Every year, about 3 million Americans arrange funerals for their departed friends and members of the family. Someday, you could be one of those people who will arrange these services as well. Since funerals cost thousands of dollars, it’s essential to be aware of the things you need to know in availing funeral services.
If you are residing in the US, federal laws will help you decide when it comes to choosing the right funeral service. These laws also allow you to check out the actual cost of a particular item you’re planning to avail, whether in person or over the phone.
When arranging a funeral service, make sure that your funeral provider will give you an actual price list of their available services. Take note that you have the option to get their package or make separate purchases.
Below are some of the tips that can help you make a successful funeral arrangement for your deceased loved ones:
- Inquire over the phone. This can help you compare prices of different funeral providers without the hassle of personally going to their offices. When calling funeral providers, ask about the terms, conditions and their available packages.
- The total price coming from funeral providers must contain the detailed cost of each service and item included in the package. This will help you cross out the ones you don’t need and modify the ones you can afford. Embalming and caskets are some of the things that are included in the package.
- Your funeral provider, as required by the law, should never fail to give information about embalming. For instance, they should disclose that you may opt to go for immediate burial or direct cremation if you don’t want embalming.
- Under the law, funeral providers are also required to disclose charges for cash advance items in writing. These cash advance items are services or goods that your preferred funeral provider paid on your behalf. Examples of these include obituary notices, flowers, clergy honoraria and pallbearers. Some providers may add service fee for these items while some give out refunds or discounts. All of these should be documented and presented to you.
- You have the option to cremate the body of the deceased or go for immediate burial. Cremation involves the burning of the dead body to turn it into ashes and place it inside an urn while immediate burial involves conducting a wake where the dead body is open for public viewing.
When you go for cremation as part of the funeral services, you will be given an option to choose between an unfinished wood box and a cheap alternative container for the cremated body. Both are made from different materials but choosing either one of them could lower the cost of funeral because they are much cheaper than the traditional caskets.
- You are always entitled to drop the services or goods that you do not want in the package. You may also refuse to pay certain fees that serve as a condition for availing your preferred services and products. Under the law, your preferred funeral provider should not charge fees to the caskets you bought outside their package when you avail their services.
- After selecting your choice of funeral items and services to be included in the package, your preferred funeral provider must provide an itemized list of the total cost together with any other legal, crematory or cemetery requirements. This also includes “good faith estimates” or the unknown cost of certain cash advance items and services.
- Think ahead. Most people decide about getting funeral services when they are in grief or under time pressure. Thinking ahead lets you make an informed and solicited decisions about funeral arrangements for your departed loved ones. It also allows you to have more time in terms of comparing prices and services of one funeral provider from the other.
This is also the best time to decide if the deceased body could be donated to educational or medical institutions. Ask other relatives and family members if the deceased has a particular wish that should be granted before the funeral takes place like donating his eyes to a blind person or his heart to a dying patient.
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Funeral arrangements are indeed stressful. By following the above-mentioned tips on how to pick funeral services and , you are sure that it’s going to be a convenient yet successful ceremony for your departed loved ones.