LANSING, MI (WLNS) – We told you last week about a funeral home in Flint that was shut down after investigators discovered shocking conditions inside.
Swanson Funeral Home was forced to close it’s doors after investigators found a garage infested with maggots, where unrefrigerated bodies were being kept. They pulled the credentials for the funeral home’s manager.
When you hear stories like this, it can be hard to trust the next funeral home you deal with; 6 News is here for you with a look at what you can do to make sure this never happens to you or your family.
Although death can be a sad and scary event to think about, it’s something everyone should prepare themselves for, and that includes setting money aside right now to plan for any funeral or burial expenses.
That just happens to be one of many things experts say you should do before writing a check to a funeral home.
Experts say your search should start with word of mouth. Ask your local church, pastor, nurse, or hospice specialist for a recommendation. Many of those individuals deal with funeral homes on a daily basis.
Find a funeral home that’s been around for a long time; One that has a good reputation, with the owner and operator in house and not out of state.
Once you do that, get online to verify the home’s license by checking out the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
Checking on a business’s license is an important step according to LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau Director, Julia Dale.
“Look and review the status of their license,” Dale said. “If it’s an active license, again they can review to see if there’s been any disciplinary history and when.”
You can also check the Michigan Funeral Director’s Association to see if the funeral home is a member of the association. If they are, experts say that’s a plus.
Your next step should involve visiting the home, according to Allen Jensen.
Jensen owns several funeral homes in the local area. He’s also the former president of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association.
“Look around the funeral home to see that the furnishings are well-kept, funeral home is clean, that it smells good, phones are ringing,” Jensen said.
He said this step is also a very important one to take:
“Probably the best part of this is to find a funeral home that you’re comfortable with and start a dialogue with them,” he said. “Communicate with them, talk to them, let them know what your situation is and I think you’ll find most funeral homes will be willing to work with people.”
And while a shutdown funeral home in Flint is sure to cause concerns, Dale says not to worry.
“We are going to continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in this state to the highest standards both public health and safety when it comes to providing these final arrangements during this really difficult time,” Dale said.
Something worth mentioning too is that our government offers benefits for veterans and their spouse when it comes to funeral arrangements and burials.
In addition, be sure to talk to your funeral home about any special services they may offer, especially when it comes to finances.