TEN MISTAKES TO AVOID IN FUNERAL PLANNING
1. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL SOMEONE IS ILL
Everyone thinks preplanning is a good idea. But, often people put it off. They procrastinate thinking, "I'm still young," or, "I don't want to think about that now." However, the best time to do it is when everyone is healthy. You can give the time and attention it deserves and go on enjoying life.
2. MAKING YOUR CHOICES IN A WILL IS NOT ENOUGH
It is also not enough to simply mention it to your spouse or children. Wills are often read after the funeral and the family members can either forget or disagree with your choices. The only way to be sure your wishes are carried out is to plan your funeral in detail with the assistance of a funeral professional who can keep your specific choices on file. When the time arrives, your family need only make one telephone call, and all arrangements will be in place.
3. DO NOT BASE YOUR DECISION SOLELY ON PRICE
Many times, families gathering information on funeral costs make a decision because of a low price. While it is very important to stay within a predetermined budget, it's also important to completely understand exactly which services are offered, and which you really want. In making this decision, be sure to consider the trustworthiness of the funeral home, the quality of the facilities, and the experience of the staff. You might receive much more satisfying service for a few dollars more.
4. DO NOT PRICE COMPARE WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT IS INCLUDED AND WHAT IS NOT
When people shop they often fail to compare the same services and merchandise at each firm. If a casket has the same name, they will assume it is the same quality when often there are different levels of quality. The most confusing part is when families compare service charges and think one funeral home is a lot less when actually the firm with the lower service charge may often charge more for the casket and other services and merchandise. Always compare the bottom line and find out what is included and what is not.
5. DO NOT DO ALL YOUR SHOPPING OVER THE PHONE
It's not uncommon for people to "call around" to many funeral homes, asking about prices for specific services. But a funeral is a serious, important event, and sometimes price isn't the most important consideration. Do your shopping in person as well. You should want to inspect the facility and meet the people who will be making the arrangements for your loved one. When you visit a funeral home in person, and meet the staff face to face, you'll be more comfortable, and more secure in your decisions.
6. ASK ABOUT GUARANTEES
A funeral is a series of small events, each one carefully planned. If the planning is inadequate or faulty, the emotional impact on family and friends can be severe. Professionals understand how important it is to carry out each detail without flaw, and generally offer a satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to ask about this, and request that the funeral home explain it to you in detail.
7. DON'T ASSUME EVERY FUNERAL HOME IS A CREMATION EXPERT
If you or your loved one has chosen cremation, it is important to ask specific questions about how the funeral home handles the process. Will you be allowed to witness the event if desired? Do they abide by a code of ethics? Do they offer a large selection of commemorative items? Be sure to ask the funeral professional to explain the entire process so you understand all the steps -- and the costs -- you will encounter.
8. DON'T OVERLOOK HOW THE FUNERAL HOME MANAGES THE DETAILS
We believe that a funeral should be as unique as the individual. Today, most funeral directors offer ways to tell the story of the life that has been lived, through services such as memory tables, tribute videos, memorial websites, military tributes, and much more. Personalizing the service makes the event more satisfying and memorable for everyone.
9. DO NOT FAIL TO CONSIDER THE REPUTATION OF THE FUNERAL HOME
Not all funeral homes are the same. A qualified funeral professional will take time to discuss the variety of options available. You will need to know that the funeral home stands behind the services and products they offer. An established firm with a strong reputation offers peace of mind in knowing all the details will be carried out as planned. A funeral is one of life's major events, so it is important to have it take care of by people you can trust.
10. DO NOT FORGET TO ASK WHAT THEY WILL DO FOR YOU AFTERWARDS
The best funeral professional truly cares about the families they serve, and believe that their responsibility to you continues long after the funeral. When selecting a funeral home ask about the services they provide when the funeral is over. They are there to direct you to local resource centers that can assist you with the necessary documents and certificates. Services may also include referrals to grief counselors and support groups, memorial services on special days, follow-up visitations, literary resources, and much more.