Whether you're planning for your future or arranging a funeral for a loved one, selecting a funeral home can be a difficult process. Ask questions of prospective funeral homes and take notes or ask if they have pamphlets or other documents you can take with you to compare with other funeral homes you've contacted.
One of the first things you should consider when you need to choose a funeral home is your total budget. Funeral services and related expenses, such as caskets, urns, burial plots, and gravestones can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.
If you're arranging a funeral for a loved one, go over their will and any other documents left behind. This way, you can see if there are certain arrangements that they already made for themselves to take some of the planning pressure off yourself. You can also make sure you leave room in your budget for anything the deceased person wanted to make sure was included.
The Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule gives families rights that help plan a funeral on a budget easier. You have the right to get pricing information over the phone, get an itemized price list, refuse to embalm, and purchase a casket or urn elsewhere and provide it to the funeral home to use without paying additional fees.
Consider the location of the funeral home when you make arrangements. If you plan to have a graveside service in addition to a viewing or service at the funeral home, it's usually best to choose a funeral home close to the cemetery to reduce travel time between the two.
You may also want to choose a central location if you plan to have friends and family members coming from different directions to attend the funeral. Some families choose a funeral home based on its proximity to their place of worship if they plan to have a service at a religious institution before or after the one at the home.
Make a list of amenities you must have and list of ones you'd like to have in the funeral home you choose to help you narrow down your options. Make sure the funeral home you choose has enough parking for your estimated number of guests.
Ask what options are available in a single package from the funeral home to keep things simple. Many funeral homes sell caskets and urns, and some offer floral arrangements or even on-site cremation.
Ask the funeral home director about access to audio-visual equipment if you plan to play your own music, show a video, or display pictures on a screen during the service. Check out accessibility options, such as ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms if you may have disabled attendees.
Meet with funeral home directors if you can so you have an opportunity to see the facilities in person and ask any questions you have before you commit to a specific home.