceased to their funeral home.
If the death has occurred at home, you will need to call your family doctor. When a death occurs in a nursing home or private hospital, the nursing staff will normally notify the doctor for you. When someone dies in a public hospital, it is normal for the attending doctor at the hospital to issue the certificate.
“Unexpected” / Accidental death
In cases where a doctor is unable to determine the cause of death, it is necessary for the coroner to be notified—the police do this. The police prepare a report for the coroner who then seeks to determine the cause of death by contacting the doctor of the deceased or requesting a pathologist to inspect the body and carry out an autopsy.
The coroner usually becomes involved with the following deaths:
- Person who has not seen a doctor recently
- Unexpected deaths in hospital
- Deaths due to suicide, homicide, poisoning or drug overdose
- Deaths due to fire or accident
- Deaths that occur at the person’s place of employment
- Deaths of persons accommodated or retained in government institutions
- Deaths caused by road accident
- Death in a public place
- SIDS (Cot Death)
How a Funeral Director can assist you:
From the very first call, our staff are here to help with all aspects of arranging a funeral. If the wishes of the deceased are known, some of the decision making for the family is easier. Your funeral director will guide, advise and assist you in formulating the funeral service you feel is most appropriate.
Some of the major decisions that need to be made include:
- Choice of burial or cremation.
- The day, time and venue of the service.
- Who is to lead the service—a member of the clergy or a celebrant?
- Is a viewing appropriate?
- What sort of coffin?
- Who will carry the coffin—pall bearers?
- What kind of music will we have?
- Who will prepare a eulogy?
- What flowers?
- Would you like to place a notice in a paper? Which paper?
- Would you like to arrange for people to be able to make donations to a particular charity in honour of the person?
- What special things can be done to personalize the ceremony?
Services provided by Funeral Directors
Few people realize the extent of a funeral director’s role. It begins when we are first called, and ends only when we are satisfied the ceremony is as perfect and complete as we can make it, and the wishes of the family are fully met.
The following is a general list of services we are able to provide:
- Prompt and personal attention at any time, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
- Transfer of the deceased from place of death to the funeral home, (this includes a death away from the home town, eg. In the city, interstate or overseas).
- Personal consultation with the family about funeral arrangements and details for the service.
- Liaising with cemeteries or crematoriums of your choice
- All necessary arrangements with church, chapel or venue of your choice.
- Registration of death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
- Consulting with clergy or celebrant.
- Advice on wording and placement of press notices.
- Collection of medical certificates and their dispatch to appropriate authorities.
- Supply of hearse.
- Liaising with florists.
- Collection and return of floral tribute cards.
- Organization of music of your choice.
- Memorial attendance books for family and friends to sign.
- Preparation of deceased for viewing.
- Referral to grief support if required.
The Matter of Cost
The main components in the cost of a funeral are:
We offer a large and varied selection of coffins so that we can meet the needs of all—from simple veneered particleboard to solid or carved timber. Prices vary according to quality of materials, design and construction.
Council / Burial Fees
We arrange and pay (in advance) all statutory fees associated with burial /cremation.
Funeral Director’s Professional Service Fees
The following services are covered by the fees and will be fully explained and documented by your Funeral Director:
- Respond to funeral inquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Arrange and co-ordinate the Funeral Service.
- Attend to relevant administration and legal documents.
- Assist with the organization of music.
- Care for, and preparation of the deceased.
- Attend and conduct the funeral service.
- Liaise with clergy, cemeteries, crematoriums, florists, newspapers, etc.
- Notify and liaise with organizations and clubs (eg. RSL, service clubs, etc.)
- Referral to counseling agencies and support groups, if requested.
Adding the Personal Touches
- The following is a list of things you could do to personalize the funeral service of the one you love:
- Place personal items inside the coffin—photos, letters, drawings, etc.
- Organize for the deceased’s favourite music to be played.
- Place a photo of the deceased on the coffin for the service.
- Place personal items on the coffin for the service—from a favourite hat to a muchloved painting, it will add to the atmosphere.
- Involve family and friends—to deliver the eulogy, read a poem or religious passages.
- Arrange for clubs or organisations to attend perhaps forming a guard of honour.
- Close family members could place a single flower on the coffin or into the grave as part of the service.
- Arrange for family/friends to act as pallbearers.
- Personalise the coffin with some hand painted designs. (A specialty of Burnett Regional Funeral Services.)
Discuss these ideas and more with your Funeral Director.
Guidelines for writing a Eulogy
As a helpful guide, the following may be of assistance in preparing a Eulogy:
- When and where was the deceased born
- Nicknames and/or names known to others
- Parents names—where they met and married
- Brothers and Sisters
- Early childhood—localities and interests
- Schools attended, awards gained
- Academic or trade qualifications and achievements
- Some interesting items about childhood days
- Details of any war or military service
- Details of marriages, divorces, children, significant relationships
- Details of grandchildren/great grandchildren
- Details of any club memberships, position held
- Details of sporting achievements
- Details of any hobbies or interests, travel, crafts, etc.
- Details of historical significance
- Preferences, likes and dislikes
- Details of activities, eg. Music, theatre, etc.
- Any special stories, sayings, qualities that are significant to others
- Special readings, music or poetry to be included
Arranging a Prepaid Funeral
As evidenced by reading through this guide, there are many decisions which need to be made, and a lot of information which is required when someone dies. Arranging a prepaid funeral means most of the decisions and information are already recorded, taking both the financial and emotional burden away from family and friends at such a difficult time.
Some of the benefits to you arranging a prepaid funeral are:
- You will feel better knowing that your affairs are in order.
- It is a great relief to know that your wishes will be carried out. It allows you to consider the alternatives and make decisions at your leisure, without the pressure of an imminent funeral.
- It enables you to arrange your own funeral details and pay for tomorrow’s chosen funeral at today’s prices.
- Flexibility of payment. You may choose to pay the full price now or by installments.
Burnett Regional Funeral Services provides pre-organised, prepaid funeral arrangements in conjunction with Flexible Funeral Benefits Pty Ltd of Bundaberg. Just ask for a further information on this service.
Companies that can assist with funeral bonds: