Choosing a Funeral Home Guide

How to Choose a Funeral Home

Whether you are in charge of making funeral arrangements for a loved one’s funeral memorial services, or you are involved in any part of this funeral planning process, many people would agree that the single most important decision you will face is choosing the “right” funeral home.

The best way to identify whether a funeral home (or cemetery) is right for you is by conducting an in-depth phone call and/or personal interview. The key things to look for in a funeral home, cemetery, and/or the funeral director are their location, licenses, reputation, experience, compassion, courteousness, training, and qualifications. All of these considerations are necessary to help guide you and your family through this difficult process of grief and loss.

Choosing The Right Funeral Home or Cemetery:

The main reasons many families often choose a funeral home or cemetery because it’s close to home, has served the family in the past, or has been recommended by someone they trust.  However, given the fact that this is such as important decision, families who choose to limit their funeral home search can also narrow their choices and options for funeral home services.

These all-important decisions are always much easier if your end of life plans and preferences are accomplished in advance, before the need for a planning a funeral or memorial service arises.

If you visit a funeral home in person, they are required by law to give you a General Price List itemizing the cost of the items and services the home offers. If the general price list does not include specific caskets, prices, or outer burial containers, the law requires the funeral director to show you the price lists for those items.

Sometimes it can be more convenient and less stressful to “price shop” funeral homes by telephone. The Funeral Rule requires funeral directors to provide funeral costs information over the phone to any caller who asks for it. In addition, many funeral homes are happy to mail you their price lists, although that is not required by law.

When comparing prices, be sure to consider the total cost of all the items together, in addition to the costs of single items. Every funeral home should offer a general price list that include all the items essential for the different types of arrangements it offers. Many funeral homes offer package funerals that may cost less than purchasing individual items or services. Offering package funerals is permitted by law, as long as an itemized price list also is provided. But only by using the price lists can you accurately compare total costs.

In addition, there’s a growing trend toward consolidation in the Funeral Home industry, and many neighborhood funeral homes are thought to be locally owned when in fact, they’re owned by a national corporation. If this issue is important to you, you may want to clarify this with the funeral home or cemetery.

(Source: Funerals – A Consumer Guide, Federal Trade Commission, June 2006)