Following the loss of a loved one, family members are struck with the sudden and difficult decision of finding a funeral home.
To ensure a smooth and seamless process during an already emotional time, you’ll want to choose a funeral that will help you take care of every important detail. With so many funeral homes to choose from, how do you know you’re making the right choice?
First, we recommend having a conversation with your loved ones about the following topics prior to making your selection:
- Method of Disposition: Do we have a preference for burial or cremation?
- Service: What service (funeral, memorial, gathering, wake or visitation) would we like to have?
- Budget: What is our overall budget?
- Personalization: What personalization elements are we looking for in a service?
- Funeral Home/Crematory: Should we choose the same funeral home we’ve always gone to? Or, are there funeral homes in the area that are more updated or accommodating to our needs?
- Prearrangements: Are there any preneed contracts to date that document final wishes? If so, should we research other facilities and more updated funeral homes to transfer our services?
Answering these questions ahead of time will make the funeral home selection process easier based on your defined needs. Below, we offer a step-by-step guide to help you and your family choose a funeral home for your loved one.
1. Visit the facility.
The first step in finding the right funeral home is to visit the facility. While you can conduct research online, touring the facility gives you a general sense of the funeral home in consideration.
When touring a funeral home, these are some features to look out for:
- Updated furniture, carpet and service rooms
- Built-in technology (sound systems to broadcast playlists, web-casting, multimedia videos) to transform services
- Appropriate wall décor
- Clean, updated restrooms
- On-site parking to accommodate a variety of group sizes
- Handicap accessible entrances and exits
- Ample room to accommodate large gatherings and comfortable space for small, intimate memorials
- A suitable environment for interacting with guests before, during and after the service
- Available catering services on-site
- A remembrance center with product offerings and merchandise
An updated facility helps improve the level of comfort, satisfaction and service of your family and guests during your time of need.
2. Meet the funeral director and staff.
Next, meet the funeral director and staff. Your comfort with these individuals should be a main priority when choosing a funeral home, as you’ll be relying on them to facilitate services.
In determining if the funeral home is right for you and your family, consider these questions during your conversation:
- Is the staff helpful and attentive?
- Dp the respect my cultural and/or religious needs?
- Are they able to adhere to my budget?
Additionally, you’ll want to discuss pricing with the funeral director, as this greatly influences your decision in choosing a funeral home. Under the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, a funeral home is required to provide consumers with a General Price List (GPL). A GPL briefly details the items and services the funeral home offers, and the cost of each one. These include:
- Basic service fee of funeral director and staff
- Use of facilities for viewing
- Cost of burial/cremation
- Transfer of the deceased to the funeral home
- Forwarding/receiving cremated remains
- Embalming charge
- Cosmetic preparations of the body
- Caskets, urns and alternative containers
If you don’t feel comfortable and confident in a funeral home’s ability to carry out your final wishes or meet your budget, look for a facility that can ensure your needs will be met.
3. Review referrals and testimonials.
After evaluating various funeral homes, it’s time to narrow your choices. While you may have a front-runner in mind, you’ll want to review their website and review sites for testimonials or referrals from past families.
What are other people saying about the funeral home and staff? Is it positive or negative? If there are no customer testimonials available online, ask the staff if they have any information on past visits, or see if other family members or friends have worked with the funeral home in the past.
In doing so, you can ensure your loved one is treated with professionalism, integrity and care.
Narrow Down Your Funeral Home Selection and Document Your Final Wishes
Choosing a funeral home is one of the many decisions that need to be made following the loss of a loved one. Finding a funeral home to arrange services with prior to death gives you the opportunity to document final wishes ahead of time. You can be confident that your needs will be met, and your family won’t have to stress over making the right decisions.
For more information, schedule a preplanning consultation today. Our preplanning advisors can explain your options, answer your questions and walk you through the process within one afternoon.