For most people, planning a funeral is an unfamiliar process. It’s
important to select a good funeral home that offers the services and pricing
that are appropriate for your family’s beliefs, values, and budget.
We’ve prepared this simple, straightforward guide to make the
process easier for you…and to help you make the most informed
choices. Of course, we will be happy to answer your questions and
offer any assistance you might need to help with your decisions. We
hope the ten steps in this guide will help you plan the most appropriate
tribute for your loved one – or for yourself.
- DON’T WAIT UNTIL SOMEONE IS ILL
Everyone thinks preplanning funerals is a good idea. But, often
people put it off. They procrastinate thinking, “I’m still young,” or, “I
don’t want to think about that now.” However, the best
time to do it is when everyone is healthy. You can give it the
time and attention it deserves and go on enjoying life.
- IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO PUT YOUR CHOICES IN YOUR WILL
And it’s not enough to simply mention your desires to your
children or spouse. Wills are read after the funeral and family
members can either forget or disagree with your choices. The only
way to be sure your wishes are carried out is to plan your funeral
in detail with the assistance of a funeral professional who can
keep your specific choices on file. When the time arrives, your
family will need only make one telephone call, and all arrangements
will be in place.
- DON’T BASE YOUR DECISION SOLELY ON PRICE
Many times, families gathering information on funeral costs make
a decision because of a low price. While it is very important
to stay within a predetermined budget, it’s also important
to completely understand exactly which services are offered,
and which you really want. In making this decision, be sure to consider
the trustworthiness of the funeral home, the quality of facilities,
and the experience of the staff. You might receive a much more
satisfying service for only a few dollars more.
- DON’T PRICE
COMPARE WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT’S INCLUDED
AND WHAT’S NOT
When people shop they often fail to compare the same services and
merchandise at each firm. If a casket has the same name, they will
assume it is the same quality when often there are different levels
of quality. The most confusing part is when families compare service
charges and think one funeral home is a lot less when actually the
firm with the lower service charge may chare more for the casket and
other merchandise. Always compare the bottom line and find out what
is included and what is not.
- DON’T DO ALL YOUR SHOPPING OVER THE PHONE
It’s not uncommon for people to “call around” to
many funeral homes, asking about prices for specific services. But
a funeral is a serious, important event, and sometimes price isn’t
the most important consideration. Do your shopping in person as well.
You should want to inspect the facility, and meet the people who will
be making the arrangements for your loved one. When you visit a funeral
home in person, and meet the staff face to face, you’ll be
more comfortable, and more secure in your decisions.
A funeral is a series of small events, each one carefully planned.
If the planning is inadequate or faulty, the emotional impact on family
and friends can be severe. Professionals understand how important
it is to carry out each detail without flaw, and they generally offer
a satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to ask about this, and request that
the funeral home explain it to you in detail.
- DON’T ASSUME EVERY FUNERAL HOME IS A CREMATION EXPERT
If you or your loved one has chosen cremation, it is important
to ask specific questions about how the funeral home handles the
process. Will you be allowed to witness the event if you desire?
Do they abide by a code of ethics? Do they offer a large selection
of commemorative items (such as urns or mementos)? Be sure to ask
the funeral professional to explain the entire process, so that
you understand all the steps – and
the costs – you will encounter.
- DON’T OVERLOOK HOW THE FUNERAL HOME MANAGES THE DETAIL
We believe that a funeral should be as unique as the individual.
Today, most funeral directors offer ways to tell the story of the
life that has been lived, through services such as memory tables,
tribute videos, commemorative items, symbols that honor military service,
memorialization jewelry, and much more. Personalizing the service
makes the event more satisfying and memorable for everyone.
- DON’T FAIL TO CONSIDER THE REPUTATION OF THE FUNERAL HOME
Not all funeral homes are the same. A qualified funeral professional
will take time to discuss the variety of options available. You
will need to know that the funeral home stands behind the services
and products they offer. An established firm with a strong reputation
offers peace of mind in knowing that all the details will be
carried out as planned. A funeral is one of life’s major events,
so it is important to have it taken care of by people you can trust.
- DON’T FORGET TO ASK WHAT THEY WILL DO FOR YOU AFTERWARDS
The best funeral professionals truly care about the families they
serve, and believe that their responsibility to you continues long
after the funeral. When selecting a funeral home, ask about the services
they provide when the funeral is over. They are there to direct you
to local resource centers that can assist you with the necessary documents
and certificates. Services may also include referrals to grief counselors
and support groups, memorial services on special days, follow-up visitations,
literary resources, and much more.
IT’S AN IMPORTANT DECISION
That’s why planning a funeral in advance is such a good choice.
It is an important decision…one that can lead to a healing
experience and the creation of cherished memories that last a lifetime.
The alternatives are many and varied, but they don’t have to
be difficult, and they don’t have to be beyond your means. Make
sure you are comfortable with the funeral home, staff, and services
you are considering, gather all the information you need, and plan
the type of service you want.
And ask questions. We are here to help.