Checklist: How to Choose a Funeral Home
When a loved one dies, the first decision you will be asked to make is what funeral home you would like to take care of the body. It might seem a bit overwhelming to choose a provider while you are still reeling from your loss, but sooner is better when it comes to planning a funeral. You only have about three to seven days to make all the final decisions, so spending a few days deciding on a funeral home can consume a substantial chunk of that time.
Ideally, you should choose a funeral home ahead of time as part of a funeral pre-plan. However, if you find yourself pressed to make a decision and are unsure which funeral home to choose, here’s a list of features to look for.
- Convenient Location: Chances are you will be asked to drop items off and come in a few times to make selections related to burial, so a funeral home located near you is often a good choice. You’ll also want to consider location in relation to other family members (who will be attending the funeral) and to the cemetery or final resting place (especially important if you plan on having a procession during the service).
- Friend/Family Recommendations: The best way to pick a funeral home is through word-of-mouth recommendations. If a friend or family member recently lost a loved one, ask for an opinion on their funeral home experience.
- Price List Availability and Costs: By law, every funeral home is required to provide you with a general price list of services. Of course, that does not mean every funeral home makes it easy. Ask to see a price list or have one sent in the mail. Funeral homes that are upfront and honest about funeral costs tend to provide a better overall experience than those that are not. Now is also your time to compare prices and determine what funeral home is the best fit for your budget.
- Personal Connection: Simply put, how does the funeral director make you feel? Whether meeting in person or over the phone, do you feel a connection with the funeral director? Do you trust him or her with your loved one’s final farewell? Will you feel safe leaving important decisions in his or her hands? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it might be a good idea to keep looking.
- Support Services: Grief doesn’t stop when the funeral is over. How accommodating is the funeral home after the services are done? Are there healing services for the newly bereaved? Referrals for counseling? Other support options available?
- One-Stop Shopping: Although one good way to save money on funeral costs is to buy items from a third-party vendor, this option can add quite a bit more work and hassle. If you want to streamline your planning as much as possible, choose a funeral home that has everything available in one easy location.
- Religious, Cultural, and Personal Preferences: Religious and cultural preferences are rarely more important than when it comes to the care of your deceased. Find a funeral home that caters to your specific needs and has experience with your preferred customs.
A funeral for a loved one is something that only happens once. Choose a funeral home that will make you feel good about your choices and help you to not only bury your loved one, but begin the difficult process of grieving.
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By Amy Johnson