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Death Care Sample Post: Funeral Home Services 101

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This 1,043-word funeral services sample post was written by BlogMutt writer Grace S. In this sample, Grace draws on her experience writing for the healthcare and hospital industries to write a comprehensive guide to choosing a funeral home. As a high-ranked level 7 writer with BlogMutt, Grace has been preferred by clients in the medical, legal, and design industries. With help from BlogMutt's 3,000+ writers, you can craft compassionate and accurate articles for your funeral home business. 


 

During the time following a family member's death, emotions run high, grief takes hold, and time seems to stand still. The bereaved sometimes find it difficult to take the steps that are necessary following the loss of a loved one. The details and legal matters involved in the death and the emotional distress that comes with the aftermath are often monumental.

man places flower on gravestone during funeral service

Selecting a funeral home is unquestionably one of the most crucial decisions for those who remain and is usually made based on the home's proximity to the family, the recommendation of a trusted individual, or because it has served the family during the decedent's lifetime.

Choosing a Funeral Home

Though it may seem somewhat insensitive, many families may have to decide on a burial that is within their financial means. When families are forced to choose a funeral home, services, types of burial, and monuments that are within their means, it is much less challenging to make these choices before the need for the funeral occurs, according to the Federal Trade Commission

The FTC offers other suggestions for those deciding on the funeral plans:

  • A funeral provider is required by law to show you a general price list (GPL). The file must include the cost of the services and the items the home offers. If the record does not cover the costs of coffins or other burial containers, the director must show you the prices before he or she shows you the items.
  • Funeral directors must reveal the cost of all services and items on the telephone.
  • Some funeral homes offer packages that include all that is necessary for the different types of burial arrangements. These packages can sometimes be less expensive than buying the individual items or services. "Package funerals" must also include an itemized price list.
  • Local funeral homes, in many cases, are owned by national corporations. You have the right to ask if the location is locally-owned or not.

Planning Ahead

The most loving way to handle your funeral, writes Christine Colby for The New York Times, is to plan your funeral while you are still living. Doing so takes the burden off the ones you love.

Alexandra Kathryn Mosca of Hellenic Funeral Home in New York says:

Families can concentrate on the funeral without financial worries, and the person who made their own arrangements has made their last wishes known.

Every state has regulations and laws, so check locally to ensure your wishes are possible. Pre-need planning includes:

  • Making choices between being buried, cremated
  • Deciding on a religious funeral or a more uncomplicated memorial service
  • Choosing the clothing and jewelry in which you are to be buried

How to Pay for a Funeral

You can lock-in prices if you purchase a "guaranteed plan." "Non-guaranteed plans" do not freeze prices. Monthly payments in both cases are not paid to the funeral home, but to outside life insurance policies or trusts.

Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, added: 

Only do it when Medicaid says you have to. There is no consumer benefit to locking your money up in an irrevocable account 25 years before you know whether you even need Medicaid.

Burial Alternatives

Environmentalists, those concerned with space constraints, and other modern individuals who watch the multitude of dilemmas of our world are pushing to explore new ways to "bury" others. In the future, men and women will be looking for funeral services that differ altogether from the traditional burial customs.

Stephanie Pappas of Live Science reports on some of these different choices, including:

Resomation

A funeral home in St. Petersburg, Florida, is offering this manner of cremation. The process is call resomation or "bio-cremation."  The deceased has his or her tissues dissolved, not burned. The system uses heated water and potassium hydroxide to liquefy the body. The only part of the body that is left behind are the bones which are then cremated (burned) and given to the family.

This method is more environmentally sound than cremation, less energy-intensive, and sterile. Currently, the St. Petersburg funeral home is the only location in the nation offering this service.

Natural Burial

Mark Harris, author Grave Matters, A Journey through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial, says there are approximately 50 natural cemeteries in the US now, with many more in traditional cemeteries that have sections for natural graves. This procedure is a cost-effective and environmentally-conscious modern method of burial.

As Harris says:

You're actually benefitting the environment. You're allowing the body to rejoin the cycle of life.

Eternal Reefs

Individuals who want to nourish the environment after death are choosing cremation. Then they have their ashes formed into a concrete and ashes orb that is released into a coral reef. In places where reefs are diminishing, the eternal reefs orbs are restoring them, attracting fish and improving the underwater habitat.

Cryonics

This process freezes bodies in hopes that, as medical science improves, they will be able to be revived. Cryonics is a costly procedure, however. Approximately, two-hundred people were in cryonics storage as of August 2011.

Other Opinions on Pre-Paying for Funeral

Caitlyn Doughty and Amber Carvaly run a funeral home in Los Angeles, California, called Undertaking LA. They are set apart from other more traditional funeral homes in several ways:

  • Offer simple, inexpensive cremations
  • Support family members who wish to assist in preparing their loved one's bodies
  • Allow family to be present during the cremation process
  • Arrange burials in natural, green cemeteries
  • Are honest and transparent about fees

Caitlyn and Amber want to use their combined knowledge to guide families through a "kinder and more nourishing death experience." These two women want to be an expert resource and an example of how simple a funeral process can be. The like for the families they serve to focus on self-care and "celebrating the life" of their loved ones.

Undertaking LA offers what they call "Pre-Arrangement". This plan allows people to fill out any necessary paperwork now so when death comes, the family and loved ones can concentrate on the service and self-care.

For more information about funerals, go to Funeral Consumers Alliance for advice on being fully prepared and protected when planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one.

 

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