How to make choosing a funeral home easier

Losing a loved one can be a very strenuous emotional and financial time. During this difficult time, family members can get lost in the details and expenses of planning a funeral. On average, funerals cost families between $5,000 and $10,000 dollars and are one of the most expensive arrangements families make.

David Wolf, general manager and retired military, Routsong Funeral Home and Cremation Services, says, “When you’re planning a funeral, you want it done with compassion and taken care of by an experienced professional. Price is one thing, but service trumps price when someone passes away. A funeral is a one-time event, celebrating the life of someone you care about. You don’t want mistakes or negative memories.”

Better Business Bureau wants to help you get through this rough time by offering a few tips to make the process easier.

Tips for pre-planning a funeral:

• Create your will, especially after you have children. Without a will, the state will make decisions for you. Having all your wishes in writing will reduce your loved ones’ stress.

• Set a budget after visiting multiple funeral homes. Ask each for a General Price List, which breaks down the cost of each service the business provides.

• Make sure the funeral home has the proper licensing.

• Save copies of all signed agreements.

Tips for planning a loved one’s funeral:

• Remember funeral homes offer a variety of package plans, however the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule, allows you to buy only the goods and services you need. Do not feel pressured into buying a specific package from a single home.

• Do not let your emotions cause you to overspend.

• Research your state’s funeral laws. Understanding what services are required and which ones are optional can save money.

• Keep in mind the funeral provider must not refuse or charge a fee to handle a casket or urn you bought elsewhere.

• Tour the facility before you decide. Funeral home staff should be willing to show you around as part of your consultation.

• Do your research. Be sure the website is professional and up-to-date. Information should be readily available and credible. Check online reviews left by former customers. Be sure to check the BBB website for a list of BBB Accredited funeral homes and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. Visit or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

• Get everything in writing. The written statement should describe in detail all the services you are purchasing and include any extra fees.

Planning a funeral for a loved one is never easy. But, doing a little homework can make a tough time a little easier.

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

About the Author