Whether you are pre-planning a funeral or a death has just occurred, you will need to find the right funeral home for your needs.
When pre-planning, all of the steps we have suggested below will likely be necessary. Take your time and move through them at your own pace to ensure you are making the right decision, bearing in mind that things can change if your passing occurs some time after your selection. In case of this, it’s helpful to hold onto your notes and to have a few options chosen for your loved ones to select from.
If a death has just occurred, you may find yourself short on time or overwhelmed with the task and your own emotions. When that is the case, you can reduce the time and effort of choosing a funeral home by either asking for help from others and comparing your notes or simply focusing only on the most critical priorities and doing quick phone interviews with 2-3 options to choose the right one for you. Overall, the most important factor in choosing the right funeral home is that you get supportive, personalized service that respects your requests and your budget.
Here are the steps we recommend working through to choose the right funeral home for your needs:
- Consult with your loved ones. Determine a budget and where the funds will come from before you begin contacting funeral homes so you do not end up in a situation where you choose the services and then need to find the money to pay for them. It is also important to discuss the details with your family before getting started. Do they have preferences about the type of final arrangement? If you are planning for a loved one, did they leave any final instructions? Have arrangements at a certain funeral home already been prepaid, perhaps years ago? Be sure to look for any documents that will help in the decision-making process before going forward.
- Decide on your priorities. Consider who will attend the funeral, where they will be traveling from, if you will need to be close to a place of worship or cemetery if you have specific religious or cultural requirements and the size and scope of the venue you will require. For some families, their priority is convenience, some it’s to honour religious or cultural traditions, and for others, it’s about the best price. The right funeral home for your family should be chosen based on your most important priorities, which will also determine if your budget fits your needs and will take you to step #3 – Choosing your arrangement type.
- Choose the type of arrangements you need. Most people have some general idea of the type of final arrangement they prefer, though some families may not have discussed this prior to a passing. Though these decisions can often include a lot of emotions, the arrangements you choose will need to consider your budget and priorities so they are realistic and in alignment with what you can afford and need, rather than exclusively being based on wishes and preferences. You may choose cremation or burial, to have a funeral reception, celebration of life or no service, or to choose a simple casket over an elaborate casket. These choices are yours to make based on your personal wishes (or those of the deceased), budget and priorities.Whatever you decide, write down your wishes in detail. The arrangement choice is the biggest factor in helping you determine the best, and most reasonably-priced, funeral home for your needs, so you’ll want this information handy when taking the next steps.
- Compare your options. Depending on where you live, your options may be limited. In Calgary, there are numerous funeral homes to choose from, so this step is where you will need to start narrowing down your choices. Check the websites and reviews of a few local funeral homes that meet your overall needs for size, location and service offerings. Once you have found options that work for you, call them to ask additional questions and to get general pricing information. Here are a few questions to consider:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you a locally owned, family-run business?
- Are funeral services handled in-house or are they outsourced to vendors?
- What kind of packages do you offer?
- What are the basic costs for my needs and what additional expenses might be incurred?
- Which professional services are included in the costs quoted and which are extra?
- Can I customize the funeral service? Are you able to accommodate my specific requests?
- What are my payment options? Are you familiar with my insurance plan and how it can be used?
- How and when can I contact the funeral home? Are you available 24/7?
- Visit some funeral homes. If time permits, you may want to save some of the questions above for in-person meetings with the funeral home. Current public health regulations may also limit the ability to meet at the funeral home in-person unless a death has recently occurred. Regardless of how this step is handled, the purpose is to determine if the funeral home and the team who runs it are going to be a good fit for you and your loved ones. Are they helpful, compassionate and seem to be looking out for your best interests? Whether over the phone, a Zoom call or in-person, connecting with the funeral homes is about making a final decision on the right funeral home for you based on the team and facilities you will be working with.
Once you have made a decision on the funeral home you would like to work with, be sure to write down your wishes and share them with the loved ones who will be in charge of taking care of your final arrangements. If you are planning a funeral for someone who has just passed away, you can proceed with a planning meeting with your Funeral Director to get the arrangements in progress.
Remember that planning a funeral can be a difficult and emotional process, so if time permits, take it slowly and make a selection that suits your needs and budget. It’s a good idea to have a friend or family member to discuss these details with so they can help you to ensure you are not making emotional decisions. When planning a funeral for a loved one who has already passed, you may find yourself overwhelmed and emotional. The right funeral home for you will put you at ease, provide the right services, support your needs and will respect your budget and any special requests you may have. Look for a local funeral home with a great team and you will find that you have the right services to fit your needs and make the process of planning final arrangements as easy and cost-effective as possible.
If you are in need of guidance, support or more information to plan a funeral, please reach out to us at (403) 274-0576 and one of our Funeral Directors will be happy to discuss your needs with you.
You can also read our blog on Pre-Planning to learn more about arranging your funeral ahead of time.
If you are planning a funeral now, you may find our blog article on How To Plan A Funeral helpful.