How to choose a funeral home

Choosing a funeral home is not only a traditional part of the process, it’s legally required for planning and conducting a funeral. These services will come in handy when you may be too upset to plan many of the details yourself – it is the job of the funeral service provider to comfort you and make the events easy on you.

What to Look For

You will want to choose a funeral home or cemetery that is close to you geographically, emotionally, or was recommended by someone you trust. If you feel up to it, shop around a bit to make sure you are getting reasonable rates. When you visit a funeral home in person, the law requires the provider to present you with a list that shows the cost of products and services offered. If you aren’t up for an in-person visit, you can also make your inquiries over the telephone. Many funerals offer packages that may cost less than selecting each item individually. If you go with a package deal, make sure you ask for an itemized list to make sure it actually costs less.

Some questions you can ask when choosing a funeral home:

What kinds of funeral packages do you offer? Are you locally owned? If I’m pre-arranging a funeral, can you tell me some of the government regulations and materials I should use to consider? Can I customize the funeral to my specific needs? Can I see a General Price List?

Know Your Rights

In 1984 Congress passed an act know known as the Funeral Rule Legislation. Revised in 1994, it protects the interest of the grieving party with certain stipulations. For example, if the consumer buys a casket from a third party, then the funeral home cannot change their prices or charge a “handling fee.” If the deceased is to be cremated, a funeral home cannot tell the consumer that a casket is required, and has to tell show the family all of their options, not just the expensive cremation caskets. Any sort of scam proclaiming that certain caskets have protective outsides that can better preserve the remains are prohibited, as they are a lie. And, funeral homes but show you a copy of the price list for materials, and can choose to make you a copy to take home with you.

Some funeral homes put up a local front, but are actually owned by national corporations. If it’s important that you use a family-owned service, you can use our Funeral Home Locator. Family-owned services have often been operated by one family for generations, and can have a more personal relationship with the community. A family-owned home can be assuring, since the members have been in the business for so long and are likely to proceed with respect to your emotional needs. They may be more flexible to the family’s wishes, and their personalized service is one reason larger companies will buy them out but keep the family name with the business.

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Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.

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