1. Sure, you can store ashes in an urn or scatter them somewhere special, but nowadays you can also have them crushed into a real diamond, integrated into an underwater coral reef, or blasted into space.
2. It’s usually less expensive if the body is not present for the funeral.
3. If the deceased’s favorite outfit is a size too small or a size too big, bring it to us anyway. Part of our job is making the clothes lie perfectly.
4. If I ask you for a photograph of the deceased to help me prepare the body, I don’t mean her honeymoon picture from decades ago.
5. That may be real gold in your loved one’s dental fillings or crowns, but don’t ask me to remove them for you.
6. You don’t need to spend money to have a meaningful service. Consider a potluck at the widow’s home or an informal ceremony at a favorite park, and ask survivors to tell stories or read poetry.
7. Never trust a funeral director who says, “This is the last thing you can do for your loved one.”
8. Always bring another person when you meet with me, ideally someone who’s not as emotionally attached to the deceased.
9. It might be wise to check out just who owns your local funeral home. Corporate chains have bought out hundreds of family-owned funeral homes in recent years, but they often keep the original name, appearance, and even some employees after a buyout. The one thing they usually do change? The prices.
See the full list: 13 Things the Funeral Director Won’t Tell You
Sources: Funeral directors in Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington; funerals.org; and Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance and coauthor of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.