Planning for a Funeral At-Need or Pre-NeedFuneral Directors, Embalmers & Burial Services
SHOP AROUND IN ADVANCE
Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Remember that you are free to purchase the casket, outer burial container or urn from any funeral director or other supplier.
ASK FOR A PRICE LIST
The law requires funeral home to give you a General Price List for retention and show a Casket Price List and Outer Burial Container Price List to anyone who asks in person about services or merchandise that the funeral home offers or inquires about their prices.
Do not buy goods and services you don’t really need or want.
AVOID EMOTIONAL OVERSPENDING
It’s not necessary to have the fanciest casket or the most elaborate funeral to properly honor a loved one.
RECOGNIZE YOUR RIGHTS
Laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state. It’s a smart move to know which goods or services the law or cemetery may require you to purchase and which are optional.
APPLY SMART SHOPPING TECHNIQUES
You use the same smart shopping techniques for other major purchases. You may cut costs by limiting the viewing or by dressing your loved one in a favorite outfit instead of buying burial clothing.
It allows you to comparison shop without time constraints, creates an opportunity for family discussion, and lifts some of the burden from your family.
AN EXPECTATION FROM AN ETHICAL FUNERAL HOME
The funeral director should provide to you, at the conclusion of the funeral arrangement conference, a written statement listing all of the goods and services you have purchased and the price of each item.
ADDITIONAL CONSUMER TIPS:
- Be certain the funeral home, crematory, cemetery, preneed seller, preneed sales agent or insurance producer is licensed/registered with the state.
- Ask a family member to accompany you while making the funeral/cemetery arrangements.
- Ask the seller for a detailed price list of merchandise and services before you select anything.
- Before signing a contract, read it carefully and understand all the provisions. Ask questions.
- If you purchase funeral/cemetery arrangements, you should receive a copy of the contract that explains your rights and obligations, along with a written statement of all merchandise and services that you have purchased and the price.
- The preneed funeral contract must clearly stating whether it is funded by trust or life insurance and the terms of payment.
- If you are purchasing a trust funded product, ask how your funds are secured. If you are purchasing an insurance funded product, inquire about the insurance company and its rating.
- The written contract must state under what terms you may cancel your preneed contract and how much you will be refunded.
- All preneed funeral contracts must clearly identify to what extent the contract is a guaranteed preneed funeral contract or a non-guaranteed preneed funeral contract and state whether the contract is revocable or irrevocable. If prices are not guaranteed, the preneed seller should explain who is responsible for paying additional monies that may be due at the time of the funeral.
- Keep a copy of your contract/plan in a safe place other than your safe deposit box. Tell a close family member or a friend that you have made arrangements and where the documents are kept.