I lost my husband to cancer of the appendix in April of 2015. I had been a member of the local chamber of commerce in Riverside, Illinois, and chose a funeral director that I knew because he was president of the chamber. When I called him at 6 A.M. the morning after my husband’s death. It was pretty obvious that I woke him up. Yet, he was cheerful. He told me to come over any time after I was showered, and he would have coffee waiting for me. From the moment that I explained the type of arrangements that I wanted, he didn’t ask me any questions. He took the entire awful process out of my hands, and everything went very smoothly. When my parish priest refused to accommodate the time I was requesting for the ceremony, he even called another Catholic church and arranged to have the ceremony there.
As part of the services offered by Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors, I often have arranged funerals for my clients if I am named as the senior’s Power of Attorney for Health Care. In a case I was involved with recently, my client had pre-arranged her own funeral, but was very confused as to what she had purchased. I called the funeral home and asked a representative to come out to explain the contract. I shared the contract number with her and asked her to be prepared to explain any charges that still needed to be paid, and to bring the necessary paperwork.
The funeral director showed up half an hour late to the meeting, claiming that she thought it was a half an hour later. In addition, she muddled through some kind of explanation as to why my client needed to sign some burial insurance form in order for the contract to pay, then proceeded to tell me she brought the wrong paperwork. Faxed or scanned documents were unacceptable, so this resulted in having to set another meeting to sign them.
Upon my client’s passing, I had to go to the funeral home to sign the final documents. When I got there, I was ushered into a conference room where a power point presentation with my client’s name on it was flashing on a screen. I was then met by a completely different funeral director, who proceeded to start the power point presentation. I stopped him and said, “This isn’t necessary, my client’s funeral was prepaid.” He said, “Oh you are right.” In addition, they had not charged for death certificates, so I had to pay for them out of my pocket. Upon her death I no longer had access to my client’s funds. I requested to view the burial crypt. I was informed that there were too many funerals being conducted that day, and they couldn’t grant my request. This resulted in my having to back to the funeral home again. I was forced to deal with the original salesperson who made all of the mistakes the first time. As I was about to leave, I realized that the plate that was to cover the crypt had not been designed. When I asked her about it, she left the room and got the paper work. I said to her very curtly, “Do you realize that forgetting this would have caused me to come back here a fourth time?” She said, “I deal with so many people, I can’t remember everything.” Responded, “You have been a source of stress, not comfort.” The only thing this place did right is that they didn’t ask me to Identify the body. I only had to describe a distinctive body characteristic. Choose your funeral director wisely!