Choosing a Funeral Home

Choosing a funeral home is not something that most people like to think about doing. Whether you are planning for your own funeral care or dealing with the death of a loved one, you should consider several important issues. If you plan carefully, you'll be able to get the kind of care that you or your loved ones will need.

Start Looking Early: The best time to look for a funeral home is when you don't need one. The decisions that you make during the event of a death aren't the most rational or the most cost-effective. You may go with a funeral home that was used by someone you know, or one that posts ads in the local paper. This often isn't the best choice for you.

Comparison Shop: To choose the funeral home that will serve your needs best, you need to comparison shop. Fortunately, there is a "Funeral Rule" that requires funeral directors to give you a price sheet if you call on the phone or go in person to see the funeral home. This sheet will detail exactly what services the funeral home provides and the cost for each of these services.

Special Packages: Many funeral homes offer packages that have price discounts. Generally, the package prices are lower per item than if you bought all of the services individually. The only problem is that, in some cases, you may not need all of the services on the list. Compare the packages to your actual needs to see if you are really getting a discount.

All funeral homes offer these basic services:

  • A service fee for the director and staff
  • Pick-up of the body
  • Embalming
  • Preparations (including makeup, hair and wardrobe)
  • Casket and coffin choices
  • Viewing
  • Funeral or memorial services
  • Graveside services
  • Hearse

Pre-Paying for a Funeral: If you are planning your own funeral, you may want to ask about pre-need, pre-pay options. A lot of funeral homes are offering pre-payment plans that allow you to make payments on the costs of your funeral before your death. This way, the financial burden to your surviving family members is minimized. You'll also get to have a say in how your services are handled.

Choosing a funeral home isn't an easy task, but with a little evaluation and comparison shopping you'll be able to find the right place for your needs.

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