No one wants to talk about funerals, let alone plan one. Follow these tips in the article” 8 Facts Funeral Directors Won’t Tell You” to know your rights, and avoid overpaying.
Working things out in advance and buying life insurance to cover the costs of protecting family members is the most important job you should do.
The average cost of a traditional funeral, including embalming and a metal casket, is almost $10,000, according to the most recent data from the National Funeral Directors Association. Cemetery services, including the grave site and vault or liner, can cost an additional $3,000.
Consumer advocates caution that this is how funeral directors make a living. Funerals have become just like any other business, which is understandable because they have salaries to pay and you have to keep the lights on. But as with buying anything there are ways for you to safe on services which might not be really needed.
1. Funeral Directors Are NOT Clergy
Funeral directors are business people, not ministers. But people often think they are clergy. Make that mistake, and you’ll tend to believe everything they say.
“Remember, funeral homes are in business and NOT churches!
But directors can conduct services, especially when a family doesn’t want a minister from a specific denomination. A funeral director will lead the service as a “celebrant” — and some directors opt for formal training to do that.
2. Shop Around
Most people pick the closest funeral home or one their family has always used. That doesn’t mean you’re getting a good deal. Comparing price quotes from three or more funeral homes could save you thousands.
“If you only call the first funeral home on the hospital’s list, you’ve got the meter running without knowing what the rate will be. If that funeral home is owned by a big, corporate chain, the meter will rack up even higher rates.
You’ll want to compare costs such as the transport and care of the body; caskets or urns; arrangement options (wake versus quick burial or cremation); and embalming charges.
Don’t feel ashamed to shop around, all the funeral homes provided the same services, but they all have different prices.
3. Price List - It's the Law
The list will include their “basic services fees,” which all customers must pay and can range from $500 to $3,000 but usually costs between $1,000 and $2,000. It covers the professional services of the funeral director and staff and can include planning, permits, death certificate copies, storage of the body, and coordination with the cemetery or crematory.
The FTC says you’re also entitled to a written price list of all caskets, including any lower-priced models that may not be on display.
4. "Required" is NOT always "Required"
Funeral directors may require you to buy services that are not required under the laws in your state.
For example, a funeral home may say embalming is necessary, but the FTC says no state requires embalming unless the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time. If the funeral will be delayed, you can pay for refrigeration.
Cemeteries often insist on casket vaults and liners to prevent graves from sinking as the casket deteriorates. But the FTC says state laws do not demand a vault or liner.
Don’t be shy to ask “Is this required in our state”.
5. DIY Tribute
You have to options to skip the formal services and you might save thousands of dollars with a “direct burial” or “direct cremation,” which involve no embalming, viewing or visitation.
Families can opt for an economical memorial service at home, a church, park or community center. You can print memorial cards on your computer, decorate the room with your loved one’s pictures or favorite items, and ask everyone to share memories.
You are not required to do anything but what is required by your state. How we do things today is not how it was done even not too far in the past. Families used to do everything at home with family members. This is your funeral or your loved one, this is why I’m writing this article ” 8 Facts Funeral Directors Won’t Tell You” because you have to know that you are in control.
Cremations average between $3,000 – $5,000. The urn can cost as little as about $50, and you can buy one at a number of places online, including the websites of major retailers such as Costco.
The Federal Funeral Rule states that funeral directors can’t require a casket for a cremation. They must offer other choices, including a simple cardboard box.
The cremation association says nearly 41% of all deaths resulted in cremation in 2010, up from about 34% in 2006. The cremation rate is expected to rise to almost 56% by 2025.
Not everyone wants to be put six feet under to be in one place forever. Families move often these days, so being able to take loved one’s ashes with them after death is more convenient.
7. Cheap Casket May be Sufficient
Caskets can be very expensive, but they don’t have to be. Sure, you can spend $10,000 on a mahogany or bronze casket, but you can go online and pay as little as $500 for a simple “pine box.”
Beware the sales pitch for a sealed casket to help keep out “elements” such as water and bugs. That seal is often just a cheap rubber gasket and can add hundreds of dollars to the cost.
If it’s your funeral would you tell your family to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to prevent what will happen anyway? What are you trying to prevent with a seal or more expansive casket that will last a few years longer than a cheaper one! Think about that!
8. Buy the Casket or Urn Elsewhere
The Federal Trade Commission says a funeral home may not refuse to use a casket or urn you bought on the Web or at a local store. Also, the funeral director cannot charge you extra to handle a casket or urn purchased somewhere else.
Funeral directors may offer a “discounted package price” on the entire funeral if you include one of their caskets, but there really isn’t a discount compared if you buy some of the items elsewhere.
When a loved one dies, we sometimes feel the pressure to express our love for them by spending more money than we have to. Sometimes we feel that if we ask for a discount, it will sound like we did not care for that person.
That is NOT true, funeral services are just like any other services we use in life. Prices are not set and you can ask for a discount.
The most important part is to plan ahead so that your family will know what your wishes are. It is always so sad when family argue over funeral decision and prices because they don’t know what the person wanted. The best thing you can do is plan ahead. If you need a “FREE Final Wishes Guide” which outlines all the important decisions a family has to make, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.