The Prime Buyer's Report

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Prime Buyers Guide Funeral Homes and Funeral Services

How to Find the Best Funeral Homes in Sonoma County CA

When a loved one dies, grief can overwhelm the survivors. Arrangements for funerals, cremation, interment or memorial services are often too difficult to manage personally and so are best left in the caring hands of reliable funeral homes, funeral planners and mortuaries in Sonoma County.

The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best funeral providers in Sonoma County and issues related to funeral services.

Updated December 20, 2013

 The TOP 10 Funeral Homes and Funeral Services in Sonoma County CA

Santa Rosa Mortuary
(707) 542-3154
1540 Mendocino Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Redwood Memorial Gardens
(707) 869-2842
1700 Pleasant Hill Rd
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Redwood Coast Mortuary Service
(707) 539-7616
507 Carriage Ct
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Duggan's Mission Chapel
(707) 996-3655
525 W Napa St
Sonoma, CA 95476

Fred Young Funeral Home
(707) 894-2540
428 N Cloverdale Blvd
Cloverdale, CA 95425

Daniels Chapel of the Roses
(707) 538-5020
1225 Sonoma Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

Adobe Creek Funeral Home
(707) 789-9000
331 Lakeville St
Petaluma, CA 94952

Areas Served: Petaluma, Santa Rosa CA, Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Healdsburg, Penngrove, Monte Rio, ...

Pleasant Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary
(707) 823-5042
1700 Pleasant Hill Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Parent-Sorensen Mortuary & Crematory
(707) 763-4131
850 Keokuk St
Petaluma, CA 94952

Areas Served: Santa Rosa CA, Petaluma, Sonoma, Sebastopol, Penngrove, Cloverdale, Rohnert Park

How to Find the Best Funeral Homes in Sonoma County CA 

Some funeral services have been licensed as required by law, but others have not been.  That's because although the State of California does license and regulate funeral homes, funeral directors, cemeteries, and cremation services as protection for the consumer, it does not do so for those operated by religious organizations, cities, counties, cemetery districts, the military, or Native American tribal organizations.

But all funeral services, including those not looked at by the state, which bear The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 designation have passed all requirements for Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 status such as verified client satisfaction, hiring only documented workers, verification of required licenses, proof of liability insurance for your protection, clean complaint record, and more.

 


Funeral Homes in Sonoma County Perform a Variety of Services
There is so much to consider when choosing between funeral homes in Sonoma County. Depending on how large or small of a service you are seeking, the choices and prices can vary widely. Planning a funeral or memorial service requires coordinating myriad services, filling out paperwork, contacting friends and family, scheduling, gathering of relevant and necessary documents and more, all while in the process of grieving.

To avoid having to make difficult decisions during a time of great stress and emotion, many are now pre-planning memorial services. Some funeral homes in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa offer discounts or locked-in prices for making and paying for funeral arrangements ahead of time. Should you choose this, it's a good idea to review your decisions every few years and revise them accordingly.

Rules for Funerals in Sonoma County CA
While most funeral directors and/or funeral providers have the best interests of their clients in mind, some try to inflate prices or push unwanted services on their clients during their time of need. There is a federal law, known as the funeral rule, that helps prevent this. Among other things, the funeral rule states that:

• You have the right to choose the funeral goods and services you want (with some exceptions).

• Funeral providers in Sonoma County must state this in writing on the general price list.

• If state or local law requires you to buy any particular item, funeral homes must disclose this on the price list, with a reference to the specific law.

• Federal law requires funeral establishments to quote prices over the phone and to give you a General Price List (GPL) and a Casket Price List (CPL) when you ask in person about arrangements and prices.

• Funeral establishments are legally required to give you an itemized statement of your choices in funeral arrangement, including estimates for costs that are unknown at the time. The statement must also show charges for outside vendors arranged by the funeral provider such as music, flowers, newspaper notices, fees to clergy, etc


• Funeral providers may not refuse to handle a casket you built or bought elsewhere or charge fees to do so.

• The law does not require the purchase of a casket before cremation. Funeral providers that offer cremations must make a combustible cremation container available.

• Funeral providers may not provide embalming services without permission.

• Funeral providers may not falsely state that embalming is required by law.

• Funeral providers must disclose in writing that embalming is not required by law, except in certain, special cases.

• Funeral homes in Sonoma County may not charge a fee for unauthorized embalming unless embalming is required by state law.

• Funeral providers must disclose in writing that you usually have the right to choose a disposition, such as direct cremation or immediate burial, that does not require embalming if you do not want this service.

• Funeral homes in Sonoma County must disclose in writing that some funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing, may make embalming a practical necessity and, if so, a required purchase.

• Funeral providers in Sonoma County must not tell you that state or local law requires a casket for direct cremations, because none do.

• Funeral homes must disclose in writing your right to buy an unfinished wood box or an alternative container for a direct cremation.

• Retail casket sellers are not allowed to arrange funerals or cremations or perform any other functions requiring a license as a funeral establishment.

• California law requires retail casket sellers, when beginning any discussion of prices, to give customers a written price list of all caskets, alternative containers, and outer burial containers normally offered for sale and the price for each. In addition, if customers ask for the list in person or by phone, the retail casket seller must give them a written statement identifying caskets or containers by price, thickness of metal, type of wood or other construction, and by interior and color.


Some Funeral Services in Sonoma County Are Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these funeral homes in Sonoma County: Pleasant Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary, Duggan's Mission Chapel, Santa Rosa Mortuary, Fred Young Funeral Home, Adobe Creek Funeral Home, Daniels Chapel of the Roses, Redwood Memorial Gardens, Redwood Coast Mortuary Service, Parent-Sorensen Mortuary & Crematory, Neptune Society. Other funeral homes and funeral providers in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa CA that might still be in business include: Chapel of the Chimes-Cemetery Mausoleum Crematory, Memorial Park Santa Rosa, Lafferty & Smith Colonial Chapel, Windsor & Healdsburg Mortuary & Cremation Service. Didn't find what you wanted with the TOP 10 Funeral Homes and Funeral Services in Sonoma County? Then click here to see additional companies in this category.

 

 

 

Choosing the Right Funeral Home in Santa Rosa for you 

Know What You're Looking for from Sonoma County Funeral Homes
Hopefully, when you find yourself needing the services of a funeral home, you will have some idea of what you are looking for. Do you want the funeral home to handle paperwork and other arrangements? Do you want an expensive casket or something more affordable? Do you want burial or cremations? Some funeral homes specialize in different aspects of funeral services. Some offer alternative choices such as scattering the remains in unique places or ways. Some offer "green" funerals in which the remains are not embalmed and are buried in caskets that biodegrade quickly. Much of this can be researched on the Internet and other sources.

Use the list of questions below to help narrow your search.

• How long have the funeral directors been in the funeral home / undertaking business?

• What are the funeral homes' fees, broken down by individual services?

• Can the funeral homes provide forms for a newspaper obituary?

• Can the funeral homes provide a viewing without embalming?

• Do the funeral homes provide funeral services such as flowers, clergy, music, catering, etc.?

• What are your options at the funeral homes regarding cremation, burial and final disposition?

• If the body is donated to science, will the funeral homes still provide funeral services?

• Who does the embalming at the mortuary?

• How long after death is embalming necessary and can the funeral homes guarantee they'll be available?

• Is an obituary in the newspaper required?

• What are your options regarding time of service at each of the funeral homes and mortuaries?

• Do the funeral directors have suggestions for personalizing the funeral services?

• Can the funeral homes help with social security or veteran's death benefits?

• Will the funeral homes allow you to payments to pay for the funeral services?

 
It's very important that you work with a funeral home that you feel you can trust and makes you feel comfortable. Consider your first impression, beginning with the first phone call. Did you get a person, or an answering service?  Was your initial impression that you were dealing with competent professionals?  Did you feel respected and accommodated?   If you were offered a consultation, did you feel at-ease with the funeral director/provider?  Were you able to speak freely with him or her?

Probably one or two names will rise to the top of your list after you have considered these things.

First Impression of Funeral Homes
Good funeral providers will listen carefully to what you're saying and will ask relevant questions. If the employees at the funeral homes seem to only want to get you in the door, or try to make you sign an agreement without hearing something about your needs, choose someone else. You are not obligated to hire the first funeral providers you talk to.

When you've selected what seems to be the most suitable funeral homes for you, make sure you understand the terms of your agreement. Check for any consumer complaints from the Better Business Bureau orState Department of Consumer Affairs.

 

 

Tips for Dealing with Funeral Homes in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa 

Try to Have a General Sense of What You Want or Require.
Despite the stress of grief and limited time, if possible, it's a good idea to have some idea of what sort of service you are seeking, what you wish done with the remains, e.g. burial, cremation, where you might like to hold the service, how many people might be attending and anything else that may affect the price or timing of the service.

Write it Down.

Before meeting with a funeral director, write down the considerations from the exercise above. By writing everything down you don't have to try to remember everything in the heat of the moment. Also, you can add to the list as other things come up.

Get Several Separate Quotes From Several Funeral Homes.
There are distinct differences in the services and prices available at different funeral homes. It's best to speak to several, if possible, to help get a base line for prices and options. Take the list you made specifying your needs so that each can provide a quote using the same parameters and you can compare apples to apples.

Choose a Certified, Licensed and Recognized Funeral Home.
Make sure the funeral home you are considering has proper licensing, not only for the home itself, but those individuals who work there, including the funeral director (there is a license for this) and the person doing the embalming, if you choose that service. Also, look for funeral homes that go the extra mile, those that have earned accreditations, membership or kudos from industry groups or consumer watchdog groups. Ask for referrals.

Choose an Experienced Funeral Home and Funeral Director.
Make sure the funeral home you choose has the experience and knowledge to handle your needs. This doesn't necessarily mean hiring the one that's been in business the longest, but it does mean finding a funeral home that has experience in all aspects of funerals, including cremation, burial, paperwork, ceremony arrangements and more.

Ask Questions.
Knowing what to expect is always the best way to feel comfortable. Sometimes people are unsure and afraid to ask the hard questions-questions about price, guarantees and so on. This is a difficult time, but you need to protect yourself by asking whenever you are unsure about any part of the process.

Know Your Rights.
Although it can be difficult to know whether or not a funeral home has acted in bad faith,  there are resources available if you feel a funeral home or funeral director has acted unethically. Reference the California Department of Consumer Affairs Web site to learn more. (See our article, "Key Consumer Resources for Funeral Homes in Sonoma County" to learn more.

 

 

Resources About Funerals in Sonoma County 

Regulatory Bodies & Trade Associations For Funeral Homes in Sonoma County

BBB Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.com/)
California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov/)
Funeral Consumers Alliance (http://www.funerals.org/)
Cremation Association of North America (http://www.cremationassociation.org/)
International Cemetery and Funeral Association (http://www.icfa.org/)
National Funeral Directors Association (www.nfda.org/resources)
Diamond Certified www.diamondcertified.org
National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association (http://www.nfdma.com/)
Federal Trade Commission Facts for Consumers (www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/services/funeral.shtm)



The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Funeral Homes in Sonoma County within the following zip codes:

95487, 94951, 95430, 95431, 95409, 95436, 95497, 95441, 95462, 94953, 94922, 94928, 94954, 94975, 95439, 95425, 95421, 95433, 95448, 95406, 95412, 95450, 94923, 95408, 95416, 95402, 94955, 95419, 95444, 94952, 95471, 95405, 95452, 95407, 95473, 95403, 94999, 95442, 95492, 95404, 95480, 94972, 95446, 94927, 95472, 94931, 95476, 95486, 95401 and 95465



Funerals Bodega Bay CA

A Beautiful Alternative Bodega Bay CA 94923

 

Funerals Cloverdale CA

Fred Young Funeral Home Cloverdale CA 95425

 

Funerals Petaluma CA

Adobe Creek Funeral Home Petaluma CA 94952
Parent-Sorensen Mortuary Petaluma CA 94952

 

Funerals Rohnert Park CA

Abby Mortuary Rohnert Park CA 94928

 

Funerals Santa Rosa CA

Daniels Chapel of the Roses Santa Rosa CA 95405
Lafferty & Smith Colonial Chapel Santa Rosa CA 95409
Neptune Society Santa Rosa CA 95407
Redwood Coast Mortuary Service Santa Rosa CA 95402
Santa Rosa Memorial Park Santa Rosa CA 95401

 

Funerals Sebastopol CA

Home Funeral Ministry Sebastopol CA 95472
Parent-Sorensen Mortuary Sebastopol CA 95472
Pleasant Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary Sebastopol CA 95473
Redwood Memorial Gardens Sebastopol CA 95472

 

Funerals Sonoma CA

Duggan's Mission Chapel Sonoma CA 95476


Funerals Windsor CA

Windsor Hills Mortuary Windsor CA 95492