Pre-Planning Advice

When planning a funeral, you have many options available. There are also decisions to be made, often during a difficult and emotional time. Whether you have recently lost a loved one or are considering prearranging your own funeral service, your local PFDA funeral director is dedicated to providing personal and ethical care and support.

More and more people are planning ahead for their own funerals for many reasons. They may want to relieve their surviving spouse or other family members from the emotional and financial burden. Pre-need planning also assures an individual that all the arrangements will follow their personal wishes.

General Tips

  • Be an informed consumer. Don't be reluctant to ask questions.

  • Today's there are a variety of options to meet your financial needs and wishes. Be sure to discuss all available options before making a decision.

  • When selecting a funeral director, choose one who is licensed and has a good reputation in the community. PFDA's Member Directory is a good place to start.

  • Be prepared! Avoid the burden of making decisions while under emotional stress by organizing details with your funeral director ahead of time. Remember...preplanning doesn't necessarily mean prepaying.

  • Plan a personalized ceremony or service to help you begin the healing process. Getting through grief is never easy but having a meaningful funeral or tribute will help.

Do's and Don'ts

  • DO ask a family member or friend to sit in on any meetings.

  • DO ask all sales persons to identify themselves, the company they represent, and what services they are selling.

  • DO ask for a phone number and business card.

  • DO ask the salesperson for permission to tape record your conversations.

  • DO make a list of questions to ask, and take notes.

  • DO read over any contract carefully before signing. Have a trusted advisor - such as your clergy, attorney, banker or accountant - look over the document with you first.

  • DO make certain that everything promised is put in writing and attached to the contract, including your right to change your mind and cancel the deal within three days.

  • DO ask for explanation of anything you're not sure about, written in plain language that you understand.

  • DO find out exactly what is covered. If you buy a casket, vault and cemetery lot, you will still require the services of a funeral director.

  • DON'T agree to make payments until you know the rate of interest and the total amount you will pay. Ask if you can get your money back if you change your mind. Find out if there is a withdrawal penalty and how much it is.

  • DO find out the name of the bank or insurance company that is acting as the trustee of the plan. Ask if your funds are protected and transferable.

  • DO keep a copy of any contract you sign in a safe place that your family knows about.

  • DO be cautious. When purchasing a pre-need plan, a licensed Pennsylvania funeral director is usually the best source. Ask to see the license.

  • DON'T take the word of a salesperson that says they are affiliated with "ABC Funeral Home." Call the funeral home and check.