How to Choose a Funeral Home

When choosing a funeral home, it’s important that the funeral home you choose can meet all your needs and accommodate your particular wishes, and has experience planning the type of funeral you'd like.

Most importantly, you should feel comfortable with the funeral director at the funeral home. Your first meeting with a funeral director is an opportunity for you to ask questions, learn more about the services offered, and get a general sense of what the funeral home in question is like. Cost is another consideration, and it’s okay (and can be a good idea) to comparison shop if you feel uneasy about quoted prices. And if you’re not sure where to start, but you know what cemetery you want to use, consider asking the cemetery for their recommended funeral homes.

Funeral home requirements

Before you begin looking for a funeral home, think about what, if any, requirements you may have:

  • What city should the funeral home be located in?
  • Do you want to work with a funeral home that is religiously or culturally affiliated?
  • If you’re planning a cremation, do you want to work with a funeral home that operates its own crematory?
  • If you’re planning a burial, do you want to work with a funeral home that operates its own cemetery?

Questions to keep in mind when choosing a funeral home

The main factors to take into consideration when choosing a funeral home are:

  • Your level of comfort: Do you feel like the funeral director understands the type of funeral you want and is committed to helping you achieve your vision?
  • Goods and services: Does the funeral home offer the goods and/or services that you’re interested in purchasing?
  • Pricing: Does the funeral home offer affordable goods and services?
  • Amenities: Does the funeral home have the type of facilities you need, such as handicapped bathrooms, a private holding room before a service, etc.?
  • Religious and cultural considerations: Does the funeral director understand your religious or cultural needs? Has the funeral home ever prepared a funeral according to your religious or cultural customs?

To find a funeral home, use our resource Guide: Finding a Funeral Home.

Your first meeting with a funeral director

Your first meeting with a funeral director (sometimes referred to as an "arrangement conference") can take place in person—either at the funeral home or at your own home—or over the phone. This initial meeting is an opportunity for you to ask questions, learn more about the services offered by the funeral home, and get a general sense of what the funeral home in question is like. The funeral director should be friendly, courteous, well-informed and compassionate. You may have many questions and requests, and the funeral director should listen attentively and provide answers.

Personal advocacy when choosing a funeral home

At no point should you feel pressured into making any arrangements that make you feel uncomfortable. While some people may opt for embalmingcosmetology, and a viewing or wake, others may simply want a graveside service or a direct cremation; all of these are valid options, and at no point should you feel that the funeral director is pressuring you to add on unwanted services.

How to find a funeral home

From Google to online directories to asking friends and family members, there are many ways to find funeral homes in your area. Once you’ve determined what your criteria are for a funeral home, you can begin to make use of these resources to find potential funeral homes. Ask friends and family members about any funeral home experiences they’ve had, look at funeral homes’ websites, and search for local funeral homes using online directories. More and more, funeral homes reviews are appearing on customer review sites, such as Yelp and Angie’s List, and those might be helpful resources as well.

For help finding funeral homes in your area, use our resource Guide: Finding a Funeral Home.

As you talk to people and do online research, it’s a good idea to keep a list of the funeral homes you come across, as the next step in choosing a funeral home is comparing funeral homes.

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