How to Choose a Local Funeral Home
When you lose a loved one, it can be an incredibly difficult and emotionally overwhelming time. One of the first things you'll likely need to do is choose a funeral home to handle the arrangements. This may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By keeping a few key things in mind, you can be sure to choose the right funeral home for your needs.
1. Start by talking with your loved ones
Working with a funeral home isn't as simple as you pick one and that's it. You'll need to decide on the type of service(s), the method of disposition, what products you want to purchase, how many people are attending, what you'd like the services to look like, and much more. Before you start researching options, there are a few important questions to consider:
- Did your loved one have a preference for which funeral home handled their services?
- Did they have any prepaid funeral plans or preneed funeral plans in place with a specific funeral home?
- Did they have any preneed funeral products that have already been paid for?
Determining these answers first will help guide you to your next step. If the decedent had a prepaid plan with a specific funeral home, the likelihood of you being able to work with a different funeral home are quite slim.
Work with your family regarding other aspects of the funeral arrangements before you start researching options, such as:
- What's your budget?
- What method of disposition are you interested in?
- Do you want a funeral service, celebration of life or a memorial service?
- Had your loved one shared funeral preferences?
- If the deceased is going to be buried, would you like them to be buried?
- If the deceased is going to be cremated, what would you like to do with the ashes?
- Who is invited to the services, if there are services being held?
Be sure to double check that the deceased did not have any specific wishes or arrangements made beforehand to avoid complications or overspending.
2. Remember the Funeral Rule
Before you start looking through different area funeral homes, it's important to know your rights. The Funeral Rule was put in place by the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers when they deal with funeral parlors. In general, the Funeral Rule protects your rights to:
- Get accurate pricing information over the phone (without having to meet face to face with the funeral director)
- Receive an itemized price list from the funeral home
- Forego embalming services
- Choose only the services you want to
- Purchase a casket, urn, or cremation container from another location (other than your chosen funeral home)
- Purchase an alternative container for cremation
- See a casket price list for caskets that are offered by the funeral home, even if they don't have those caskets on display
These rights are important to remember when dealing with funeral homes, since you'll likely be overwhelmed and may be easily pressured into doing something you wouldn’t otherwise do. Review these rights before starting your discussions with various funeral homes in your area.
3. Consider the different types of arrangements
Choosing a method of disposition for the body will determine the bulk of the cost of the funeral services. If the deceased did not indicate a preference towards a specific method of disposition, you'll need to choose which one to go with. There are a few different methods of disposition, all with their own price points, including:
- Cremation - Cremation is when the body is burned and ashes are returned to the family.
- Burial - A burial typically includes the body being laid to rest in a casket which is then buried in a cemetery.
- Green burial - A green burial is the same as a burial, except it’s done without any unnatural chemicals and ends with the body being buried in a green cemetery.
- Alkaline Hydrolysis - Also known as water cremation, alkaline hydrolysis
- Natural organic reduction - Natural organic reduction is the process of turning human remains into soil, an eco-friendly alternative to traditional burial.
- Whole body donation - Whole body donation is when a body is donated to science or a medical organization; after the body is donated, the organization will most often cremate the body and return the ashes to the family at no cost.
Cremation is often the most affordable option, while a traditional burial will be the most expensive. If you're interested in a green burial, there are likely only a few funeral homes in your area that will offer this service as it requires a green cemetery be in the area.
Once you've chosen your preferred method of disposition, you can start to look at funeral homes that offer this service. If you're unsure about which method of disposition you want to choose, most funeral homes will be able to help you decide on what's right for you.
4. Start comparing prices
Instead of simply Googling “funeral home near me”, go to Ever Loved to easily compare funeral home prices, reviews and more. Doing a search on Ever Loved will show you the funeral homes' websites and can show you which of these homes have their prices listed online. (It's pretty rare that a full service funeral home will have a full price list online, but if they do it's a good sign that they're transparent and easy to work with).
In addition to searching for price lists for local funeral homes, you can also see average costs on the city’s page on Ever Loved, so you can better understand what to expect. Knowing the average cost of funeral home services in your area will arm you with knowledge that you can use when priceshopping different funeral homes in your area.
After you've determined which funeral services you need, it's time to start price shopping different funeral homes in your area. You can see a full price estimate on Ever Loved before requesting an itemized list from the funeral home to help you narrow your search. When requesting a price quote from a funeral home, make sure to request the full price list for all of their services so there are no surprises later on.
If you have any questions about services and what they mean, be sure you ask the funeral director or funeral home for a clear explanation of any services you'll be purchasing. Keep these documents together so that you can easily compare prices at a later time, before deciding on the funeral home you'd like to work with.
In addition to comparing prices, it's a good idea to read through reviews of different funeral homes in your area to get an idea of what others have thought about their experience. If you're browsing Ever Loved's funeral home database, you can see reviews on each funeral home's page.
5. Visit the funeral homes
After you've narrowed down your choices to a few funeral homes that offer the services you're looking for at a price you're comfortable with, it's time to start visiting them. This is an important step in the process as it will give you a chance to see the facilities, meet the staff, and get a feel for what it would be like to work with that funeral home.
When visiting the funeral home, be sure to take note of how you're treated by the staff. Are they respectful? Compassionate? Do they make you feel comfortable? These are all important factors to consider when making your final decision.
Finally, be sure to ask any questions you may have about the funeral home or their services. This is your chance to get all the information you need before making a decision.
6. Get quotes in writing
Once you've chosen the funeral home you'd like to work with, it's time to start getting quotes in writing. This is important so that you have a record of what services you're being quoted for and how much they will cost.
When requesting a quote from the funeral home, be sure to ask for the itemized price list so that you can see exactly what you'll be paying for and what services you'll be receiving.
If you have any questions about the quote, be sure to ask the funeral home for clarification. You should also ask if there are any discounts available or payment plans that can help make the funeral more affordable.
Once you have all the information you need, you can make your final decision and begin making arrangements with the funeral home.
Need help paying for a funeral? Ever Loved's memorial websites can help you start a fundraiser in just a few minutes. Your community can help support you during your time of need and can stay informed regarding any upcoming events or changes.