There is no room for regret when fulfilling your loved one’s final wishes. Unfortunately, there have been many families who have suffered the heartache that stems from choosing the wrong provider. The effects of even the smallest mistake can be devastating and cannot be undone.

When deciding on a cremation provider, education and diligence are your best allies.

Don’t assume that all cremation providers are the same.

Just because the type of service is the same, does not mean that you will receive the same level of service. Do they follow a code of ethics? Do they have a tracking system? How can you be sure the cremated remains you receive are those of your loved one? Avoid heartache and regret by taking the time to ask questions and learn more about the cremation process.

Don’t make your decisions based on price alone.

Understandably, we are all cost conscious today, and cremation services should be priced within your means. However, making decisions based on price — and price alone — can lead to regret later on. What’s behind that low price? What does it include, and more importantly, what’s being left out? When a provider cuts corners, it leaves a lot of room for mistakes to happen. Don’t just look at the bottom line; look for the quality you’ll receive for the cost.

Make sure they quote you the complete cost.

Some cremation providers may quote you a low price, only for you to find out later that not all the costs of cremation were included. Make sure they quote you all the costs, including transfer of deceased to the funeral home, professional service fees, care of the deceased, and cremation.

Don’t underestimate the importance of face-to-face contact.

While modern technologies like the Internet help us get more accomplished in our increasingly busy lives, don’t overlook the value of personal contact when deciding on a cremation provider. Before you entrust your loved one into someone else’s care, be sure to schedule a face-to-face visit to meet the staff and inspect the facility. If the crematory is on-site, ask to inspect it. Look to see how the provider handles the details. Is the facility clean? Well-organized? Do they take the time to explain the process to you? An in-person visit and inspection can help make you feel more confident about your decisions.

Remember to ask about guarantees.

The cremation itself is an important, emotional event that has to be done right the first time. When a cremation provider truly believes in the services they provide, they will offer some sort of guarantee. Be sure to ask if your cremation provider offers one and have them explain it to you in detail.

Don’t overlook the importance of a gathering or memorialization.

While direct or immediate cremation (a cremation without any gathering or service), is an option that some families choose to take, many people later regret the decision. That’s because holding a gathering or ceremony allows both family and friends an opportunity to express their grief, share their memories, and allows them the chance to say goodbye in a meaningful way.

The choice of cremation also offers a variety of ways to honor the life of your loved one. From burials to scatterings, butterfly releases to monuments, a life can be celebrated as uniquely as it was lived.