Not something you have to do everyday is it, so let’s sort out a few of the common misconceptions first. You do NOT have to use the one that your family have “always”used, many local family run firms have now been taken over by large conglomerates but, still use the original firm’s name and premises. An Independant Funeral Director will always give you better value, because they have no Managers, no Area Managers, no Upper Management and no CEO’s to report to or pay. Qualifications – would you trust an Unlicensed Doctor? an Unlicensed Solicitor? an Unqualified Financial Advisor? No, I didn’t think so. Please make sure your chosen Funeral Director is Licensed and Diploma qualified to at least University Level 4, thus ensuring that your loved one is being looked after by someone who has taken the time to put in the effort to attain the highest qualification in this country. It may not seem much but rest assured those of us that are licensed do know what we are talking about. Here at Mead Family Funerals in Swindon both Karen & I are Licensed Diploma holders through our membership of the British Institute of Funeral Directors, which is a members Institute and not a trade organisation – we have to earn our membership not buy it! Once you have got three suitably licensed Funeral Director’s to choose from, look on their website’s for their prices. Then you can make a direct comparison between them for the services you need, try to avoid looking at “packages” – how can a package funeral be right for everyone? It may be brilliant for holiday’s but not so for your loved one. If there are no individual prices displayed on website’s, move on as that firm are obviously not prepared to be open about what they offer and what it costs. Not withstanding the above, take advice from other recently bereaved families, the best advice ever is usually available from someone who has just used the services of a Funeral Director for their loved one. Once you have chosen someone, ring them to make an appointment for them to visit you at YOUR home where you will feel more comfortable, if they won’t come to you do you really think they will look after you properly? At the arrangement talk through what YOU want for your loved one – not what they want, and if satisfied go ahead with the funeral planning, if not tell them there and then or by phone to their office. Which brings us nicely to arranging the funeral which I will talk about next month. Happy choosing, best wishes to you all, Jem. March 2020.