Funeral Director Duties: What a Funeral Director Does Might Surprise You

Funeral Director duties include services the public notices along with services that are usually hidden – but still vitally important. If you ask the average person what a Funeral Director does, the likely answers are that the Funeral Director prepares the decedent’s body for viewing, greets mourners, and makes sure everything is in place for the calling and the funeral service. These are, indeed, important Funeral Director duties, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. The Funeral Director, working with other funeral home staff, provides a full range of professional services, many of which go unnoticed and underappreciated. At Stillinger Family Funeral Home, we thought you might like a behind the scenes look at what a Funeral Director really does, so please read on.

Caring for the Deceased

The Funeral Director is often called into action shortly after the moment of death. The first duty is usually picking up the decedent at the place of death, such as at home, at an accident scene, or in the hospital or nursing facility.

In accordance with the wishes of the family, the funeral director and funeral home staff will then prepare the decedent for presentation. This might include embalming, dressing, casketing and cosmetics, and sometimes reconstructive work for viewing.

Caring for the Family

Throughout the process of providing services, the Funeral Director acts as a caring liaison to the family of the deceased. The Funeral Director will meet with the family to learn more about the decedent and any funeral wishes the decedent may have expressed. The Funeral Director will discuss services available and begin making the arrangements for the chosen services. During this process, the Funeral Director will also gather biographical information for legal documents, permits, and newspaper announcements and obituaries.

The Funeral Director will meet with the family again prior to the public visitation. At this time the Funeral Director will make sure the decedent looks as the family expects, coordinate next-day service details, and discuss pall bearers, seating arrangements, procession order and the order of the service.

Attending to Details

Behind the scenes, the Funeral Director performs many duties to coordinate all details for the decedent’s services. These might include ordering the casket and vaults, and arranging for police escorts, flowers, ministers, singers, musicians, obituaries, monument inscriptions, urns and monuments.

When an active duty soldier or military veteran passes away, the Funeral Director will also prepare paperwork and provide coordination for obtaining a U.S. flag and government marker, as well as arranging for military tributes and graveside honors. The Funeral Director will also assist the family by coordinating claims for state and federal VA benefits due upon death.

The Funeral Director will also work with the family regarding payment arrangements, which could include a mix of cash, credit card, insurance assignments, checks, and financing.

Final Considerations

The Funeral Director is often called upon to preside over the funeral and other related services, including graveside committal and military honors. Final considerations would also include officially witnessing the burial, sending the decedent for cremation if requested, and following through with the family on after-service details, including delivering flowers and personal items. The Funeral Director will also finalize any outstanding claims and payment issues.

While the public may observe only a few Funeral Director duties, the full range of services provided by the director and funeral home staff is lengthy and designed to help the decedent’s family and friends through their difficult period of grief. For more information about the services we provide at Stillinger Family Funeral Home, contact us at (317) 462-5536.

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