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How to choose a funeral home

By Erica Lamberg
Despite any time crunch, don't feel pressured into choosing a funeral home too quickly. It's one of the most-vital decisions you'll make. Josh Wilburne / Unsplash

It’s best to choose a funeral home based on a recommendation by someone you trust. Don’t feel immediate pressure to choose quickly. Take time to speak with your close circle for a choice or two. Consider a recommendation from a religious leader, a friend or family member or a connection like a hospice representative. Here are some more suggestions:

It’s smart to comparison shop

Comparison shopping doesn’t have to be too challenging, especially if it's done before the need for a funeral arises, says the Federal Trade Commission. “Thinking ahead can help you make informed and thoughtful decisions about funeral arrangements. It allows you to choose the specific items you want and need, and to compare the prices several funeral providers charge,” the FTC says.

Price transparency is the law

If you visit a funeral home in person, the FTC requires the funeral provider to give you a general price list itemizing the cost of the items and services the funeral home offers. If the price list does not include specific prices of caskets or other burial containers, laws require the funeral director to show you price lists. If it’s more convenient and less stressful to call funeral homes by telephone, the Funeral Rule enforced by the FTC requires funeral directors to provide price information on the phone.

Consider the entire cost before selecting a funeral home

When comparing prices, calculate the total cost of all the items. Although funeral homes may offer packages that cost less than buying individual items or services, you may not need all the services. Consider the wishes of the deceased, your budget and input from relatives and friends.  The amount that you spend isn’t tied to the love you had for the deceased. Going into debt isn’t advisable.

Follow your intuition

Think about your expectations and then follow common sense. Does the facility match your needs? Is the staff compassionate? Can the funeral home accommodate your religious needs? Is it locally-owned or part of a large conglomerate? The most important reason for selection should be that the funeral home offers a meaningful and affordable tribute to your love one.  

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