The question of how to choose a funeral home can weigh heavily on family and friends when a loved one has passed. Not only will that funeral home be a place they will spend long days when they are grieving, but choosing the right funeral home can help lift some of the burden from loved ones as they grieve.
But how does one choose the right funeral home? What questions are important to ask, and what qualities should you look for in a funeral director? Keep reading to learn more about choosing the right funeral home in Pennsylvania.
How To Choose a Funeral Home
In many ways, choosing a funeral home is like choosing any other business. You want to be able to trust them, know they’ll do what they say, and that they’ll charge a fair price. Like other due diligence actions, it’s smart to check references and reviews.
We think it’s important that your funeral home is active in the local community. Bateman-Allen Funeral Home has two funeral directors: Eve, whose grandfather founded Bateman Funeral Home in 1950, and Charles, who joined the business in 2020. Charles is a Penn-Delco community native and is active on the Brookhaven Recreation Board. He’s also involved in Brookhaven Family Days and the Better Brookhaven Project.
What Is a Funeral Director?
A funeral director is someone who oversees, directs, and coordinates all aspects of funeral planning. They are the main contact for family when a loved one has passed and are both a source of information and comfort during one of life’s most difficult experiences.
In order to be a funeral director, a person must pass certain requirements and hold a license. In order to be a funeral director in the state of Pennsylvania, a person must have completed two years of academic work at an accredited college or university and one year in a resident internship. They must also pass two exams, pay licensing and renewal fees, and complete continuing education classes each renewal period.
But these requirements are just the beginning. When you are deciding how to choose a funeral home, you also want to understand who your funeral director is, and how they interact with those they serve.
For example, we believe it’s important that we are both compassionate and professional. We believe in being accountable to those we serve while also being available to listen, comfort, and counsel.
We believe in being honest and firm. The truth is that sometimes funeral directors have to deliver news that is not easy to hear. Doing so honestly but kindly is always our policy. We are thoughtful and empathetic, but we will never mislead or sugar coat.
We believe these “soft skills” or people skills are just as important as any other metric when it comes to providing excellent service to those we serve. We believe in family and have been trusted to help thousands of families over the past several decades, and we never take that trust lightly. We strive to continually earn it every single day.
Another vital, but sometimes overlooked, quality of a good funeral director is their attention to detail. Not only is it imperative to truly listen to families and those planning services; but it’s important to be organized and detail-oriented. There are countless details and tasks that go into the planning of a service, and there are myriad tasks to do to ensure that a family can carry on after the death of a loved one. Things like ordering the right number of death certificates, knowing the intricacies of a veteran’s service, or understanding how different religious beliefs can dictate funeral practices are just a few things that expert, professional funeral directors handle.
Questions to Ask a Funeral Home
If you’re stumped about how to ask the right questions to determine if a funeral home is the best choice for you, here are a few to get you started:
Who will I work with during funeral planning and then after services are over?
Can you tell me the difference between a funeral and a celebration of life service?
Why do you do this kind of work?
How long have you been doing this?
Do you have a price list?
What kinds of services do you provide?
What organizations do you belong to?
Can you help me customize a service?
Why should we choose you?
You can also prepare for a meeting with a funeral home or funeral director by talking with your family and deciding who will be the main point of contact. That person can keep track of information and ask most of the questions, even though other family members can be there for moral or logistical support.
Other things you can do to prepare include bringing and pre-planning notes your loved one left and bringing a list of details that are important to you or your family. That list might include specific readings you want at the service or certain songs you’d like to be played at the funeral.
Remember that we are here for you and your family and we’re always happy to answer questions or offer support. We understand how stressful dealing with the death of a loved one can be, and we consider it an honor to serve you during this time. Please never hesitate to reach out with questions or to ask about our services.