Kim Godfrey, funeral director, Cache Valley Mortuary 

The right time to find the best funeral home for you or your loved one is when it’s not needed. When a loved one passes away, the search for a funeral home is often quick. Family members are distraught and may simply use the nearest funeral home or one that has been suggested by a friend.

The difference between funeral home A and B can mean the difference between spending hundreds to thousands of dollars more for the same services. Here are five things to think about ahead of time to help you choose the right funeral home for you.

1. Consult your family and decide on a budget. Have you and your family discussed a budget that is affordable for you? Shopping for a funeral should be like making any major purchase: Know what you can afford before you start shopping. Consider you and your family’s preferences about the type of final arrangement. If you are planning for a loved one, consider their written instructions (if they have them). Be sure to look for any documents that will help in the decision making.

2. Learn about your funeral rights as a funeral consumer. Briefly, the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule affirms your right to:

  • Call and get price information over the telephone.
  • Receive a written, itemized price list when you visit.
  • Buy only the goods and services you want.
  • Choose not to have embalming.
  • Use an alternative container instead of a casket for cremation.
  • Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn bought elsewhere without incurring additional fees.
  • Get a written statement after deciding what you want, but before paying.

3. Weigh your priorities. Consider if your priorities lie in location, price, tradition, religious or cultural requirements or simplicity. Determine what matters most to you to narrow the options.

4. Get a list and compare prices. Call a few funeral homes and get their prices for your chosen arrangement. Every funeral home is required by law to make available a general price list of the services and products they offer. Ask for a copy so that you may compare the pricing with other funeral homes in the area. Many funeral homes offer a packaged selection — this may help reduce your overall out-of-pocket costs or they may charge more.

5. Make a decision and put it in writing. After thoroughly evaluating information, write your wishes down to ensure they will be carried out. This will allow your loved ones to act on your behalf. Just as you keep your will and financial documents updated, you should review and update your funeral and cemetery plans.