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Planningafuneral.com
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Buyer Beware

Pre-planning can keep your costs down by giving you the time to comparison-shop different acceptable facilities and without pressure constraints. Remember, according to the FTC Funeral Rule, funeral homes must furnish you with a complete price list upon request. They will offer packages or individual item costs; you shouldn’t be forced to buy anything that you do not want. Compare at least three funeral homes. You will not need embalming, which is expensive, unless you are having a public open casket viewing; it is not needed for a brief family viewing. Actually embalming is not ever necessary according to the funeral home rule. Funeral homes must ask for permission before embalming. view directories

The Basic Service Fee is the only non-declinable charge allowed by law. This fee is not a set amount; therefore, different funeral homes will probably quote you different prices for this charge.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • When comparison shopping ensures that you are not getting pricing from funeral homes that are owned by the same company. Nowadays corporations or other funeral home owners may buy a funeral home and keep the original name to give it a family-owned- business feel. Be sure you’re getting quotes from three completely different sources. Also remember, whether corporate owned or independent, all funeral homes are in business to make a profit. There are many more funeral homes than are necessary, some states have three to four times the amount needed to service a given state’s population.
  • A common funeral home practice, especially for people who have an immediate need, is to show three caskets so the family will take the one priced in the middle. Unfortunately, many times the lower priced caskets are not even on display or shown. Ask to view the less expensive caskets to see if there is one that better meets your needs or economic situation.
  • The Basic Service Fee typically covers the funeral home’s overhead and administrative costs, but can include other service fees. Ask for a breakdown of what is included with the BSF.

This website does not aim to beat up on the funeral home business. We just want the buyer to be aware, like any other business transaction. This particular transaction, however is often an urgent purchase at a vulnerable and emotional time. Funeral homes know their business and can be very helpful in making some suggestions. After you know what you want, call around and ask questions. Remember you can buy caskets direct online and save a lot of money. The funeral home must accept a casket purchased from another source and cannot charge you a handling fee. That’s the law. Directories

You may pre-pay all of your funeral arrangements, but that is not advised. Many of the pre-paid funeral arrangements are not regulated by states and don’t stipulate what happens if the funeral home goes out of business or the options you selected change. An additional situation to consider is what happens if you die away from home, move, or change your mind about the chosen arrangements. You may want to set aside a special bank account for your funeral with another person’s name on it so they will be able to access it only upon your death. Pre-paying for cemetery plots or urns should not be a problem. If you do pre-pay for a funeral, remember placement of an obituary, and ordering of flowers or headstone are additional fees for the funeral home to handle and would not be included in the pre-payment.

 
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