Choosing a funeral home is no easy task since it is done by family members who are in the throes of grief after losing a loved one. Their thoughts may most likely be clouded and overtaken by a flood of emotions at this point.
If your family member has just died, you should know first if he or she has made any other arrangements or provisions for their own funeral. Funeral plans can help the bereaved family members because they will be having a clear vision of what kind of funeral the deceased wished to have.
It is important to learn how to choose a funeral home or service wisely – you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and gain high satisfaction with the services you receive. Here are some things that you should know to select the best funeral home and give your deceased loved one the proper farewell he/she would have deserved, especially when he/she has made specific provisions before dying:
1. Consult Your Family
Consultation with your closed ones is the most important thing you should do when choosing a funeral home. Decide on a budget that is affordable for you. Don’t fall for funeral home’s prices and regret later as most people do. You might accept the proposal of the funeral’s home in the heat of the moment then scramble to find the money later.
2. Get Familiar with The Funeral Rights
Like many rights, there are funeral rights too. Funeral service providers are obliged to comply with the state’s funeral rights. Following are the Funeral Rules by the Federal Trade Commission in a brief way that affirms your right to:
- Get a quote over the phone about their services
- Receive a written piece containing a list of services with their prices when you visit
- Buy only the services and goods that you really want
- Choose not to have embalming
- Select any alternative container instead of a casket for cremation
- Provide a casket or an urn that’s bought elsewhere without incurring additional charges
- Receive a written statement containing all the services and goods you have opted for, but before payment
3. Search on The Internet
You can use the Internet to look for a bunch of local funeral homes that run their own websites. This will help you to see exactly who they are and what type of services they are offering. It also tremendously helps to compare the prices of each of the funeral homes you have found on the web. Generally, independent and family-owned and operated funeral homes (also called mortuaries or funeral parlors) are less expensive than those owned by a large company or corporation.
4. Get A Quote and Compare Prices
Once you have consulted with your family and decided on a suitable budget, move to the next step which is consulting with your local Funeral Consumers Alliance. Check if they are able to provide a list of prices according to your area. If they are, check the range of costs for the services and goods you want to opt for and make a list to compare with other funeral homes. Many people will just immediately hire a funeral home they have come across and get eventually shocked when they finally discover the total expenses. So that’s why it is a wise move to get a written estimate or quote from at least three different local funeral homes.
Federal law states that funeral homes should provide an estimate whenever a customer requests for it. If a funeral home does provide you with an estimate or a quote, then it is a good sign. The price lists will show you about a funeral home’s basic services and products such as caskets and flowers. In this way, you will be able to go forward with your funeral arrangements that will meet your budget.
Another way to compare prices is with the help of phone book for funeral home listings – you can call several funeral homes and see which one suits you the best according to your budget and requirements. You can even look beyond your immediate areas to get lower prices – it is up to you, whether you can pay $1000 extra to your local funeral home or drive for 20 mins to a remote funeral home and save thousands of dollars.
5. Ask Questions
Do not hesitate to ask questions. This is to ensure that you will work with a legitimate funeral home. Some of these questions that you should ask funeral home owners and operators include the following:
- Are you locally owned?
- What kind of services do you offer?
- What kind of funeral packages do you offer?
- Are you a member of the Selected Independent Funeral Homes? (Selected Independent Funeral Homes is a worldwide trade association whose members consist of independently owned and operated funeral homes. It is formerly called National Selected Morticians)
- What kind of services can I get if pre-paid arrangements were made, or if there’s life insurance?
- Will I be allowed to customize a funeral service to meet special preferences?
- Is your funeral director licensed?” (If you’re particularly planning a traditional burial over cremation, also ask if the embalmers are licensed)
- What are the actions, materials, and government regulations do I need to consider when pre-arranging a funeral?
6. Make A Decision
Once you have gone through all the points, now is the time to finally make a decision. Choose the funeral home you like best. If the funeral is about to happen, you can call the selected funeral home to begin the arrangements. You might need to fill the funeral home’s pre-need form and pay a deposit if required. You also have the right to ask if there are any hidden charges. Finally, if everything is good and within your budget, you can go ahead and sign the contract.
Always keep in mind that shopping for funeral homes will make you no less dignified. But it is definitely undignified (and more tragic) when you’re getting cheated by a fly-by-night funeral company after you have lost a loved one. Following all the points mentioned above can help you take a much better decision.
Here are 3 tips that you should keep in mind beforehand:
- You do not need to opt for the full package; pick only the services that you want
- Planning a viewing or visitation? You can ask for embalming services that will cost you thousands of dollars. However, you can save a lot by not removing this service off the package
- Once you receive a list of services/goods with prices, you can always ask for negotiation
Here’s a personalized Funeral Guest Book you can get that makes a perfect funeral/memorial gift for recording memories of a deceased family member or a loved one.