Whether pre-planning a funeral or planning a funeral immediately following a death, the selection of a funeral home is generally one of the first and most important decisions made.   Choosing a funeral home to handle the memorial service, burial, or cremation of a loved one is often an overwhelming process that involves finding a provider, along with deciding how and where the burial and funeral will take place. There are numerous factors that go in to choosing a funeral home, including location, religion and culture, price, level of comfort, and the services being offered.

Understanding Funeral Homes

When beginning the funeral home search, it is important to be informed of the services that will be provided and the various roles that the home will be fulfilling. The funeral home director, appointed by the funeral home is responsible for collaborating with the family to arrange the funeral and memorial services, coordinate with the cemetery, and assist in the selection and purchase of any products.

Families are often presented with options and will need to make a number of difficult decisions. As such, it is important to be aware of and familiar with the The Funeral Law which governs funeral homes and provides guidelines and protections to consumers. The Funeral Laws are federally regulated laws that require all funeral homes to provide an itemized list of separate goods and services containing their individual costs. This law allows families to select only the services that meet their unique needs and desires. A family should seek to find a funeral home that can meet all of their needs.

Choosing a Funeral Home

There are many at-hand resources a family can use to find the right funeral home. Families may want to seek out help from clergy or recommendations from family and friends, help may come by word-of-mouth, or they may even use a straightforward Google or Internet search. It is often helpful to compile a short list of possible funeral homes and compare their services and pricing to find the one that best meets the family’s needs.

Scheduling an in-person meeting or a phone call with  funeral home directors can provide the best opportunity to ask questions, get a general feel for the funeral home’s approach and understand how it is operated. This is also the time to obtain a list of services offered and their corresponding prices. Preparing a list of questions in advance of the meeting or call may help with further qualifying the funeral home. This research may also help to alleviate pressure felt while making arrangements. Finding a funeral home that can be relied upon during this difficult time is essential.

Factors to Consider

There are many considerations to take note of when choosing a  funeral home. Arranging funeral and memorial services after the loss of a loved one may be an overwhelming decision and responsibility. Below are a few recommendations to consider during the process of searching for and choosing a  funeral home.

  1. Location. A primary step in choosing the right funeral home is to decide where, geographically, to begin your search. Generally, the selected funeral home is located relatively close to the cemetery site of the burial, though they need not be adjacent to one another. Many funeral homes operate their own cemetery, so understanding any direct affiliations with a cemetery and the location is important. Some families may want their loved one to be buried near the current residence of the surviving family members, while others may want them to be buried in the deceased’s birth city. This decision can be made by a designated family member or can be reached by consensus of the family members involved. In some instances the deceased may have a pre-planned or selected location in a will or trust, in which case a decision need not be reached. For assistance choosing a funeral home in a particular geographic location, visit our Funeral Home Directory.
  2. Religion and Culture. Depending on the upbringing of the deceased and/or the family’s cultural or religious background, it may be important to consider the religious traditions that a funeral home may observe.  If the family chooses to hold a funeral according to a particular religion, it is essential to verify that the funeral home is aware of and has experience with those traditions, rituals and practices.. Referrals by friends, clergy, churches, parishes, and/or local synagogues are great resources to obtain qualified information about funeral homes in the area.
  3. Price. Funeral and memorial services can vary drastically in price, depending on the chosen options. During the first meeting with a funeral home, the family should request a quoted price for each individual requested service. If the family does not feel comfortable about the pricing, it is common to compare the received quotes to those of other funeral homes. This can ensure that the family is comfortable with the pricing and that all services are in the appropriate price range.
  4. Comfort Level. It is essential that the family of the deceased is comfortable with how the funeral home operates, and especially with the funeral director. The family should not feel pressured to make arrangements that were not in their original plans, or add additional services that they do not feel are unnecessary.
  5. Goods and Services. Often, funeral homes will provide an extensive list of options for funeral/burial goods and services. These services can include embalming, cosmetology, a viewing, graveside services and cremation, among many others. It is up to the mourning family to decide what customs and traditions are followed, though similar to the location, the deceased may have requested certain services in a will or trust. Each of the specialty services offered are highlighted on the individual listings on the Funeral Home Directory.


Funeral Home Directory

Finding an appropriate funeral home to handle the memorial service and burial can be a sensitive and overwhelming process. Visit our funeral home directory to view qualified resources in your area.

View our Funeral Home Directory

Additional Resources

 What is a Funeral

Types of Funeral Homes

Planning for Cremation