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Choosing a Funeral Home


How Do I Find a Value-Aligned Funeral Home In My Area?

Finding the perfect funeral home, one that fulfills your every desire, holds you in loving kindness, and does it all for a low, reasonable price? Almost impossible. Should it be possible for every family? Of course! And we’re working hard to create that future.

Today, there are many kinds of funeral homes. And each one has their own policies and priorities. Make sure you know your priorities before you shop for a funeral service, so you can find a provider who aligns with them.

Here is a list of common priorities death positive people have, and the questions to ask the funeral home about them.

Price

You are seeking price-conscious services. The most effective way to save money is to price shop (calling various funeral homes in the area). This is not tacky or disrespectful to the person who has died, and don’t let anyone tell you it is! Another way to spend less is to focus on the disposition of the body, not the services. If you want a simple cremation or burial, there is no reason you should be paying for embalming, viewing space, prayer cards, a fancy hearse, etc.

Questions to Ask

  • What is your price for a simple, direct cremation?
  • What is your price for a simple, direct burial?
  • Are those costs all inclusive?
  • Is there a general price list I could see?

Environmental

You are seeking funeral options that do the least harm to the environment. If this is your top priority, you may be seeking to forgo a more traditional burial for a green burial (without chemical preservation, casket, and vault). Or you may be looking to forgo a cremation for an option like Alkaline Hydrolysis or Natural Organic Reduction.

Questions to Ask

  • Do you offer green burial services?
  • [If no green cemeteries are available] Do you offer an unembalmed burial in a simple wooden casket?
  • Do you offer viewings without embalming?
  • Do you offer carbon offset options for cremation?
  • Do you offer Alkaline Hydrolysis in lieu of cremation?

Transparency

You want a funeral home that operates on high ethical principles. That includes transparency in pricing; determining the price of your funeral should be clear and easy. This also means a funeral home that will explain the processes of embalming, cremation, burial, and what goes on behind the scenes in preparing and caring for your loved one. They are honest about what they are capable of, and whether they can properly accommodate your particular rituals and practices.

Questions to Ask

  • Is your funeral home independently owned and run or is it owned by a larger corporate entity? (Why that is important—begin at 4:20)
  • Does your price list allow us to select only the options and services we want? (FTC’s Funeral Rule)
  • Can we supply our own casket or shroud?
  • Is your staff competent and comfortable with specific religious or cultural practices, preparing and presenting decedents with Black and non-white skin and hair, Buddhist rituals, gender non-conforming presentation, etc?

Involvement

You want to be involved in the care of your loved one. This can range from a home funeral (where you care for the body entirely on your own), to a home funeral with help from a funeral home or doula, to coming into the funeral home to aid in preparing the body.

Questions to Ask

  • Have you worked with home funeral families before?
  • Can we help with the washing and dressing of the body? Hair and makeup?
  • Can I take a lock of hair from my loved one?
  • What if we want to spend time with the body? Are there restrictions, time limits, and fees?
  • Do you facilitate witness cremations? Are there extra fees for this service, and what do they cover? What is the attendee limit?

Locating a Funeral Home


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