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Tips For Choosing A Funeral Home

Updated on December 7, 2011
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Common things included in package pricing

Casket (Rental or Purchase)
Casket floral arrangement
Service location (Typically 4 to 5 hours, seating, etc)
Dressing your loved one (Including make up)
Storing your loved one (until service date)
Your speaker (usually religious clergy)
Your support team (several employees)
Registry (guest book)
Prayer cards (Keepsakes)
Thank You cards
One line Obituary in paper
All equipment (microphones, etc)
Urn (If cremating)

*My location included a dvd made up of 60 pictures, that I selected, of my Prince's life that was played on a loop at his service. They gave it to me after. It is one of my favorite things.


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What to expect

The death of my young sweet husband threw me into a world that I knew nothing about. Having taken advantage of our youth and our young marriage, we never made time to prepare ourselves for this kind of situation. I am writing this hub to, hopefully, help someone in their journey. I feel that if I had known a little about the industry centered on death, my own quest may have been a bit easier. As the next of kin, a bit easier can be a God send.

I want you to know that death is a business. Just like any other business out there, funeral homes offer different services with different fee structures. This is very important to know. I really believed that the prices would be comparable or that the industry has standard pricing guidelines. You just picked the place and moved on. Well, that was not the case at all. Thankfully, I am a bit analytical and looked at a couple of different places before selecting my husbands funeral location. One very important thing to note is that you usually have some time before having to make a selection. It is not something you have to rush to do the same day this nightmare started for you. The decision will have to be made soon, but not that day.

I looked at two locations on separate days. I was looking for a place that he would choose himself. I didn't expect the vast differences in pricing for the same services. I loved the first location but the second location offered the same services for half of the cost. I really didn't like the place, so I decided to go back into the place that I liked and that is when I learned that even this is negotiable. I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have to negotiate services for my husbands funeral, but I did. I was able to get the place that I liked better for the price of the other one. That made me happy because I know that my Prince would have preferred it.

Funeral services can range in price from about $2,000 for a person that wants no services all the way up to an unimaginable price, so keep your budget in mind. It is natural to want to give your loved one the best of everything but that is better left for the living. Someone should not mortgage their house to pay for a funeral. Here in Central Florida, it is easy to spend between $5,000 and $7,000 thousand dollars on a modest service. The difference is caused by the location, whether the casket is rented or purchased, and what you plan to do with the remains (burial or cremation). The package pricing will not include everything unfortunately.

Things not typically included

Photographer
Videographer

Burial plot
Vault
Opening and closing the plot (even when storing an urn in a wall)
Headstone

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Choices, Choices

The price of your service can increase dramatically when you start adding things. Like everything else in life that you purchase, you will have the choice to purchase the basic line of products or 'upgrade' until you are at the 'luxury' line. You can get the red and white carnation casket arrangement or for an additional ? hundred the red rose and tropical white orchid arrangement. Some locations even offer a banquet option. You can get the basic casket or look at 5 or six other levels that increase the cost by thousands. One casket was gorgeous. It looked Ivory and they put a picture of the deceased old woman on the inside with some words. I loved my husband so much! These beautiful things he more than deserved, but honestly this was just his shell. He was not going to look at it smile and thank me. As much as I would have wanted to shower my husband with roses, he was no longer here to enjoy them and what would become of them after the service? Perspective is hard during this time, but you have to keep it with you.

Unfortunately, burial expenses are not included in most packages and they are equal in cost to the service. If you are using a cemetery, the expenses can start at about $2,000 and increase with your choices. Like the service, the features you choose can increase in luxury and price. I remember seeing a beautiful headstone that had a bench and an angel. It was amazing and perfect. It was also $30,000. It is basically a $30,000 grieving seat. He had no use for it. You make your choices with respect to the person you are memorializing and the budget. It is very important to note that everything you choose will have to be PREPAID. Most locations only offer prepayment for prearrangements. That means that no one has died yet and are making payments beforehand.

The Ugly Truth

Here is the morale of the story. This process is negotiable. By visiting different locations and getting prices in writing, you may be able to get more of what you want for your loved one at comparable prices. At this point, saving thousands is not even the point. It is more about you being able to even afford to go thru this at all.

For more support during this difficult time...

Moms-Secret
How to be the Next of Kin...Part 1

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    • Moms-Secret profile image
      Author

      Lissette 5 years ago from Central Florida

      On ombudsman... What a great idea. A non-biased person not employed by any funeral home. A neutral third party. That would help protect so many people. Very nice comment Vicki. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 5 years ago

      Hello moms-secret, you and I have had such similar experiences! The funeral home part was one of the worst things, and I discovered too that it is just a business, except that you are so overcome with grief and confusion that you are very vulnerable. Like you, I was fortunate enough to be able to think what my husband would have wanted, and knew anything but the basics would have been NOT what he wanted! This was very freeing for me, and I was able to stand up to the pressure. You almost need some type of ombudsman at this time!

    • Moms-Secret profile image
      Author

      Lissette 5 years ago from Central Florida

      This is not an easy thing. I am sorry for the loss, it is always a journey for those left behind. I can't tell you how much it means to me that this may have helped you...

      Get written quotes, they will help in your negotiations.

    • profile image

      Janey 5 years ago

      My grandfather just died and we aren't sure yet the best way to choose among the salt lake city funeral homes (ex. http://www.memorialutah.com ). We want the best for him as always. Thanks for your advice on how to find the best funeral home.

    • Moms-Secret profile image
      Author

      Lissette 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I had forgotten about this hub. It has been a long time since I wrote it. I am amazed at how together I sound considering at that time I was not.

      It is amazing that you chose to stay at the house and that you were revisited.

      Bless your heart Collin for sharing so much of yourself with me.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ......I buried my mum and dad's ashes together in the front yard here of our family cottage overlooking the lake for eternity. They built this cottage back in 1956 and I came along in 1958 so no doubt I was conceived here. It has always been a family summer cottage - just the three of us until my dad died from cancer in 1992 and my mum from old age in 2004. I had looked after my mum during the last years of her life and I had to make a decision between our apartment at the time or moving up here to the lake (with a hour commute back to work)

      so I moved up here with my cats and it's been the best 8 years of my life.

      Incidentally I have been visited by my mum 6 times now in the last 2 years - she keeps moving things around. Just a little history for you.

      This must have been a very tough hub subject for you to write about Lissette. I admire you so much for your strength and your courage - and your resolve to move forward with your life - and yes its better to have loved in life then not to have loved at all.

      Sending you warm wishes from lake erie time ontario canada 7:09pm while listening to bossa nova music and drinking chai tea

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