Funeral Homes


When a loved one passes away, family members often turn to a funeral home to help them make final arrangements. Individual preferences for funeral plans and interment vary widely, so funeral directors work closely with families to plan a customized religious service, memorial, wake or other tribute to honor the deceased. These arrangements also provide an opportunity for surviving family and friends to gather to pay their respects, reminisce and grieve.

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To find a funeral home near you, search the Funeral Home Directory. A representative will assist your family with making funeral arrangements. This service is provided free of charge.

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Funeral Home Services

In addition to arranging the funeral itself, providers also sell burial and cremation goods, complete and file a great deal of paperwork, and tend to other aspects of the process. Funeral directors typically strive to personalize arrangements so that they are in accordance with the decedent’s wishes and those of their family. If a funeral home does not directly provide certain requested services, the director should be able to coordinate them with another provider or give you a referral.

The list below details the various services that funeral homes typically provide.

  • Preplanned arrangements
  • Prepaid arrangements
  • Transportation of the decedent to and from the funeral home
  • Personalized assistance with planning religious, military, non-denominational, or fraternal services or a celebration of life.
  • Paperwork (certificates of death, permits and other authorizations)
  • Obituary composition
  • Cremation services
  • Communication with clergy, officiants, musicians, and other funeral participants
  • Assistance with VA burial benefits and paperwork
  • Embalming, casketing and other preparations
  • Funeral song selection
  • Interment goods (urns, caskets, headstones, plaques and other monuments)
  • Assistance with selection of interment location (cemetery, mausoleum, cremation garden, etc.)
  • Memorial products (prayer cards, tribute DVDs, a register book, etc.)
  • Professional coordination and direction of all services

Get a Funeral Planning Checklist to make sure all aspects of a service or memorial are covered.

How to Pay for a Funeral

End-of-life arrangements can get pricy very quickly, depending on the goods and services that a family selects. These things are out-of-pocket expenses that are paid by the decedent or their surviving family members, but some financial assistance may be available for eligible veterans and/or individuals who had low income. The list below provides a few different ways of funding funeral arrangements as well as programs that can help defray costs.

  • Cash, Check or Credit
  • VA Burial Benefits and Allowances
  • Life Insurance Policy Death Benefits
  • Prepaid Revocable or Irrevocable Trusts
  • Funeral Loans
  • SSA Death Benefits
  • The Deceased’s Estate
  • Burial Insurance
  • “Payable on Death” Accounts or Totten Trusts

Funeral Costs Near You

Costs vary according to the type of memorial service and interment desired, any products selected or required for burial or cremation, and the geographic location where services and interment take place.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the average cost of a funeral and burial for an adult was $7,181 in 2014. This total includes a basic services fee, transfer of remains, embalming, casketing, cosmetology, dressing, grooming, a metal casket, use of facilities and staff for viewing and a funeral ceremony, use of a hearse, use of a service car/van, and a basic memorial package of memorial cards, register book, etc. With the addition of a vault, which most cemeteries require, the average cost increases to $8,508. Keep in mind that this number does not account for things like cemetery fees, the cost for a monument or marker, flowers or an obituary.

The NFDA estimates the average cost of a funeral and cremation in 2014 was $6,078. This includes the same services listed above as well as a cremation fee, cremation casket and urn. However, this cost does not include charges for a vault, niche, or cemetery monument or marker.

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Choosing a Funeral Home

When selecting a funeral home to preplan your final arrangements or arrange services for a loved one who has passed, there are a few important things to keep in mind. You and your family should feel as comfortable as possible when making these difficult decisions. Below are some tips to use when making a selection.

  • Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Funeral Rule grants consumers a number of rights when choosing a funeral provider. Brush up on these to make sure you do not get pressured into a purchase at such an emotional time.
  • Set a budget. It is important to know what products and services are required and how much money you can afford to spend. If a loved one has passed, check to see if they had made prepaid arrangements or set aside money specifically for their final expenses.
  • Shop around It is your right to discern which provider you wish to use. Request goods and pricing information in the form of a General Pricing List (GPL) from multiple sources in order to make an informed decision. You can even choose to purchase an urn or casket from a wholesaler or other retailer and the funeral home must accept these supplies without charging you additional fees.
  • Purchase only what you want. You do not have to accept expensive product and service packages that might include goods you do not want or need. You have a right to buy individual goods and services.

To see the complete guide on how to select a funeral home, read "Funeral Planning Pointers."

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