Planning and Preparing for a Funeral
It is no easy task to effectively
plan and prepare for a funeral, especially if you are in a heightened emotional
state following a bereavement. If the death was unexpected, then you are
thrust into planning the funeral with very little time, and although it
makes the task no easier if you were dealing with old-age or a terminal
illness, at least you may have had some passage of time in which to consider
and make your plans.
As soon as you are aware
a death is imminent, or have just been notified of a death, the first thing
you need to do is arrange to have the deceased collected from the place
of death, and have them transferred to a funeral home.
If you have already decided
upon which funeral home you are going to use, this step is quite straightforward.
However, if you have not yet selected a funeral home, do NOT make a hasty
decision. Most hospital morgues will keep a body for a little longer
if you are consulting on funeral services.
Preplanning or Pre Arranging a Funeral
It can certainly help if
the deceased had already arranged a funeral plan, but this is not always
the case. It is probably important to ascertain immediately whether
there are specific documents that outline the deceased’s wishes.
Did he or she have a will? Is there a pre-need funeral contract?
Had they made a decision about whether they wished to be buried or cremated?
Is there any cemetery property in the family? Which family members
should be involved in the funeral planning process? If no funeral
insurance contract exists, the first thing to decide upon is which funeral
home you are going to use, and this can often be determined by what type
of funeral is required – burial or cremation?
Choosing a Funeral Home
Choosing a funeral home is
no easy task. It may be if you have had prior experience, and feel
that you already know a funeral director you are more than happy with.
If not, you need to do some quick research to guide you in your decision.
Have you any friends or acquaintances that have had experience with a funeral
home and could offer recommendations? Are you a member of a community
group or church that may be able to signpost you to a reliable funeral
provider. Do note here, that some funeral companies will promote
themselves to hospitals, hospices and other community organizations with
the specific intent of gaining custom. It has been known that some
incentives may be offered, so do ensure the recommendation you receive
is genuine and not for monetary gain!
You can use our FREE funeral
home directory to find the funeral homes
in your area. We list ALL funeral homes for free, which means no funeral
home is paying for an enhanced listing as with many other funeral home
directories, and ALL funeral providers in your area are listed…not just
those who have payed for a listing.
Deciding Upon What Kind of Funeral
Deciding which funeral home
to choose can be determined by what kind of funeral service you require.
For example, if you are opting for a cremation, there are many cremation
societies that only offer cremation, and can often sometimes offer discounted
services. So when you are doing your research about who to choose,
it is important that you have some idea of what you require. This
can help to make it easier to compare services and prices from different
The cost of a funeral service
in the U.S. can be anything from around $500 (for a direct cremation in
certain states) to thousands of dollars. This is why it is important to
compare prices, we guarantee you will be surprised at just how much the
price for a direct cremation will differ in your area. The average
cost of a funeral today is $7300 (according to the NFDA). We would
recommend that you chose at least three funeral providers and get their
prices. All funeral homes must have a General Price List (GPL) and
be prepared to give you this. It outlines all the services and products
they offer. Some funeral homes will now publish this on their web
site, or clearly highlight their packages and costs. Unfortunately,
this is not common practice though.
You will find our page on
‘How to Save $$$” outlines 5 top
tips to help you save money planning a funeral. There is also a checklist
tool at the bottom of the page that you can use to get prices and compare.
As the article on saving
money highlights, you need to retain control when organizing a funeral
if you do not want the costs to run away with you. Aside from the
main professional services of a funeral director that you require, there
are a multitude of ancillary services, which can mean that your simple
burial or cremation can end up being more costly than you expected.
Make sure you carefully read
the contract you enter into with the funeral home. You will be expected
to pay for certain charges (often referred to as ‘disbursements’) upfront,
as these are costs that the funeral director has to make to third-party
organizations. For example, this may be a death certificate and obituary
notices. Make sure you understand payment terms, and what types of
payment are accepted before entering into any agreement.
Ancillary Funeral Services
As mentioned, there are a
whole plethora of ancillary services and products, so it can greatly help
to write down exactly what you want before meeting with your funeral director.
You may find it helps to take along a friend who is not as emotionally
affected by the bereavement, and can therefore support you through the
decision-making process. Sometimes you can be overwhelmed with some
of the minutiae detail, such as what color casket pillow, choices of funeral
stationery and music, etc.
There is a whole library
of resources and articles to assist you here on this web site. Use
the left-hand link above to view our library information, and then browse
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