A funeral director can be of tremendous help when you need to plan services for a friend or family member, or if you're pre-planning your own funeral. Funeral directors are familiar with just about every part of the funeral process and can often put your mind at ease when it comes to the arrangements, and handle many steps for you. Note a few questions you should probably ask a funeral director when planning a funeral so you know you don't overlook anything.
1. Can a body be viewed before cremation?
Having a standard funeral doesn't mean you can't have a body cremated, and vice versa. Very often a body can be properly stored so that it can be viewed at a funeral, and then cremation can be scheduled afterwards. If you want both a funeral and cremation, talk to your funeral director about what needs to be done to ensure the body is prepared for viewing and for cremation as well.
2. Can a funeral accommodate several different faiths and beliefs?
Very often a funeral director will work to ensure that the wishes of every family member of the deceased are respected, but note that if conflict arises, usually the executor of a person's will has the final say over the funeral itself. There may be other persons that are chosen to have the final word as to a funeral if there is no executor to the will and if there are conflicts; a funeral director may explain why they need to choose someone in particular to have the last word. However, if there is no conflict between family members, a funeral director may be able to easily accommodate a variety of wishes. This can mean having more than one person deliver a eulogy and displaying various religious symbols at the funeral itself.
3. How do you get people to donate to charities rather than send flowers?
A funeral director can advise you on how to direct people to make a donation to a charity in lieu of flowers; this might be included in the obituary placed in the newspaper and in other funeral announcements. They can help you word this direction so that people know how to make donations in the name of the deceased, and so that your direction is polite and respectful and doesn't seem like a demand. If you have any concerns about this type of arrangement, have a funeral director assist.