The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult situations to face in life. This can be especially trying if you are in charge of making the funeral arrangements. Our family here at FuneralHomes.com would like to share with your family some points from experienced funeral directors that will help you in such a troubling time.
Many people think that when arranging a funeral, there is only once decision to make – choosing a funeral home. FuneralHomes.com provides a user-friendly, online directory of funeral homes with descriptions in all 50 states and hundreds of cities across the US. (Click here to find the funeral home that fits your needs).
But in addition to the funeral home, there are other items to consider:
Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.
Among the choices you’ll need to make are whether you want one of these basic types of funerals, or something in between.
This type of funeral, often referred to by funeral providers as a “traditional” funeral, usually includes a viewing or visitation and formal funeral service, use of a hearse to transport the body to the funeral site and cemetery, and burial, entombment or cremation of the remains.
When a loved one dies, grieving family members and friends often are confronted with dozens of decisions about the funeral – all of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional duress. What kind of funeral should it be? What funeral provider should you use? Should you bury or cremate the body, or donate it to science? What are you legally required to buy? What other arrangements should you plan? And, as callous as it may sound, how much is it all going to cost?
Each year, Americans grapple with these and many other questions as they spend billions of dollars arranging more than 2 million funerals for family members and friends. The increasing trend toward pre-need planning – when people make funeral arrangements in advance – suggests that many consumers want to compare prices and services so that ultimately, the funeral reflects a wise and well-informed purchasing decision, as well as a meaningful one.
Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many consumers will ever make. A traditional funeral, including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000, although “extras” like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards or limousines can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line. Many funerals run well over $10,000.
Costs of Funerals rank among one of the most expensive purchases people will ever make. We take a look at the costs associated with funerals and what you need to know when arranging or preplanning a funeral.
1. Basic services fee for the funeral director and staff
The Funeral Rule allows funeral providers to charge a basic services fee that customers cannot decline to pay. The basic services fee includes services that are common to all funerals, regardless of the specific arrangement. These include funeral planning, securing the necessary permits and copies of death certificates, preparing the notices, sheltering the remains, and coordinating the arrangements with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties. The fee does not include charges for optional services or merchandise.
Consumers often select a funeral home or cemetery because it’s close to home, has served the family in the past, or has been recommended by someone they trust. But people who limit their search to just one funeral home may risk paying more than necessary for the funeral or narrowing their choice of goods and services.
Comparison shopping need not be difficult, especially if it’s done before the need for a funeral arises. If you visit a funeral home in person, the funeral provider is required by law to give you a general price list itemizing the cost of the items and services the home offers. If the general price list does not include specific prices of caskets or outer burial containers, the law requires the funeral director to show you the price lists for those items before showing you the items.
Sometimes it’s more convenient and less stressful to “price shop” funeral homes by telephone. The Funeral Rule requires funeral directors to provide price information over the phone to any caller who asks for it. In addition, many funeral homes are happy to mail you their price lists, although that is not required by law.
Nobody particular wants to spend their day visiting a funeral home. Especially if no one has passed on. Yet, every day across America thousands of people make plans to sit down with a professional and map out instructions when the time comes.
Why? Because they are thinking ahead and arranging their last moments on earth;
and in doing so, they are helping their families through one of the most difficult situations they will ever encounter.
At one time pre-planning a funeral was considered somewhat taboo. That attitude has changed significantly over the years. Now many financial experts recommend pre-planning a funeral as a very practical and sound way for an individual to alleviate a major burden his or her survivors will encounter.
Plus, in this age of individualization, choosing the pre-planning route gives a person control over how they want to be remembered and adds a personal touch that can only reinforce the unique personality that each human being brings to the planet.
There are also some solid financial benefits for those considering funeral pre-planning. Thinking ahead can help you relieve survivors of a sudden expense or taxes to be paid.
Here are some detailed reasons why you should consider establishing a pre-planned service:
Trust accounts are basically a pre-payment for funeral services deposited in a bank or with a trust company. Because the bank is federally insured by the US government, the funds are 100% totally secure.
If the funds are put into a larger, pooled trust, such as the state-controlled New Jersey Trust Fund, they may earn a more competitive high rate of interest.
Regulations regarding trusts vary from state to state. You will need to ask your local licensed funeral director about the programs available in your area.
Pre-need insurance is a form of “life insurance”. At one time, it was referred to as “death insurance” but the term was changed to “pre-need insurance” or “funeral insurance” to make it more acceptable.
Every pre-need insurance company has different approaches. Generally, a person either pays for a whole-life policy to cover the funeral costs in one lump sum, or they can pay over a 3, 5 or 10 year-period depending upon the insurance company and a person’s age, health history and other factors.
One benefit of pre-need insurance policies is that some times they may actually pay higher dividends than trust accounts. It’s possible your survivors could receive some money back from the policy after the cost of the funeral is covered.
There are many reasons to consider preplanning your funeral. The most important one is that it takes away from your survivors the pressure of making a decision under very difficult circumstances.
Prearrangements also let you choose exactly how you want to be memorialized and allows for personal preferences in all aspects of the funeral service.
In years past, preplanning your funeral was considered taboo. However, more and more people are becoming educated about the funeral process. Learning more about what is involved in this event and planning ahead is a major benefit for your loved ones.