Tips from experts to find a reputable funeral home

LATHAM – Dufresne & Cavanaugh in Latham is a locally-owned funeral home where they pride themselves on their reputation, and being responsive and open.

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"Anyone who wants to come in here and see our facilities, you’re more than welcome to," said Vincent Perniciaro of Dufresne & Cavanaugh.

They say their hearts go out to the families affected by a shocking criminal case at a Johnstown funeral home – a case that left some Fulton County families with a lot of questions about what happened to their loved ones.

Ehle and Barnett Funeral Home owner Brian Barnett is expected to face felony charges after police say they discovered bodies and cremated remains at the business.

Barnett has been unlicensed since November.

At Dufresne and Cavanaugh in Latham, their licenses are on display, and the funeral directors always carry their cards.

"I think the biggest thing is reputation, word of mouth, talking to local clergy, ministers, friends, neighbors, getting that type of advice and asking around the community before they go ahead and select a funeral home," said Kevin Cavanaugh of Dufresne and Cavanaugh. "It’s very important to know who you’re working with."

"Really just do your homework, just as with any other type of business that you’re going to, do your homework," said Perniciaro. "If you go and Google ‘Dufresne and Cavanaugh’ right now, you’ll see all of our reviews upon reviews. Just do your homework."

A lack of paperwork is a red flag. Experts say there is always documentation when they take custody of a loved one.

"There’s a lot of paperwork involved, and with cremation, there are a couple more layers than a traditional burial," said Cavanaugh.

"Especially when cremation takes place, we have checks and signatures that go all throughout that process to ensure that those cremains or that body is exactly that body or those cremains that belong to that person or that family," said Perniciaro.

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Both men say, especially in a time of grief, families deserve the utmost respect and dignity.