What are Funeral Services?

What are Funeral Services?


Short Answer:  Everything a funeral director does to help the family when a death has occurred.


(Not to be confused with a funeral service, discussed here)


Funeral Services are assistance rendered by a funeral establishment to the family, next-of-kin,  or responsible party to help with the disposition of human remains. Such aid often entails organizing and directing a funeral.  A funeral service is usually spoken of in a context similar to a religious service, so it is understandable that some confusion may exist.  Think of funeral services  in the same context as surgical services, public services, or customer services – people helping people.

A funeral establishment in Washington State is licensed by the State to take care of the deceased and help the families deal with the death in a meaningful way.  Each establishment must have at least one licensed funeral director on staff.   Licensure insures that services are rendered in compliance with laws and regulations designed to protect the public.  Non-licensed personnel are not allowed to discuss certain things with families within the scope of their employment.  This is ostensibly to prevent misinformation from being conveyed.

Funeral Directors

Funeral directors are licensed professionals who specialize in all aspects of caring for the deceased and assisting their families cope with the loss. They know the cultural or religious needs of families and easily interface with clergy and others who are called on to render assistance.

Some of their services include:

  • Arrange for removal of the deceased from the place of death.
  • Provide emotional support immediately after death while family members struggle with decisions.
  • Care for the body according to the wishes of the survivors and requirements of the law.
  • Arrange for disposition – burial and cremation are the most common.
  • Arrange and direct funeral ceremonies
  • Secure information for legal documents.
  • File death certificates and Social Security notifications.
  • Assist survivors with details for filing claims for death benefits.
  • Recommend resources such as lawyers or accountants to aid with estate issues.


So funeral services entail the tasks listed above, nevertheless, when most people say “funeral service” they are usually thinking of a funeral.