Funeral Directors and Ethical Business Practices

By Ann Heinz, JD, CDEI
May 11, 2022
Funeral Directors and Ethical Business Practices

Funeral professionals must address many ethical and moral issues in their business. Funeral directors who gain the trust of potential clients, while maintaining a solid reputation in their community, will enjoy long-term success in their business.

To protect families from predatory business practices, various laws and regulations have been created at the state and federal levels to ensure funeral directors and other funeral professionals act ethically and lawfully. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) also has enforceable ethical standards which NFDA members must abide by, which will be discussed briefly below.

Importance of Ethical Principles for Funeral Professionals

Funeral directors and other funeral professionals have special ethical obligations to their clients due to the vulnerable state they are often in after the loss of a loved one. Many clients may also be seniors or older clients, who may be especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

Funeral directors wear many hats in the workplace. They work as counselors and event planners, and they are also employers who desire to run ethically sound, successful businesses. Funeral directors have a responsibility to adhere to fundamental ethical principles and must use them as a basis for all activities within their businesses.

It goes without saying that funeral directors are required to adhere to the laws and regulations governing the funeral industry. Except for a very few unscrupulous individuals, most funeral professionals try to act legally and professionally and to comply with the profession’s ethical requirements and duties. However, acting legally is not the same as acting ethically. The law provides clear boundaries but cannot govern every aspect of the funeral business (nor would we want it to). This is why ethics are critically important.

NFDA Code of Professional Conduct

The goal of the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) Code of Professional Conduct is to establish professional guidelines for funeral professionals to ensure the highest level of service and ethical care. The NFDA Code of Professional Conduct details the ethical practices required of funeral director members and also provides a remedy for any families who might be dissatisfied with services received and who wish to file a complaint with NFDA against any member funeral home.

The NFDA Code also outlines the responsibilities of funeral professionals in these areas:

  • obligations to the family
  • obligations to the care of the decedent
  • obligations to the public
  • obligations to the government
  • obligations to NFDA

Funeral professionals can view the entire NFDA Code of Professional Conduct online.

Learn More About Ethical Funeral Business Practices

To learn more about ethical business practices for funeral directors and other funeral and cremation professionals, WebCE offers the convenient online course, Ethical Business Practices for Funeral Directors.

In this course, funeral professionals will learn about the importance of maintaining high ethical standards as well as what may happen if those ethical standards are breached. Funeral professionals will also gain a deeper understanding of the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct. Finally, funeral directors will learn tips and some winning customer service business strategies that will keep clients happy and their business reputable.

To order this course and more, visit the WebCE Funeral CE Catalog.

Funeral CE Catalog