Common Funeral Planning Mistakes
Funeral planning is never an easy task, especially since it’s something few people are trained for (and because it’s something you hopefully don’t have to practice very often). Being caught unaware of the correct protocol is one of the easiest ways to overpay or get taken advantage of, which is why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the biggest funeral planning pitfalls ahead of time.
- Waiting until the Last Minute: Don’t wait until a terminal illness or catastrophe brings funeral planning to the forefront. The best funeral plans are made when you and your loved ones are in good health and are able to make calm, rational decisions with plenty of time to think them over.
- Going with the First Funeral Home You Come Across: You may get a recommendation from a hospital or hospice. You might call the first funeral home you see in the phone book. You could even stick to the same funeral home you used the last time a death occurred. While these are great ways to find a funeral home, be sure and call around for additional options before you decide. Ask about prices and services, and check your own emotional reaction to each one. Every funeral home is different, and it’s worth a few extra hours to find one that’s right for your family.
- Buying (or Not Buying) Package Deals: Burial packages are great for some people…and no so great for others. These deals exist to help make funeral planning easier. You pay more, but everything is included so that you don’t have to worry about details. If this is what you want, it’s absolutely worth the investment. If you’d rather purchase items and services a la carte to save money, then it may be worth the extra time you put in. As long as you know why (or why not) you’re choosing a package, you should be fine.
- Not Asking Questions: Yes, making burial decisions and facing your grief are difficult to do at the same time. No one knows this better than funeral directors. That’s why you should feel comfortable asking as many questions as you want. Funeral homes are here to serve you, and you should always be sure of what you are paying for and how the process will work. If you are made to feel at all uncomfortable about your questions, then this may be a sign you need to find a new service provider.
- Letting Price Make Your Decisions: Funeral costs will play a role in the kind of funeral experience you have, but don’t let your budget limit you. There are great ways to save money on a funeral, and you can get the full service you want for less than you might imagine. Shop around, avoid upsells you don’t really need, and pay attention to the quality of the funeral home.
- Assuming a Funeral Ends after Burial: Grief doesn’t end after the burial or cremation takes place, and many funeral homes continue providing service in the days and weeks that follow. Ask about grief counseling, therapy options, discounts on future burial services, and follow-through communication. You may need more support after the funeral than you realize.
Funeral planning will never be an easy task, and chances are it won’t be a cheap one, either. These things don’t mean your experience has to be a negative one. Take the time to make decisions as clearly as you can, and you may be surprised at how well things turn out.
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Some of the best (and lowest-cost) funeral planning efforts don’t involve buying or arranging anything. In fact, before you do any concrete planning, it’s a good idea to sit down and organize your fiscal and personal information so that everythin... more »