Important Questions to Ask a Funeral Director

If your loved one just passed, or if you’re pre-planning a funeral or cremation for yourself or someone else, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask your funeral director.

The first is how you know that the ashes you get back with be that of your loved one, or if it’s for you, how can I be assured that my family gets my ashes back?  Speak to your funeral director and make sure you feel comfortable with his or her answer. Many funeral homes have tracking systems to ensure that the cremated remains you receive back are that of your loved one. However, some don’t have any process or procedure in place. If you do not feel comfortable with the funeral director’s answer to this question, dig further and ask additional questions, or visit with a funeral director at another funeral home.

The second question is how will your loved one be returned to you? Many funeral homes return your loved one in a simple plastic, wood, or metal container. If you’re ok with this, fine, however, many prefer that their loved one is not simply placed in the “standard” funeral home container after cremation. If you’re of this mindset, buy a cremation urn ahead of time and provide that to your funeral director. Make sure the remains are placed in this urn after the cremation and you receive the cremated remains of a loved one back in this urn.

A third question is timing when will I receive my loved ones cremated remains back? This is something that can help provide closure for families, and, since a cremation is done in a few hours, getting the remains back within a few days is not unreasonable. However, timing depends on how busy the funeral home and cremation provider are at the time of your loved one’s passing.

Another question is related to the memorial – how will I memorialize my loved one or how do I want to be memorialized? It’s a good idea to ask your funeral director what memorial options for cremation he or she knows of and what their funeral home can offer. It’s also a good idea to go online and review the various options that may exist that your funeral director may not be aware of.  With the jump in cremation, there has been a recent surge in the various memorial options that are available. This includes The Living Urn, a bio urn and planting system that’s growing in popularity and allows you to plant your loved one’s ashes with their burial urn and grow a memory tree. 

Another option is to scatter the remains in your loved one’s favorite place. There are many scattering tubes on the market, however, a new option that was recently introduced called Eco Scattering, is a sleek, eco-friendly way to scatter.  In addition to these options, there are also artists who are creating various decorative urns, and glass and jewelry makers who can incorporate your loved one’s cremains in to their memorial products. Bottom line is that the key for any memorial is that it’s fitting for your loved one and fits within your or your family’s budget.