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Important Questions to Ask Funeral Directors

A funeral director plays a vital role in a loved one’s death care services. Here are 8 questions we’d ask funeral directors to find the right one.
Important Questions to Ask Funeral Directors
Important Questions to Ask Funeral Directors

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Choosing the right funeral home really comes down to choosing the right funeral director. After all, they are the ones who set the tone for the whole funeral home and the services that are provided. The funeral director is also the person that the family should be interacting with the most, so it’s critical that you have a good working relationship. 

But how do you know if you’ll work well with a funeral director?

It’s about more than knowing the service selection and prices. There are some important questions you can ask funeral directors to make sure you find a professional that you feel comfortable with and can trust. As a funeral director with years of experience on the other side, here’s what I would ask if I was arranging funeral services.

How long have you been a funeral director?

This question is another way of asking how much experience a funeral director has in a measurable way. Becoming a funeral director requires special training, but many aspects of the job are learned over time. If the person hasn’t been a funeral director long, ask about their prior experience. They may have spent time in a related field that gives them unique skills or capabilities other funeral directors don’t have.

What do you and your funeral home prioritize? 

Is the funeral director’s priority providing fast, affordable services? Or does the funeral director pride themselves on highly personalized funerals that require extra time to coordinate? 

Here at Cremation.Green my priority as funeral director is providing thoughtful eco-friendly funeral services that families may have difficulty finding elsewhere in the area. A funeral director’s priorities tell you a lot about what you can expect working with them and how well they’ll be able to meet your specific needs. 

You want to make sure that the funeral director’s priorities align with your own. When you’re both on the same page about what’s most important things should go more smoothly. 

Is your funeral home family-owned or part of a franchise?

This may seem like an odd question, but the answer is going to influence how the funeral director works. When you’re looking at family-owned vs corporate-owned funeral homes the funeral director of the former has more flexibility in most cases. It’s usually easier for the director to honor special requests at a family-owned funeral home. At a corporate-owned funeral home the director’s hands may be tied if they have a set procedure that must be followed. The procedures are set by the corporate executives who usually need to provide approval if you want to do something different. 

Can you personalize the funeral services?

A next logical question is directly asking about the director’s ability to personalize funeral services. You will likely be told that it depends on the request, but the funeral director may let you know that personalization isn’t possible. If personalization is possible, it’s best to follow up with a few other questions:

Is approval needed for personalized services? This could be the case if the funeral director needs to get approval from an owner or executive board. 

Is personalization included in the cost of the funeral service? Some funeral services are all-inclusive while others are limited in their scope. Personalization could be possible but only for an additional cost.

How quickly can you complete the funeral services?

This question not only tells you the timeline that the funeral director works within, but it can also open the door to discussing their process. If you need or want the funeral services completed quickly this is an essential question to ask. Some funeral homes are in high demand and there could be a short wait before cremation, burial or natural organic reduction occurs. 

Can you perform a burial or cremation on a certain day that I choose? 

Given that funeral service costs can easily be thousands of dollars, it’s understandable for a family to want to choose the exact day for the cremation or burial. Some funeral directors can make that happen while others will say they can’t promise anything. Often the timing is simply going to depend on if the funeral director is already performing services for another family.  

Can you provide references?

Sure, you could look up the reviews for a funeral home online, but that’s not as effective as asking directly for references. How the funeral director responds to this question really matters. A funeral director that maintains good relations with past clients can provide references upon request, which is a very good sign. Anyone who simply directs you to online reviews isn’t really providing a reference or fulfilling your request.  

How do you prefer to communicate?

Communication is critical for time-sensitive events like funeral services. Miscommunication can cause delays or add to the expense. Worse is when the funeral director doesn’t communicate in a style that resonates with you personally.

How They Talk – We all verbalize what we are thinking in different ways. From the words that are used to the tone, how a funeral director talks to you matters even when it’s on the phone. 

How They Keep in Touch – Today there are a lot of ways to communicate. You can talk in-person, by phone, text or email. It’s important to know which method a funeral director prefers and whether it’s going to work for you. 

Above all else, a funeral director should be respectful at all times. They should be sensitive to the fact that the family is going through a difficult experience and express genuine concern for the family’s well-being.  

Want to talk about eco-friendly funeral services? I’m available to discuss how as the funeral director of Cremation.Green I can help you arrange services that are eco-conscious, respectful and affordable.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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