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Grieving for a loved one is acutely difficult just after the loss. It is not a time when you want to sit across the desk from a salesperson in a high-pressure, time-sensitive situation and make a series of important and expensive choices. You’re vulnerable to making hasty, costly decisions that might not make sense if you had the perspective you’d get by having a little more time.

Funeral homes provide important services, but they are businesses—which means they are typically run for profit and with a goal of maximizing each sale. They make money by selling products and services, some of which you and your family may not want, need, or be able to afford.

The articles in this section of our website review the many choices you have when a loved one dies. To get appropriate services at a reasonable price, you’ll find our ratings of local funeral homes for quality and cost.

You might want to read this when there is no immediate need, to get a frame of reference should the need suddenly arise.

In addition, think about making advance decisions for yourself and your loved ones based both on your expressed preferences and the emotional needs of your survivors. It’s difficult for many people to do, but pre-planning your own funeral is sensible and thoughtful. Your input for the final decisions of your life will be a source of comfort to your survivors.