Choosing the right funeral home is an important process in your preplanning. This is true whether you are planning your own memorial or for someone within your family circle or friend.
There are several ways you can gather your data before deciding upon a funeral home. If possible, it's often best to do this ahead of time since funeral planning does not leave much time for planning.
First Step: Get Recommendations
Then call the funeral home and speak to a funeral director. Make sure you write down a list of questions you would like to ask and use this as a guide to assist you in choosing a funeral home that meets your family's needs.
Many families tend to work with the same funeral home when death occurs in their family, especially if they have had a favorable experience there. Going back to a familiar funeral home can provide comfort to the grieving family.
Keep in mind that your needs may vary from the recommendations you receive in your immediate circle of influence. This is why its important to jot down a list of your concerns and questions prior to the funeral home initial meeting.
Hopefully your recommendations will come from reputable friends, family and people whom you trust. If you do not have this, you can look to the directories and associations for locating and researching a funeral home reputation. One such organization is the National Funeral Director's Association (NFDA). They are a national organization whose members must adhere to the highest ethical standards. This may be a good place to start your referral selection. You can also check with your state's own association of funeral director. Every state has such an organization and may provide a smaller listing of referral funeral homes.
Remember that all funeral homes are not equal. Because funeral arrangements are very personal, you have rights to inquire and ask about a funeral home's services before obtaining them.
Basic Questions To Ask
It's always good to have an idea of what to ask a funeral home you are thinking of using. Below are some questions on what you may ask a funeral home or mortuary when initially inquiring about their services.
- What type of funeral, embalming, cremation, burial services and memorial keepsakes do they provide? (This will give you an idea if you need to seek a third party company and purchase some items on your own)
- What are the costs and breakdown of those associated with those services?
- What amenities are included such as a funeral chapel, musicians for the funeral music, limousines for transportation and funeral printed material do they provide?
- Is the funeral home a corporation or family owned? (How large the establishment is may be important to you as smaller, family owned funeral homes may give more personalized, cost effective services)
- What kind of financial arrangements must be made prior to the funeral service or signed agreement?
Will they be able to accommodate individual preferences such as a green burial, cremation or religious custom and traditions?
It is critical that during the initial interview with the funeral director, you pay close attention to how well he or she listens to you and communicates any helpful information. If you are not up to discerning this yourself, make sure you bring a friend or another family member. You do not want to get overwhelmed with the feeling of stress over poor communication or unexpected costs.
This is something no one should have to experience during a time of loss. Generally speaking, all funeral homes and mortuaries are trained and skilled at meeting the needs of grieving families. Choosing the right home that meets your family's needs can be a big burden lifted. If you follow these guidelines, the selection process will become much smoother for you and also less chaotic.