What to Expect When You Come to the Funeral Home
After you’ve decided on a funeral home and are ready to begin the process of planning a funeral, your funeral director will ask you to come into the facilities for a visit. This personal contact with the people in charge of your loved one’s remains is an important step in the grieving process. Not only will you get to benefit from face-to-face interaction, but you’ll also be walked through each decision ahead of you.
Although every funeral home operates differently, most visits take on a fairly similar format. Expect yours to look something like this.
Initial Telephone Contact: Almost all funerals begin with a phone call to the funeral home of your choice. Your funeral director will tell you where to come to make the arrangements, set up an appointment, and let you know what types of items to bring with you. These often include financial papers as well as personal effects.
Meet the Staff: Your funeral director will be there to greet you when you arrive. This individual will become your primary point of contact for all the funeral plans you have ahead of you—and he or she will also become your partner in grief. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and accept support when you need it. That’s what the funeral director is there for.
Make Arrangements: After you arrive at the funeral home, you’ll most likely be led to a consultation room. Offering privacy and comfort, this room is where your funeral director will walk you through the process of making final arrangements. Even if the deceased had everything pre-planned or laid out in a will, the next-of-kin will be responsible for solidifying all decisions.
View Caskets/Options: While catalogs exist to help you visualize the details of the funeral, many funeral homes also have showrooms where you can see the caskets, linings, and urns for yourself. Many people find it comforting to make a tactile connection to these types of items.
Go Over Payment Plans: Paying for a funeral is a costly affair, even if the deceased set aside money for the final arrangements. Once you’ve decided on the type of funeral you’d like to hold, your funeral director will go over your payment options. No matter how difficult, this is a necessary conversation, and you will have to sign contracts before things can be set in motion.
A Moment to Reflect: It can be difficult to make these kinds of decisions all at once, so never be afraid to ask for a moment to yourself. No decisions have to be made during this initial consultation, so if you want time to talk to family members, have the contract looked over by a lawyer, or to slow down and think things through, you have every right to ask for time.
You also are not obligated to sign up for any services at all if you feel like the funeral home might not be a good fit. Although you may have to pay for transportation and service fees if you choose to have the body transferred to another home, you’re never locked into a funeral provider you don’t like until the contracts are signed.
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By Amy Johnson