1. Plan Your Funeral, but...Think twice before paying in advance. You risk losing everything if the funeral home goes out of business.Not true. Prepaid funds are placed into either an insurance policy or a trust fund. You are the owner of the policy, you can transfer it to anywhere you’d like, or even cash it out early.
2. On a Budget or Concerned About the Environment?Consider a rental casket. The body stays inside the casket in a thick cardboard container, which is then removed for burial or cremationHalf true. Rental caskets are called ceremonial caskets, you can have a viewing and funeral, and then the inner lining is removed for cremation. BUT, the cardboard inner lining is suitable for cremation, but generally not for burial as it has to be able to be carried with a certain amount of weight inside. Different states and cemeteries have different requirements.
3. Tell Your Family Not to Wait Running a funeral home without a refrigerated holding room is like running a restaurant without a walk-in cooler. But many funeral homes don’t offer one because they want you to pay for the more costly option: embalming. Most bodies can be presented very nicely without it if you have the viewing within a few days of death.
4. Some Hard-Sell Phrases to Be Wary Of “Given your position in the community …,” “I’m sure you want what’s best for your mother,” and “Your mother had excellent taste. When she made arrangements for Aunt Nellie, this is what she chose.”
5. “Protective” Caskets with a Rubber Gasket? They don’t stop decomposition. In fact, the moisture and gases they trap inside have caused caskets to explode.Nothing stops decomposition and nothing claims to, the benefit of the gasket is to keep water out as much as possible.
6. Make a Point of Asking If there’s no low-cost casket in the display room, ask to see one anyway. Some funeral homes hide them in the basement or the boiler room.We may not display them (because they are unattractive) but we certainly don’t hide them, in fact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires that every customer is given a casket price list before even seeing caskets. This list includes all caskets available for purchase, including the low-cost ones.
7. If You Choose Cremation... Ask the crematory to return the ashes in a plain metal or plastic container — not one stamped temporary container. That’s just a sleazy tactic to get you to purchase a more expensive urn.Not every container is suitable for long-term storage or for burial, if we stamp “temporary container” it’s because we mean it. A sleazy tactic would be telling you it will last forever, only to have an uncomfortable situation arise years later.
8. Shop Around Prices at funeral homes vary wildly, with direct cremation costing $1,200 at one funeral home and $3,000 across town.True. Some funeral homes own their own crematory, and others contract them out. Some funeral homes have to transport the body a few hundred miles to the nearest crematory. Also, geography makes a difference. While the SE US has about a 16% cremation rate, Nevada has a 75% rate. Funeral homes have to adjust to their individual market. Life should have taught you that cheaper is not always better :)
9. Not Everything is Cremated We remove pacemakers because the batteries damage our crematories.
10. The Details Can Cost You If I try to sell you a package that I say will save you money, ask for the individual price list anyway. Our packages often include services you don’t want or need.Refer to number 6. You don’t have to ask for an individual price list. Federal law requires that each family is given one before services and finances are discussed.
11. The Title Matters Yes, technically I am an undertaker or a mortician. But doesn’t funeral director have a nicer ring to it?
12. Think Outside the Box Sure, you can store ashes in an urn or scatter them somewhere special, but nowadays you can also have them crushed into a real diamond, integrated into an underwater coral reef, or blasted into space.Yep. Not sure why we wouldn’t tell you that.
13. The Deceased isn't Always Present It’s usually less expensive if the body isn't there for the funeral.I don't know many funeral homes (if any) that base service prices based on the attendance of the deceased. I must point out that my funeral home does not have any price difference between a funeral service or a memorial service.
14. Please Don't Worry about This If the deceased’s favorite outfit is a size too small or a size too big, bring it to us anyway. Part of our job is making the clothes lie perfectly.I’m not sure what the benefit would be of telling you otherwise
15. It Has to Be Recent If I ask you for a photograph of the deceased to help me prepare the body, I don’t mean her honeymoon picture from decades ago.True. Once again, why wouldn’t we tell you this?
16. Please... That may be real gold in your loved one’s dental fillings or crowns, but don’t ask me to remove them for you.I’m not afraid to tell you this. I don’t want to pull out your dad’s teeth. There, I said it.
17. Be Wary Never trust a funeral director who says, “This is the last thing you can do for your loved one.”
18. Spending Big Doesn't Make a Funeral Meaningful Consider a potluck at the widow’s home or an informal ceremony at a favorite park, and ask survivors to tell stories or read poetry.True.
19. Don't Come Alone Always bring another person when you meet with me, ideally someone who’s not as emotionally attached to the deceased.This can help, sometimes having too many people in the room creates more commotion than the grieving need, however.
Now here are things your funeral director really won’t tell you!
“I missed watching my son open his birthday gift in order to respond to your mother’s death”
“I have five other families I’m meeting with just like you; none of them are any more or less important, so I’m actually exhausted”
“I know you don’t like how your mom/dad looks, but they were in horrible shape and I spent hours at 2:00 this morning trying to make them look descent.”