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Although many people don’t think about funeral homes until they need one, the best time to choose a funeral home is when you have time to research and consider your options. Whether you’re planning ahead or have an immediate need, considering a few key factors will make it easier to find the right partner.


Planning for end-of-life and coping with loss can be difficult, so it’s important to choose a funeral director you feel comfortable with. Your funeral director will be by your side – whether you are recording your personal wishes, making important decisions, or recognizing your grief. It’s important to be comfortable with your funeral director’s style and approach.

Three relationship factors to evaluate:

  1. Responsiveness. How quickly and thoroughly the funeral home responds to your initial inquiry may give you a sense of the type of support you would receive from them.
  2. Fit. You should feel comfortable with the funeral director and funeral home staff. Whenever possible, visit the funeral home to meet with the funeral director personally.
  3. Recommendation.  Ask your family or friends if they can recommend a funeral home based on a recent experience they’ve had.

Services and Amenities

Ask questions about the types of services, support and amenities the funeral home offers. If you haven’t made those decisions yet, ask the funeral director to tell you about the types of arrangements, services and facilities they offer.

Five things to think about:

  1. The type of disposition you prefer (cremation or burial) and related items (casket, urn, burial marker, etc.).
  2. The type of service you prefer and how the funeral home will work with others (such as a church or reception venue).
  3. Specific religious, ethnic, tradition-based or environmentally conscious preferences.
  4. Accessibility options for older or handicapped members of your family.
  5. Proximity to your home (or your loved one’s home), place of worship or cemetery.

Price vs. Value

As with any product or service, there are options available to you at a variety of price points. If you or your loved one haven’t planned ahead for funeral expenses, it can be tempting to price-shop or choose the lowest cost. Just remember: you tend to get what you pay for and you only have one opportunity to honor your loved one in this manner. It’s worthwhile to invest in a funeral director whose primary focus is delivering the best possible experience for your family.

A good funeral director:

  • Will take the time to understand your preferences, needs and budget before making recommendations or quoting a price.
  • Will do more than just the basics. He or she will answer your questions, handle the details and make things easier during a difficult time.

We Can Help

Not all funeral homes are the same, so how do you know you’re working with a reputable partner? If you are looking for a funeral home in New York State, consider a member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association. That’s an important distinction, because NYSFDA members are compassionate professionals committed to upholding a code of ethics. Find an NYSFDA member funeral home.

Additional Resources