Who is the undertaker
If a death has occurred, an undertaker must be employed. He is entitled to pick up the deceased from the place of death and to transfer them. In addition, an undertaker is also one of the first points of contact for the bereaved. The commissioning of a funeral director makes him the representative of the relatives, who takes care of the desired execution of the funeral, the completion of the formalities and the organization of the grave site. Undertakers come into contact with death and grief every day and support the bereaved. Even so, undertakers do not always have the best reputation.
Individual so-called discount undertakers in particular have severely damaged the reputation of undertakers and the funeral industry. Discount undertakers offer burials for the deceased at very low prices. The reasons for the emergence of discount undertakers are both economic and social factors. Lack of financial resources, physical distance or a low family bond are reasons for using discount funeral directors.
Often, due to the low prices, discount undertakers take on a large number of orders in order to be able to secure themselves financially. The quality of the burial's implementation often suffers. In most cases, basic services, such as the transfer, are charged extra. The request for a funeral service with music can in some cases be billed additionally at excessive prices. As a result, the services of discount undertakers are in many cases even more expensive than the services of reputable undertakers. Thus, the price quoted initially is not necessarily an indicator of the quality of funeral homes.
Majority of undertakers reputable
Contrary to the negative examples, the large number of funeral directors is serious and offers good quality services. In large cities in particular, funeral prices can be lower than in rural areas, as there is much more intense competition there. The resulting low costs for the customer are therefore not necessarily a sign of lower quality performance. The fluctuations there between the funeral directors' prices are primarily due to the additional services offered by the individual undertakers. For example, the price of a standard coffin offered can vary by up to 200 euros. Since there is a very large selection of coffin models on the market, it is almost impossible to compare coffin prices. It is therefore advisable to obtain a cost estimate from different undertakers and to compare the offers.
Around 4,000 funeral parlors offer their services in Germany. The majority of the undertakers are organized in associations. There are large chains of funeral homes but also a large number of small family businesses. Undertakers differ in the distances they travel and in which they offer their services. Smaller funeral directors usually operate in a narrower catchment area.
Some funeral homes in Germany have specialized in nationwide use - either by setting up various regional branches or by accepting long journeys. As a rule, the costs of these providers are competitive, so that the distance is often only a small additional cost factor. These funeral homes perform the required services with the same quality as local undertakers. In addition, arrange the dates for the burial and the decoration of the cemetery chapel with the desired cemeteries, if a memorial service is desired. Some undertakers also offer burials abroad near a border with a neighboring country. This can be significantly cheaper in some cases, as cemetery fees are lower in many countries.
Duties of an undertaker
The undertaker is a service provider for the funeral of the deceased. Nowadays it does more than just provide the basic services. These include, among other things, caring for the deceased. In addition to the recovery, transport and transfer of the corpse, the supply also includes dressing, embedding in the coffin and keeping the deceased. Furthermore, the undertaker discusses the type of burial with the bereaved and organizes the funeral process, from the music to the funeral orator to the grave decorations. At the request of the bereaved, the undertaker can also organize the funeral service or the funeral feast. Many undertakers keep their own premises ready for this.
In addition, the undertaker supports the bereaved by taking care of the authorities and notifying insurance companies, ordering the printing of memorial cards and obituaries or organizing the care of the grave. An undertaker offers a variety of additional services to relieve the bereaved of a large burden. However, they are free to take on tasks themselves.
Characteristics of a reputable undertaker
Once the bereavement has occurred, you only have a few days to find the right undertaker. Nevertheless, when choosing one should pay attention not only to the prices, but also to the quality of the funeral home. In most cases, a personal consultation will show whether or not you are dealing with a suitable undertaker. You can recognize a good undertaker by the fact that he offers free and competent advice and submits a non-binding, detailed cost estimate.
In addition, a good undertaker explains the various burial alternatives and is available as a contact person for specialist questions even after the bereavement. Furthermore, a competent undertaker offers additional services in addition to the basic services. This includes, for example, completing formalities and organizing a funeral service. In addition, a good funeral home is characterized by trained professionals. The recommendations of friends or ratings from former customers can often be helpful in assessing the undertaker.
Undertaker and transfers
The transfer refers to the transport of a deceased and is one of the basic tasks of an undertaker. The first transfer usually takes place from the place of death to the funeral home. Before the transport can be carried out, a doctor must clearly determine the death and issue the death certificate. If the relatives of the deceased want a funeral service with laying out, a second transfer to a church or a cemetery chapel takes place. If a cremation is to be carried out, it is necessary to transfer the deceased to the crematorium. The last transfer then takes place to the grave site, where the deceased is buried.
Since undertakers are increasingly active nationwide, transfers are also carried out over several hundred kilometers. Thanks to a well-established fleet of vehicles, additional branches, vans and employees, this is possible for both coffin and urn burials. Transports from abroad can also be carried out. Here, regulations and technical conditions must be observed, which makes the transport of a deceased more time-consuming.
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Author: Annika Wenzel - Image source: © Stephanie Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de
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