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How to Choose a Funeral Home

Whether you're pre-planning your own funeral service or arranging someone else's, choosing the right funeral home is an important step in the process. There are a couple of different ways you can gather information about funeral homes before making your decision. When you speak with a funeral director prior to making your choice, it's also helpful to have a list of questions ready. Use this guide to help you choose a funeral home that is appropriate for your needs.

Ask Friends or Family for Recommendations
Choosing a funeral home with which you'll work easily is often as simple as asking a friend or family member who they have used in the past. Many families work with the same funeral home for decades; doing so adds a layer of comfort and familiarity in a time of grieving.

As you ask people you know to help you find a caring, professional funeral home, keep in mind that your funeral planning preferences may be different. You'll still need to determine if the mortuary or funeral home they suggest will meet your needs. A list of questions to ask when you meet the funeral director is listed at the end of this article.

Use Funeral Industry Resources for Referrals

Knowing that the people you select to handle your final arrangements or those of a loved one are reputable is essential. Funeral industry directories and associations can be helpful in both locating and researching a funeral home's reputation. Some reputable resources in the industry include The National Directory of Morticians or state funeral directors associations. You can also look online at directories  to begin your search for funeral homes in your area.

Not All Funeral Homes Are Equal
Because the arrangements surrounding a death are highly personal, you're completely within your rights to inquire about a funeral home’s services before you choose them to handle your needs.

Here is a sample list of questions to ask when choosing a funeral home or mortuary:

  • Which funeral, embalming, cremation and burial services they provide
  • What costs associated with those services (See our article on funeral costs and funeral planning
  • What amenities such as funeral chapel, musicians, limousines and funeral program printing do they provide
  • Whether the business is family-owned or owned by a larger corporation. (This detail may or may not be important to you)
  • What financial arrangements must be made prior to the funeral
  • Whether they can accommodate individual preferences in areas such as green burial, cremation or religious customs.

During the initial interview with the funeral director, pay attention to how well he or she listens to you and communicates helpful information. Feeling stressed over poor communication or unexpected costs isn’t something you or your loved ones should have to experience at a difficult time.

Funeral homes and mortuaries are skilled at meeting the needs of grieving families. Selecting the right one for your specific funeral needs can make a time of loss much easier. Ask friends or family for a recommendation, research area funeral homes using funeral industry resources and don't be afraid to ask questions. In that way, you will choose a funeral home that will provide the support you need.

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