You've decided that it's time to create a funeral pre-plan so your family won't have to deal with difficult decisions after you've passed away. One key element of your plan is which funeral home to use. You want a facility that you know will take good care of your family when you're gone. Here are a few considerations when researching the funeral homes in your community.
Get to Know the Staff and Management
Talk with the funeral directors in each facility that you are interested in. Ask about their management style and approach to customer service. You want to get a sense that they will be there when your family needs help with your final arrangements.
Speak with some of the staff as well. Look for a funeral home where the staff enjoy their work and have a good attitude about working with grieving people. Staff that can come up with creative solutions to problems your family may have are more helpful than those who can only recommend other products or services for purchase.
Access to Grief Counseling
Every funeral home will offer some form of grief counseling. Ask about all of their services and how your family may access them if needed. Some of the approaches funeral homes may take regarding grief counseling include:
- They may have trained grief counselors on their staff. These people will hold grief support groups and offer individual counseling sessions. Some facilities may have counselors trained to work in special areas, such as with children.
- Some facilities contract out the grief counseling to local specialists. Find out where your family would have to go to see these contract counselors to determine if it would be an inconvenience for your family.
- Other funeral homes may refer your family to local resources, such as community support groups, non-profit groups and religious organizations.
Some funeral homes maintain a cemetery to which you may have access. Ask about the regulations under which the facility is run to determine if they will be too restrictive for your needs and for your family to work with. These regulations cover such items as:
- the allowable materials, size and shape for head stones
- who must prepare the grave site and install the head stone
- what type of maintenance of the grave site is done by the facility
- what responsibilities your family has in maintaining the site
Some funeral homes offer clerical support for putting together and submitting claims for insurance and military benefits. These can be complicated, so you want to make sure your family submits the right materials the first time. Getting help from the funeral home to do these tasks will take some stress off of your family.