THE ROLE OF THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR

The role of the funeral director is one of service. The funeral director is called upon to assist with advice and practical knowledge to arrange the finer details and practical requirements that need to be put together before the final shape of the funeral service can take place. From the moment a family calls upon the services of a funeral director he places himself and all his organisation at that family's disposal, and in effect, he becomes their agent in every sense of the word by projecting and transposing their instructions into properly executed order and action.

His training and background allow him to exercise deep understanding to many of the requests made of him whether these requests may sound totally rational or not at the time. The traditional funeral director would have had experience enough to understand the meaning of the family's wishes, irrespective of in what terms these wishes are couched. It is in these areas particularly, of understanding, compassion, experience and knowledge, that the funeral director's expertise is beyond price to all those families who entrust their needs to him honestly and openly. Many are the families who have regretted a far too expansive funeral or, conversely, a far too simple and inadequate funeral service, because they were not prepared to instruct their funeral director openly.

A Funeral Director operating a Business in the State of New South Wales must comply with the provisions required by the Public Health Regulation 1991.

He must also have use of a Registered Mortuary or Registered Mortuary Premises.

Amongst the mundane tasks which the funeral director must carry out for the family are:-

* Transportation of the deceased remains from place of death to the mortuary.
* Preparation of the remains.
* The rationalisation of certificates from hospital or doctor's surgery.
* Completion of forms to comply with statutory requirements.
* Preparation and insertion of newspaper notices.
* Initial contact with clergyman or funeral celebrant.
* Attending to the purchase of cemetery plot on behalf of the family.
* Organise booking times of the church, cemetery and/or crematorium.
* Effect registration of the death with the requisite authorities.
* Obtain copies of Death Certificate for later use by the family or its legal representatives.
* Organise details of the funeral service, including the supply of vehicles, pall bearers, and advise on appropriate ritual.
* Advise on religious requirements in relation to not only the funeral service itself, but also to visitation and other customs usually encountered prior to, or on the eve of, the date set for the funeral.

He also collates all the necessary costs in a single detailed form of account in such a way that the family in the first instance is given an actual quotation of all the costs involved, and if acceptable, confirms these costs in a form (of account) which will service as a permanent record of all costs and expenses incurred. By this action the funeral director takes upon himself the responsibility of making all necessary payments, whether as an advance or not, on behalf of the bereaved, and relieve them of having to detail separate payments to separate entities.

The funeral director, for example, would pay the cemetery or crematorium fees, he would attend to the doctor's fees if applicable for the issuing of certificates, particularly in cases where a cremation has been indicated; make the honorariums available to officiating clergy or celebrant. He may even organise the purchase and payment of floral tributes on behalf of the family. He will certainly take the responsibility of paying for newspaper notices and telegrams if required.

All in all, the funeral director's services are many and they are only restricted by the direct instructions that he receives from the bereaved family.

The funeral director's role is one of the very few left that spells SERVICE in capital letters as in no other area of endeavour to be found in today's modern world.

Members of this Association have as a general rule the capacity of rendering service round the clock throughout the year without interruption. Every single day of the year throughout the year!