We would like to thank our guest blogger Kevin R. DeFriest of Moloney Family Funeral Homes for taking the time to discuss important issues to consider when making final arrangements for a loved one or yourself. If you should have any questions regarding the information posted in the blog please feel free to contact our office. If you would like to speak to Mr. DeFriest he can be reached at 631-588-1515.
”I don’t know where to start”
For most people, planning a funeral is an unfamiliar process. It is important to select a good funeral home that offers the services and pricing that are appropriate for your family’s beliefs, values, and budget.
We have prepared this simple and straight-forward guide to make the process easier for you, and to help you make the most informed choices. Of course, we will also be happy to answer your questions and offer any assistance you might need to help with your decisions. We hope the following ten steps listed in this guide will help you plan the most appropriate tribute to your loved one – or yourself.
1. Do not wait until someone is ill:
Although everyone knows that preplanning for funerals is a good idea, people often put it off. They think, “I’m still young,” or, “I don’t want to think about that right now”. However, the best time to plan is when everyone is still healthy. You can give it the time and attention it deserves and then go on enjoying life.
2. It is not enough to put your funeral wishes in your Will:
This is because Wills are not read until after the funeral. It is also not enough to simply mention your desires to your children or spouse. Family members can either forget or disagree with your choices. The only way to be sure your wishes are carried out is to plan your funeral in detail with the assistance of a funeral professional who can keep your specific choices on file. When the time arrives, your family need only make one telephone call, and all arrangements will be in place.
3. Do not base your decision solely on price:
Many times, families gathering information on funeral costs make a decision because of a low price. While it is very important to stay within a predetermined budget, it is also important to completely understand exactly which services are offered and which you really want. While making this decision, be sure to consider the trustworthiness of the funeral home, the quality of the facilities, and the experience of the staff. You might receive a much more satisfying service for only a few dollars more.
4. Do not price compare without knowing what is including and what is not:
When people shop they often fail to compare the same services and merchandise at each firm. If a casket has the same name, they will assume it is the same quality when often there are different levels of quality. The most confusing part is when families compare service charges and think one funeral home is a lot less when actually the firm with the lower service charge may charge more for the casket and other merchandise. Always compare the bottom line and find out what is included and what is not.
5. Do not do all of your shopping over the phone:
It is not uncommon for people to “call around” to many funeral homes, asking about prices for specific services. But a funeral is a serious, important event, and sometimes price is not the most important consideration. Do your shopping in person as well. You should want to inspect the facility, and meet the people who will be making the arrangements for your loved one. When you visit a funeral home in person and meet the staff face to face, you will be more comfortable and feel more secure in your decisions.
6. Ask about guarantees:
A funeral is a series of small events, each one carefully planned. If the planning is inadequate or faulty, the emotional impact on family and friends can be severe. Professionals understand how important it is to carry out each detail flawlessly, and they generally offer a satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to ask about this, and request that the funeral home explain it to you in detail.
7. Do not assume every funeral home is a cremation expert:
If you or your loved one has chosen cremation, it is important to ask specific questions about how the funeral home handles the process. Will you be allowed to witness the event if you desire? Do they abide by a code of ethics? Do they offer a large selection of commemorative items (such as urns or mementos)? Be sure to ask the funeral professional to explain the entire process so that you understand all the steps – and the costs – you will encounter.
8. Do not overlook how the funeral home manages the details:
We believe that a funeral should be as unique as the individual. Today, most funeral directors offer ways to tell the story of the life that has been lived, through services such as memory tables, tribute videos, commemorative items, symbols that honor military service, memorialization jewelry, and much more. Personalizing the service makes the event more satisfying and memorable for everyone.
9. Do not fail to consider the reputation of the funeral home:
Not all funeral homes are the same. A qualified funeral professional will take time to discuss the variety of options available. You will need to know that the funeral home stands behind the services and products they offer. An established firm with a strong reputation offers peace of mind in knowing that all the details will be carried out as planned. A funeral is one of life’s major events, so it is important to have it taken care of by people you can trust.
10. Do not forget to ask what they will do for you afterwards:
The best funeral professionals truly care about the families they serve, and believe that their responsibility to you continues long after the funeral. When selecting a funeral home, ask about the services they provide when the funeral is over. They are there to direct you to local resource centers that can assist you with the necessary documents and certificates. Service may also include referrals to grief counselors and support groups, memorial services on special days, follow-up visitations, literary resources, and much more.
IT IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
This is why planning a funeral in advance is such a good choice. It is an important decision – one that can lead to a healing experience and the creation of cherished memories that last a lifetime. The alternatives are many and varied, but they do not have to be difficult, and they do not have to be beyond your means. Make sure you are comfortable with the funeral home, staff, and services you are considering, gather all the information you need, and plan the type of service you want.
Do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help.