Only around 40 percent of Americans have written wills, completed estate planning documents, or otherwise taken steps to plan for their deaths. This means that when the majority of Americans die, decisions about funerals and burials fall to their families.
Making these choices while under a cloud of grief can be challenging. Knowing what key factors to prioritize can help. Here are the top three things to consider when choosing a funeral home when you’ve lost a loved one.
1. The Service Options
It is easy to underestimate the sheer number of moving parts involved in a funeral. Beyond transportation and preparation of the deceased’s body and a place to hold a service, families may also want or need help:
- Coordinating service elements such as music and programs
- Organizing a service and communicating that information to the community
- Managing the legal paperwork associated with a death
- Creating and managing a memorial website
- Handling flowers and other donations or gifts
Families may also have specific religious or cultural traditions that need to be observed, and not all funeral homes will be equally equipped to accommodate those needs. The first step in choosing a funeral home then is identifying your family’s priorities and needs and finding a mortuary equipped to offer the combination of support services and funeral elements that are most important to you.
2. Your Budget
While no family wants to think about their options being limited by money, your budget is essential to consider when deciding how to choose a funeral home. Nationwide, funerals cost an average of between $7,000 and $9,000. That cost can balloon quickly when families start adding extra services to their arrangements.
Setting a firm budget upfront can help you contain funeral costs and avoid finding yourself saddled with a hefty bill when all is said and done. Having a budget can also help you narrow down your options when it comes to funeral homes and keep your focus on the portions of a funeral and burial plan that matter to you the most.
3. Funeral Home Reputation
Perhaps one of the least discussed tips for choosing a funeral home is to pay attention to reputation.
Any funeral home can look good on paper or during a brief walk-through. This is particularly true when you are struggling with grief and the sudden upheaval that can follow an unexpected death. It can be easy to miss potential warning signs that indicate an unpleasant experience ahead.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends and others in your community for help choosing a funeral home. Ask which providers they have had good experiences with in the past and which you would do better to avoid. While this is not a substitute for basing decisions on your needs and budget, it can help you steer clear of problem providers and point you in the right direction.
End of Life Planning
Choosing a funeral home is only one of many tasks that need to happen when a loved one dies. Learn more about end-of-life planning and options by exploring the other great articles on our blog today.