6 Questions to Ask a Funeral Director

11 December 2019 • Funeral Directors

Funeral planning can be an exhausting and stressful experience, but it is an important thing to do. Think of organizing the funeral of a loved one as an honor. It is one of the last gestures of love you can do for your dearly departed. The person who is in charge of embalming, burial or cremation, and coordinating arrangements for the funeral ceremony is the funeral director. He or she is your go-to person during the funeral planning process. 

It is important to ask the funeral director a few questions before your choose a particular funeral home. Below are six questions that we recommend you ask a funeral director, which will help you make the best possible decision. 

1. In-House Services or Outsourced

One of the important aspects of planning a funeral for your loved one is maintaining a budget. When you speak with a funeral director, you should ask them if they provided services in-house, or if they outsource certain services to a third-party. The latter will usually cost you more, so it's best to get details on this aspect of the funeral service. In-house services will also make it easier to communicate particular arrangements with your funeral director. 

2. Funeral Packages

You should ask the funeral director their funeral packages. Almost all funeral homes have some sort of funeral service package, which details what arrangements and services are included. There is usually a basic package option, which is less costly. They might also offer an all-inclusive plan for a higher price. Funeral directors will be more than happy to accomodate your specific budget range.

However, keep in mind that funeral service packages might have additional fees for overhead costs and other professional services. For example, the funeral home will coordinate with the church or cemetery, as well as prepare the official documents (i.e. death certificate). 

3. Accommodating Personal Beliefs

It is also important to ask the funeral director if their funeral home is accommodating to personal beliefs, such as religious or philosophical customs. Personal beliefs are not just limited to religion and culture, but also the individual beliefs of your loved one. Your dearly departed might have detailed specific funeral service and/or burial arrangments in their will. If you are the executor of their will, it is important for your to honor those wishes.

Funeral directors are quite open-minded towards personal beliefs, especially funeral directors who have many years of experience. If you are of a particular faith, you may want to ask the funeral director if they've arranged funerals for similar clients in the past. 

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4. Customizing the Funeral Service

Most funeral homes give you the option to customize the funeral service. In fact, when you ask the funeral director about their funeral service packages, you can follow up by asking if they'll allow you specific details within the package you choose. However, keep in mind that certain customizations might incur additional fees. Customization is particularly important for families of service members. Military funerals have unique aspects to them and funeral homes do not charge for military honors. 

5. Funeral Director's Experience

Although this is not the most important aspect of funeral services, it is worth taking the time to ask the funeral director how long their funeral home has been in business. This will give you an idea of what they might or might not be capable of providing for your family. Learning about their history and the various types of funerals they've arranged in the past will help you make your decisions. 

6. Payment Options

Once the funeral insurance, also known as the final expense policy, has been resolved with the funeral director, it is important to ask them about payment options. Insurance can be quite complex and there are many cases in which policies don't cover certain arrangements. Additionall service fees will also add to the total cost of the funeral service, which could be anywhere between $1,000 to $4,000. Many funeral homes offer installment plans and other payment structures that will fit your budget. 

Remember, paying more for your loved one's funeral service doesn't mean you love them any more than paying for a more affordable option. Oftentimes, we are not aware of our loved ones' insurance policies, or if they even have any. What's important is that you honor them by giving them a dignified funeral and proper burial. 

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