Basic Tips for Funeral Planning
Start by asking yourself this simple question: If a close loved one were to pass away tomorrow, would I be equipped to plan their funeral? So many Americans face the sudden loss of someone in their lives — often without previous experience in dealing with this hard situation. Although we try to put off these tasks for as long as possible, whether out of financial difficulty or a refusal of the sad reality of death, planning funerals is an important end-of-life process. For those of you who may be dealing with the loss of a loved one for the first time or are simply looking for more resources to make the process go more smoothly, we’ll take a look at how to plan a funeral.
It really only takes a short period of browsing the web to understand everything involved with funeral planning. Even if you are fortunate enough to assist in facilitating an already pre-planned funeral for a loved one, there are still things you’ll want to prepare for when dealing with funeral homes and related professionals.
Choosing the Most Reasonable Option
Considering that the loss of a loved one is a vulnerable time for families, it’s not exactly wise to arrive at a funeral home without any direct plan of action. The first step is to understand your consumer rights in order to ensure you’re getting the best financial option for the funeral your loved one deserves.
Generally speaking, funeral homes will provide packages or bundles with a range of different services and options for families. Whenever possible, ask to see an itemized list and whether each service can be purchased individually. You may find that these bundled deals are not the most cost-efficient plan for what you’re trying to achieve.
When comparing individual packages between funeral homes, be sure to take into account whether the same services are offered and whether they allow you to build your own bundle. Those funeral homes who state otherwise may be in violation of a Federal Trade Commission ruling on this very issue.
Hinging on the fact that you’re legally free to choose whatever services you do or do not want, it’s important to remind family members that this emotional time can present certain difficulties when it comes to decision-making. Although a professional and upstanding funeral home will work with families to find the best option for them financially, this is sadly not always the case.
Yes, you want your loved one’s service to be as respectful and tasteful and possible, but that shouldn’t put you in debt. It’s advised to make spending decisions based on the family’s rationale as a whole, carefully choosing the most impactful and appropriate services to honor your loved one.
Understanding Burial Containers and Caskets
Caskets and burial containers are some of the most expensive aspects of funeral planning. They can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 or more. It’s important to realize that caskets and burial containers are a large portion of the sales cycle for funeral directors, so always ask to see the lower-priced options if they aren’t on display.
Additionally, some gravesites will require out burial containers to prevent graves from sinking, along with burial vaults used to protect the casket. This will rely on local and state ordinances as to what is needed, ultimately causing the cost to fluctuate.
Be Cautious When Pre-Planning Your Own Funeral
It is not uncommon for people to make financial decisions regarding their own funerals in advance. While this can be very helpful to ensure the process is a thoughtful one, there are certain things to be cautious of.
Recent cases have surfaced in which millions of dollars of prepaid money was stolen by unethical business owners. Therefore, it’s very important to find options with the necessary financial protections and insurances, depending on how a situation changes or develops. Again, price lists and packaged funerals will require a full review of the services to be provided and what is expected of the funeral home. The best practice is to review these agreements with attorneys or financial planners whenever possible.
We realize this can be a difficult and confusing time for many families, however, getting a funeral service right is very important for many seniors and their loved ones. For more guides and resources on this matter, check out these great websites for information regarding the many specifics of planning a funeral.
You can read more about end-of-life issues and hospice care by clicking here.