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Published: May 13, 2020
by Joy Herndon, Director

When preparing to make a purchase, we all shop around. We visit different retailers, check prices and gather as much information as possible. The price of the purchase normally dictates the amount of research we do, right. Small purchases we may check a couple different places, Walmart versus Amazon. Larger purchases, like vehicles, we take our time. And check several dealers. We also ask a lot questions…

When pre-arranging your funeral, the same amount of time and thought should also go into it. There are several decisions to make. Some things to consider…

Service Providers in Your Area – If you have not been to visit your local funeral home, make an appointment and GO. Check out the facility and staff. Or next time you have to attend a service, notice the different elements like the parking lot, lighting, cleanliness, technology, lounge, kids room, restrooms... Also pay attention to the staff and how they treat the family and visitors. Is this a place you would want your family?

Service Types –  Just as with a vehicle purchase, when we begin shopping, we already have an idea of what we’re looking for…car, truck, SUV, Van, work truck… Speak with your family and decide the service type you’re looking for…Full Traditional, Cremation with or without Services… But, be open minded to change. Your research may highlight some services you were unaware of, or change your mind with what's best for your family. 

Service and Burial Location – Do you have a church you want to hold the services? If not, the funeral home facility plays a more important role in the decision. What about a cemetery location? If you still have to purchase a plot, that added expense affects the total cost of your decision. When you buy that new car, you already know where you are going to park it, right?

Helpful Questions to ask the Director – With other purchases, we ask a lot of questions. We want the details and fine print. When shopping for a pre-arrangement, we have the following suggestions...

Many funeral homes offer packages. We bundle the most popular services and merchandise and offer the complete package at a set price. Ask about what’s included in these PACKAGE prices:

***Is the casket gasketed (sealing casket)?

***Does the price include a wake the night before?

***Does the price include use of the funeral home?

***Is opening and closing the grave included?

***What about a stationary set…register book, video tributes…are these included?

***Are any Cash Advance items included, or what is the add-on charge (Certified Death Certificates, flowers, obituaries…)

It is also important to ask about hidden fees and transfers:

***Is there a credit card processing fee?

***Do you charge an Insurance Assignment (processing) Fee?

***Will I get the full value of a burial policy or existing pre-arrangement transfer?

Take your time and gather as much information as you are comfortable with. The goal of pre-arranging is to ease the emotional and financial burden on your family. A thorough plan can protect your loved ones from added stress. 

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