Planning a funeral comes with many mixed emotions. For some people, the process itself is an ordeal and not something they want to think about, particularly after the sudden loss of a loved one or family member.
However, by having a funeral director who can sympathise with your current state of affairs, they can offer the guidance and support needed to make the journey a bit easier. Sure, they cannot heal the wounds that are still fresh, but the extra support may be enough to ease the stress and burden.
Before you commit to a funeral home, here are 5 questions your funeral director should ask, which can help you choose the right service.
1. Home or Office Consultation?
Many people find comfort in talking about the funeral arrangements in their own home. It’s also convenient for those who don’t have a safe way of travelling to the funeral home. If the body has yet to be transitioned into the funeral home’s care, having a consultation at home may be more ideal for some.
If the funeral director can visit your home, they should clearly outline if this service will cost extra. They should also arrange a time and place that perfectly suits your schedule.
During the first consultation, talk of the funeral arrangements should occur straight away.
2. Plans for the Service
Whether you’re planning ahead for yourself (or a loved one), or on behalf of someone who has recently passed, any good funeral director should ask about your personal preferences for the service.
Not only does asking one of these 5 questions mean the funeral director is concerned about your needs. It gives you the chance to express your wishes – or if known, those of the deceased – for the funeral.
This simple gesture will allow you to express your wishes on the following details:
- If you want a religious or non-religious funeral
- If you want a burial or cremation service
- If you want a local or imported coffin, casket or urn
- Your preferred location and type of venue (i.e. church, chapel or lounge)
- What special requests you have for the service (i.e. music, floral arrangements, reading and speeches)
- How many people you expect to attend the service
- If any guests need transport on the day
3. What is Your Budget?
Money is a hotly debated topic when it comes to planning a funeral. The topic alone is enough to cause tension in the family and lead to massive disputes. By creating a fixed budget early, this will save you money and heartache in the long run.
But how much will you expect to pay for a funeral?
Cost can range from $4,000 for a basic cremation, and up to $15,000 for an elaborate burial service with music and lavish floral arrangements. If you choose to have a ‘no service, no attendance’ cremation, the cost can easily go down to $1,500.
Regardless of your budget – even if you don’t have one yet – your funeral director should ask questions about this in the early stage of planning. This way, they can come up with a custom funeral arrangement to suit your personal and financial wishes.
4. Would You Like to Prepay or Pre-Plan the Funeral?
If you’re planning a funeral in advance for yourself or a loved one, you should have the choice to either just plan the funeral arrangements or be able to setup a secure payment plan as well.
Don’t be swayed by a director who pushes you into a pre-paid funeral. Sure, there are many good reasons to pay for a funeral upfront – i.e. greater financial security on the family, and you pay today’s cost of the funeral – but this choice should be left up to the individual.
No matter what option you choose, a caring funeral director will be happy to record your wishes and setup a secure payment plan, if you wish.
5. Does the Family Need Grief Support?
Everyone reacts in a different way to the loss of a loved one. Some people are very open with their emotions while other people struggle to find the right words. Feelings of isolation and lack of motivation are a common concern faced by those who’re still coming to terms with it all.
Any good funeral director will acknowledge this hardship and provide bereavement support as part of their services. Either available as one-on-one sessions, over the phone or online, this service is designed to provide emotional support in the lead-up to the funeral and afterwards.
By talking to someone who cares, this can provide a sense of hope to make each and every day a bit easier.