Questions to Ask a Funeral Director
If you have never arranged a funeral before, the experience can be incredibly overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with your issues of grief, but the world of funeral planning has its own rules, regulations, and language. If you’re unfamiliar with these, you might quickly break down under the strain of making decisions and knowing how to respond.
Your funeral director should act as your support and your guide to this process. In order to get the most out of your relationship, however, it is a good idea to come equipped to any meeting with a list of questions and concerns you might have.
Your list should include:
- How do you coordinate with local hospitals, morgues, crematoriums, and cemeteries to arrange the funeral?
- How long have you been in business?
- What is the role of the funeral director, and how do you plan to fulfil it?
- Who else is on staff, and how will they support me and my family throughout the funeral?
- What if I have questions or need help outside of traditional business hours?
- Can I please get a copy of the funeral home’s General Price List? (The answer to this should always be yes and immediate, as it is required by federal law.)
- What paperwork and decision-making is required of me to get the funeral planned?
- Is your funeral home independently owned or part of a larger corporation?
- What type of funeral service options are available to me?
- What is the bottom line cost to my family?
- What fees will be added for the transportation and preparation of the body?
- When will payments be due and what are the contract terms?
- What kind of social support is offered by the funeral home both during the funeral and in the days/weeks/months to follow?
- What options are available outside of basic cremation and/or burial?
- What happens if I change my mind about any services I’ve asked for?
- Who can I talk to in the event that I’m unhappy with the funeral services?
These questions will serve as a starting point for all the important conversations you will have with your funeral director. Any time an answer is not straightforward or immediately offered, it is usually a red flag, so be wary of put offs.
You have choices when it comes to funeral homes, so if you are unsure about a provider, feel free to shop around. Although transferring a loved one from one funeral home to another might come with an extra charge, it is perfectly legal and could result in a better funeral experience overall.
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By Amy Johnson