Code of Ethics

The Funeral Director

Funeral directors are one of the primary caregivers to the bereaved. They have a central role to play in assisting family members to create meaning in their loss and rebuild a world that has been shattered by death.

It is important to discuss your arrangements with a funeral director, because there are legal obligations in terms of registration of the death and hygiene that you might not be aware of. Your funeral director will be able to give you guidelines and, if you wish, take care of any part of the arrangements.

The absence of legislation governing the provision of funeral services in New Zealand means that anyone can set up as a funeral director. There are people who do this without experience or training, vehicles or premises or the skills to provide care, support and the attention you and the deceased deserve.

Members of FDANZ must meet very high standards of professionalism and adhere to the FDANZ Codes of Ethics and Conduct.

What to expect from an FDANZ Funeral Director

Your FDANZ funeral director is there for you. You can meet in your home or at the funeral director's office, when it suits you. The funeral director will describe the various services so you can choose your family's requirements. This can include arranging the funeral service, all transfers of the deceased, advice on flowers and donations, service sheets, writing and placing newspaper notices, catering and so on.
Once you have decided on the type of funeral you would like for your loved one, it is the funeral director's job to smooth the way. Having discussed your requirements, your funeral director will then make all the necessary arrangements for the funeral. This will relieve you of the stress which is often associated with making arrangements and decisions at a time when you are often not emotionally equipped to do so. Your FDANZ funeral director will ensure that your wishes are carried out. This leaves you free to spend time with family and friends, and to deal with your grief.

Members of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand and the individual funeral directors on its register recognise the responsibilities entrusted to them in their relationships with:

  • the bereaved they serve
  • the public at large
  • the profession of which they are a part.

Specifically they have agreed:

  • to accept as a duty the maintenance of truth, accuracy, dignity and good taste.
  • to maintain in all matters the highest standards of business, professional and personal conduct.
  • to respect in all circumstances the confidentiality and trust placed in them by reason of their function and calling.
  • to preserve within the bounds of dignity, good taste and practicality, the right of personal choice and decision-making for the families they serve, and due regard for the ethnic origin and spiritual beliefs of the deceased person.
  • to maintain qualified and competent personnel with facilities and equipment adequate to provide a comprehensive funeral service.
  • to provide accurate information concerning the range of services and merchandise available, the prices of the same, and the functions and responsibilities accepted on behalf of their clients.

Code of Professional Conduct

Minimum standard of service offered by a member of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (Inc), and by those whose names are entered in the Association's Register of Funeral Directors.

Standard of Conduct

In dealings with a client, member firms and funeral directors will do everything in their power to ensure a standard of conduct beyond reproach or criticism.

Member firms and those on the FDANZ Register of Funeral Directors shall not offer or give reward for recommendations, and no one should cause or allow any action within a member firm which by deliberate promotion or other means would be calculated to attract business unfairly.

Confidentiality will be preserved at all times and furthermore the details and/or circumstances regarding the deceased or the estate of the deceased will not be divulged except as required by law.

All funeral directors will be thoroughly conversant with and abide completely with the laws of the land as they apply to funerals and to allied industries and professions.

Funeral directors will always deal fairly and honestly, and will not intentionally injure the professional reputation or practice of another funeral director whether a member or not.

Facilities

Members must meet minimum requirements in relation to the facilities they offer. These include

  • mortuary or holding room
  • viewing room
  • office/interview room
  • work/storage area
  • hearse

Facilities offered by member firms are subject to the Association's three yearly inspection.

Transfers

Transfers of human remains will be carried out with due care and in a manner which is acceptable to maintain a standard of decency and hygiene.

All monies, documents, jewellery or personal property accompanying the deceased shall be properly recorded.

Transportation to the church, crematorium, cemetery or any other place will be done in a manner which befits the occasion and does credit to the profession. Funeral personnel will be dressed in a manner that does not detract from the dignity of their profession.

Police Transfers

Where a transfer to a mortuary is performed at the request of an outside agency, the funeral director will await further instructions and will not in any way make the first approach to the deceased's next of kin.

Mortuary Services and Embalming

All human remains shall be prepared to ensure an acceptable and safe standard of hygiene.

The funeral director should ensure that the client family's permission to embalm has been received.

Where in such instance the act of embalming is expressly declined during the funeral arrangements, then the funeral director will for his/her own protection obtain a signed indemnity statement to that effect.

Whenever casketed remains are to be transported any distance by another agency, arterial and cavity embalming should be carried out before the commencement of the journey.

The human remains and the casket will be so prepared to ensure that any liquid or gaseous products of decomposition will not escape or cause distress.

The Casket

The casket will be so prepared that it could be opened at any time for inspection or viewing, the only exception to this rule will be when the law, cause, or mode of death makes it illegal or unwise to do so.

Other than when required by religious orders, or at the specific request of a client, the internal furnishings of a casket will consist of at least a full length waterproof liner, side drapes, and a pillow or cushion.

Business Names/Entities

Where a service to the public is offered in any name other than the true business name of the member, then:

  • only the member's true telephone number and address should be used, and
  • the true business name of the member will be shown, preceded by the words, "an associate of…", or "in association with…"

Further a member will not:

  • create or operate a 'paper' funeral company, or 'paper' funeral business for the business of inveigling clients
  • publicise a company or business as if it were a fully equipped funeral firm in its own right, when in reality it is a façade for the true firm's operation.

Advertising

Members' advertisements will be dignified and in good taste.

Any third party endorsement must be authentic and specifically approved by that third party.

FDANZ Membership

In the best interests of everyone, members and registered funeral directors will be loyal to the Association, its aims and objectives; be active in its work, make every effort to assist the development and progress of the profession, and willingly share within the Association the benefits of their experience, and conduct their business so as to avoid controversy.

When a member or funeral director is charged with unethical practices, or actions prejudicial to the good reputation of the association, that member or funeral director will place all pertinent facts before the executive of the Association in writing for investigation and decision.

Members and registered funeral directors will participate in continuing education.

Prepaid Funeral Plans

All Members' prepaid funeral monies must be held

  • in the FDANZ Funeral Trust
  • by a Trustee Corporation (as defined in the Trustee Act 1956 and amendments); or
  • in a Trust Account

Members shall comply with the Rules for Client Monies set out by the Association in the FDANZ Rules and Bylaws

Crematorium Operation

Member firms having control or management of a crematorium must comply with relevant legislation

  • have in place a set of protocols and procedures for the operation of the cremator
  • control who may attend cremations and the conduct of persons attending such cremations.
  • keep a register of Applications for Cremation
  • have in place a Policy regarding the storage and disposal of ashes.

Storage and Return of Ashes

Member firms will maintain a register for the collection, storage and return of ashes.

The firm's policy regarding the storage of ashes will be clearly conveyed to client families at the arrangement interview.

Administration

Members shall make available a written estimate of all funeral charges and disbursements to be made on a client's behalf if requested, as soon as is practical.

Members should provide a written agreement setting out the contractual obligations of both parties at the time of taking instructions or as soon as practicable thereafter.