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Estate and pre-planning guide: Picking a funeral home

When choosing a funeral home for you or a loved one, find a facility that can meet your needs and accommodate your particular wishes, and has experience planning the type of funeral you desire.

From newspaper ads to asking friends and family members to searching the web, there are many ways to find funeral homes in your area. Once you’ve determined your criteria for a funeral home, you can begin to make use of these resources to find potential funeral homes. Ask friends and family members about any funeral home experiences they’ve had, look at funeral homes’ websites, and search for local funeral homes using online directories.

Increasingly, funeral home reviews are appearing on customer review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List, and those might be helpful resources, as well.

After you’ve identified a potential funeral home, you can set up a meeting with the funeral director. Your first meeting with a funeral director (sometimes referred to as an “arrangement conference”) can take place in person — either at the funeral home or at your own home — or over the phone.

This initial meeting is an opportunity for you to ask questions, learn more about the services offered by the funeral home and get a general sense of what the funeral home in question is like. The funeral director should be friendly, courteous, well informed and compassionate. You may have many questions and requests, and the funeral director should listen attentively and provide answers.

Here are some questions to keep in mind prior to picking a funeral home:

• Do you feel like the funeral director understands the type of funeral you want and is committed to helping you achieve your vision?

• Does the funeral home offer the goods and services you’re interested in purchasing?

• Does the funeral home offer affordable goods and services?

• Does the funeral home have the type of facilities you need, such as handicapped bathrooms, a private holding room before a service, etc.?

• Does the funeral director understand your religious and cultural needs? Has the funeral home ever prepared a funeral according to your religious or cultural customs?

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