Richard Vines, Funeral Director from Vines Funerals in Coseley recently participated in a video shoot with Funeral Choice to talk about how he became a Funeral Director and what advice would he give a family arranging a funeral or worried about rising funeral costs. In this Blog, we will cover some of the points Richard was asked during the video.
What does a Funeral Director do?
A Funeral Director is someone who guides and supports you at one of the most difficult times in your life, the loss of a loved one.
Through our training and experience, we are able to guide you through all the different options available when arranging the funeral of your loved one. From a Direct Cremation to a Simple & Traditional Funeral to a Natural Burial.
We are also able to guide you through all the legal aspects of arranging your loved ones funeral including all the statutory documentation required for both a burial or cremation.
Alongside Funerals, we are also able to offer support and guidance regarding probate and estate administration, stonemasonry, personal touches, repatriation, bequeathal and exhumation.
Why did you become a Funeral Director?
My first experience of bereavement came at a very young age when I was 8 years of age. One of my own family passed away and I went to visit them in the chapel of rest and attended the funeral. My Father at the time was also a qualified Funeral Director and he was in the profession for 40 years before retiring.
I remember the phone would ring at all hours in the night and my Father would go out and bring someone's loved one into the care of the funeral home. When I was at school, I remember seeing my Father walking in front of the hearse and I thought to myself 'that is something I would like to do'
So when everyone was away from school during half term and the six week holidays, I would go to the funeral home where my Father worked and volunteered to help. When I finally left school I was fortunate enough to obtain a position with my Father as a Funeral Operative and progressed though the different roles of Arranger, Co-ordinator and finally into Funeral Director. Throughout my journey I achieved my qualifications and finally my management certificate.
After leaving my last employment I decided to open Vines Funerals in Coseley.
For me, there is nothing more rewarding than helping a family in their time of need.
What advice would you give someone arranging their loved ones funeral?
If you are planning a funeral for yourself in the future, there are a few options you can look at.
The first option is a pre-paid plan where you can discuss your funeral wishes and pay for the funeral upfront. You would speak to your local Funeral Director or plan provider about what you would like for your funeral and then you would pay the Funeral Director charges in full and a contribution towards the third partie disbursements such as the crematorium, minister and doctors fee. You can either pay in a lump sum or sometimes pay in instalments over a period of months.
Another option is a 'my wishes' arrangement which I personally prefer. A 'my wishes' arrangement is where you discuss what you would like and your wishes is put into writing and a copy kept in the funeral home. A copy can also be kept with your will, and a copy can be given to your friends and relatives so at the time of your passing, they are aware of what you wanted for your funeral. The benefit of this is that all the money for the funeral is paid at the time when they need to arrange your funeral. No money is paid upfront.
If you are arranging your loved ones funeral now, my advice would be look at personal touches which wont cost much. You can look at your loved ones favourite music to be played at the service. Did your loved one have a favourite colour such as pink for example?. The colour pink can be used in the order of service, the coffin interior can be pink, the flowers can be pink, the mourners and funeral staff on the funeral can wear pink and now even the coffin can be pink. Did your loved one like motorbikes or horses? You can have a motorbike or Horse drawn Hearse.
There are so many options for personalising a funeral without paying a lot of money.
What advice would you give someone worried about funeral costs?
It is true especially with the rising cost of living that people are concerned with the cost of funerals.
We have already touched on planning your funeral in the future and what you can do but if you are arranging a loved ones funeral now, my advice would be look at the type of funeral you would like and obtain an estimate of costings before doing anything else.
All Funeral Directors now need to display there standardised price list on their websites and in the window of their offices to show clearly what their charges are.
At Vines Funerals, we have our packages and prices clearly displayed so you can see exactly what you will receive and the total cost of that particular package.
There are a wide range of funerals to choose from including Direct Cremation, Simple and Traditional Funerals and Natural Burials.
It is true that the cost of a burial is more expensive than a cremation. If you would like a burial, my advice would be to look at Natural Burials which can be a lot cheaper compared to a burial in a local authority cemetery. There is also no need for a headstone as your loved ones memorial is included in the price of the Natural Burial.
What Exactly is a Direct Cremation?
A Direct Cremation, sometimes known as a cremation without ceremony or unattended cremation is a very simple cremation without the need for a formal service or all the optional extras such as Limousines, order of service, and flowers.
There is usually no family in attendance and the cremation is arranged at a crematorium, time and date of the Funeral Directors choice.
Because it is a very simple cremation, the cost is much lower compared to a Traditional Funeral, but you do have the option to arrange a service of celebration at another time in the future.
This type of Funeral is suitable for those people who didn't want a funeral service and just wanted a very simple send off, so you are honouring their wishes with a Direct Cremation. It is also suitable for those with no relatives or those who want a simple cost effective funeral which still is dignified and respectful.