Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Funeral Home

fivequestionsHow can you ensure that your loved one will be cared for appropriately upon their death and that you will be satisfied with all the arrangements? Here are five questions we suggest you ask a funeral director.

1) Does the funeral director hold a certification or have an advanced degree?

Not all funeral directors are Certified Funeral Service Practitioners (CFSP) nor do they maintain certifications through the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.

However, participation in this voluntary program assures that your funeral director maintains not only the highest standards of excellence but also is committed to continued educational studies in order to better meet the needs of you and your family.

2) Do you maintain your own refrigeration and embalming facilities on premises?

While state law does not require embalming, many times it is required to disinfect and preserve the body for a public viewing or visitation. However, many funeral homes no longer perform this service personally and sub-contract this important procedure to outside individuals.

Also, as cremation has grown in popularity, the body – if not embalmed – must be held in refrigeration. Yet, many funeral homes have elected not to maintain their own on-site refrigeration facilities and therefore send your loved ones to third party establishments located elsewhere in the county.

3) Do you operate your own crematory?

Though all funeral homes advertise cremation, most do not own their own crematory. Instead, they will use an off-site, multi-user location and many times requires your loved one to be transported to another county for cremation.

To ensure full disclosure when choosing cremation, it’s prudent to ask these additional questions: Who owns the crematory? Where is it located? When can I inspect it?

4) How do I know that the cremated remains are those of my loved one?

Alarmingly, this isn’t a foolish question. It is important to know the chain of custody when handling a loved one’s remains. A crematory should have detailed, exacting standards and be able to illustrate the process with family members during an inspection of the facility.

5) Does the funeral home operate its own transfer services?

The vast majority of funeral homes today outsource the transportation of the deceased to third-party companies. Therefore, your loved one could be left in the care of multiple organizations unbeknownst to you.

Like most businesses, the best decisions can be based on the reputation of the firm, so it is best to ask your funeral director for references.

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