Table of Contents
- 8 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Cremation Provider
- Does the provider offer full-time grief support for my family after I pass away?
- What happens if I pass away when traveling? Or if I relocate?
- Does the cremation provider offer preplanning?
- How many years has the provider been in business?
- How does the provider ensure availability at the time of need?
- Is the package or price all-inclusive?
- How much money does the provider have in trust?
- How much do final arrangement services cost?
- 3 Reasons Preplanning Is Important
Choosing the right provider for end-of-life arrangements can make a huge difference during the time of need. If you’re preplanning your own cremation, then you want to know that the provider will be around to provide excellent service in the future. If you have lost a loved one and need assistance, then you want to deal with compassionate, professional providers who can help you through this time. These 10 factors can help you choose a cremation provider you can count on.
8 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Cremation Provider
When you speak to or research a cremation provider, seeking answers to certain questions is a great way to find out whether they are a trustworthy and quality provider. Here are 10 things you should ask or research before opting for any cremation provider.
1 Does the provider offer full-time grief support for my family after I pass away?
A provider of end-of-life arrangements must be able to support grieving loved ones in a number of ways. Primarily, the cremation provider is there to help your family ensure any wishes for arrangements are attended to and that the process is as efficient, stress-free, and cathartic as possible. That’s why you want to ensure a professional, seasoned provider who has worked with families in all types of situations.
At the same time, some family members may need support beyond the cremation service process. Cremation providers are not usually grief counselors, though the staff at Neptune Society is always compassionate and understanding. To further support family members who may be grieving, Neptune Society offers two programs that go beyond the cremation service.
- The 12 Weeks of Peace is a complimentary weekly email series available to any family or friends who want to sign up for it. It provides a consistent source of information and comfort for those who are dealing with grief. The 12 Weeks of Peace is available to all members of the community, not just Neptune Society members and their families. We believe grief support is a crucial aspect of the healing process, and thus have created this educational e-mail series for anyone struggling after the loss of a loved one.
- The Compassion Helpline is a complimentary toll-free hotline provided to the families of our members. Professional grief counselors are available any time day or night to speak with loved ones who are dealing with a loss.
2 What happens if I pass away when traveling? Or if I relocate?
This is an important question if you are preplanning your final arrangements, especially if you are planning years in advance. During the time between planning and the time of need, your situation can change. You may move out of the provider’s service area later in life. You might pass away while traveling abroad. It’s important to know how your plans may change in such a case and what your family may need to do to ensure your services can be rendered.
3 Does the cremation provider offer preplanning?
Not all providers accept plans and payments for future services. Ask potential providers if you can lock in today’s rates for future services for peace of mind and potential cost savings. Neptune Society specializes in cremation preplanning services.
The ability to pay now for services rendered later means that you are likely to pay less for those services. Just planning ahead isn’t enough; you might be able to document all of your wishes so your family will follow them, but prices change over time and a plan doesn’t protect you against rising costs. At Neptune Society, you can sign an agreement for services and make payment arrangements so you pay now and lift the burden from your family in the future.
4 How many years has the provider been in business?
A provider with longevity is a provider that can offer you the most peace of mind. If a company has been in business 20-30 years or more, then you know they are stable and are likely to be in business in the future. This is critical when planning ahead, especially if you’re paying for cremation services now for a future need. You want to make sure there’s little chance the company will go out of business or change its services so drastically your planning is no longer relevant to them.
5 How does the provider ensure availability at the time of need?
If you’re preplanning, then you’ll want to know that your family can easily reach your provider, no matter when the time of need occurs. Ask your cremation provider:
- What should your loved ones do at the time of need? Does the provider have a checklist, document, or website that offers guidance?
- What are the hours of operation of the provider? Is there a method of contact after hours? Will someone answer that method, and if not, how long will it take for a call or message to be returned?
- Who should your family call and via what number?
6 Is the package or price all-inclusive?
Some family members of preplanning individuals begin working with a provider based on an advertised price for services, but that price can be misleading. The advertised price might only cover some very basic services, so the cost seems very low; once you being working on a prearrangement during a conference, the provider could try to sell you add-ons, overcharging for those items to make up for the low advertised price.
To ensure you understand exactly what you’re getting for your payment, ask questions such as:
- What does the advertised price include (ask to see a General Price List)?
- Is the advertised price a package price?
- What types of things may be necessary or desirable that aren’t included in the initial price?
At Neptune Society, costs are upfront and transparent. There’s no hidden cost or pushy upselling during the prearrangement process.
It’s also good to know that the law actually requires that funeral and cremation providers give clients a written document detailing prices. If a provider seems hesitant to disclose full details regarding pricing, take that into account when making your final decision.
7 How much money does the provider have in trust?
This is often a question that individuals don’t think about asking, but it’s critical if you’re preplanning your cremation. How else do you know that a provider is going to have the resources in the future to provide the services you just paid for? The answer is that the provider should hold a certain amount of money in trust to cover future needs. Holding money in trust means that the funds are deposited into a special account and they are not removed except as required for a specific purpose (in this case, to render the services that were planned for in the past).
8 How much do final arrangement services cost?
Cost is often a factor for families or individuals who are preplanning their own final arrangements. For families who are dealing with loss, there may be a feeling that spending more ensures that their loved one is properly honored, but that is not necessarily true. In fact, many people do not want to burden their families with extensive costs (which is one reason preplanning is popular), and more money does not always mean your loved one is appropriately remembered.
Cremation offers affordability and flexibility for families, which is one benefit of choosing this option. Cremation itself is typically less expensive than traditional burial, and because cremation affords families more time for planning, memorial services can also be held in a way that is more cost-effective.
At the same time, the professionals at Neptune Society caution families and individuals who are preplanning not to go with the lowest priced provider without doing further research. First, the lowest advertised price doesn’t always include everything required for the desired final arrangement. Second, the lowest price may not be associated with a provider that is stable and professional.
By asking the questions above and any of your own questions as you research and talk to cremation providers, you can ensure that you choose a trustworthy, professional company. Doing some work now means that you can enjoy peace of mind about your decision in the future and that your family will deal with someone who offers caring, comprehensive services.
3 Reasons Preplanning Is Important
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing a provider for final arrangements. It can be difficult to consider all these factors at the time of need, both because time may be short before action is required and because the person making decisions on the matter may be dealing with grief, shock, and loss. Preplanning can ensure that you have enough time to consider all the important elements. Here are a few other reasons preplanning your cremation is important.
1 Ensuring your wishes are carried out
Preplanning puts you at the helm of your final arrangements. All of the big decisions, and even many of the smaller decisions, about your final arrangements can be made by you. First, you can decide whether you want to be cremated or buried, and you can make sure those services are paid for and well-documented so family members can carry them out at a later date.
Second, you can choose your final resting place or disposition, whether that’s scattered across your own backyard, resting in the Neptune Memorial reef, interred in a niche in a local cemetery, or resting in a beautiful urn that can be displayed in a loved one’s home. You will have to ensure that any final wishes regarding your ashes fall within the laws of the location in question. Laws also change, so if there’s a chance the law could interfere with your decisions, you may want to record a “plan B”. Your cremation provider also can’t enforce some of these types of wishes, so you may want to consider including them in estate planning documents too.
2 Removing future burden from loved ones
Preplanning your cremation removes a future burden from your loved ones. At a time of grief, family members are often tasked with making what are enormous decisions about the final arrangements of their loved one. Even if you’ve discussed the topic, during such a stressful time, it may be hard for family to remember or come to agreement on what your wishes were. Once they do that, they still have to figure out who to reach out to, make all the arrangements, and pay for the services. The burden of dealing with such matters if no preplanning was done can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining.
When you preplan, you can remove much of the financial burden. Only cash-advance items will need to be paid for at the time of need. With the right level of preplanning, you can even set aside funds in your estate for that purpose, making the financial burden on loved ones close to or literally zero.
Deciding for yourself and ensuring loved ones have a professional provider to turn to can significantly reduce both mental and emotional stress, both of which have a role in how much physical stress a person may feel.
3 Locking in a more economical price
Finally, preplanning lets you lock in what is often a more economical price. As with all other prices, the cost of cremation and other final arrangements is more likely to go up over time than it is to go down. At Neptune Society, you can lock in the prices that are relevant today during the preplanning process. No matter how the prices change, your paid-for services are guaranteed without any added expense to your family or estate.
Preplanning is a great way to provide yourself with some peace of mind through the years, and by asking the right questions during your search for a cremation provider, you help ensure that peace of mind is appropriate. Neptune Society has offices across the country and has served hundreds of thousands of families with dignity and compassion. It also offers a number of packages to meet various needs, works with individuals on preplanning, and prides itself on transparency, simplicity, and honesty.
For more information on how Neptune Society can serve you in your time of need or for information on preplanning for your own final arrangements, download our free guide for additional information on the preplanning process.