When a loved one passes on, there is much pain and suffering with the loss. If there is no pre-planning, there will be funeral costs to deal with and, often, quick decision-making under difficult circumstances. Under either pre-planned or forced-to-act-now conditions, according to the FTC and AARP, caution is recommended.
One of the most important things to understand are the different costs involved in order to be prepared for what could potentially be a financial burden, on top of all of the emotional and mental anguish. According to the website, funeral-tips.com, average costs could range from “$8,000 to over $10,000”, which includes the funeral and cemetery services, the purchase of a grave plot, and other miscellaneous costs.
Before securing the services of a funeral home, do some cost comparisons so you can make clearheaded, informed decisions. If you wait until you are grieving, it will only make things that much more difficult. You may be tempted to empty out your pockets just to get people to leave you alone, and that’s what opportunists count on.
Compare the costs of at least 2 or 3 funeral homes. Request a price list from all of them that should give the individual costs of itemized products and services. Some things you can do yourself to cut back on costs, such as providing a different casket or dressing the deceased in a “favorite outfit instead of costly burial clothing,” providing flowers, the obituary, death certificate, music, etc. may help keep some of the funeral costs down.
Many services are offered to assist the grieving party, but they don’t come without a cost. You may also choose to omit certain services such as additional viewings or embalming. Cremations, using less expensive caskets and/or outer burial containers are other ways of cutting on costs.
Be aware of the up-selling of expensive caskets and packaged services that actually have added or hidden costs built in. Guilt, sense of loss, and hurt certainly are factors that might lead someone to overspend on a loved one’s funeral, and who can blame them? Being realistic and planning for future incidents such as this will allay anguish and unnecessary debt.
There are many excellent funeral providers who can assist you. Shop around and get an idea of what you or your loved one might want. It is certainly not a pleasant task, but it is necessary.
For more tips on your consumer protection rights, when using the services of a funeral home, visit http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus05-complying-funeral-rule#samples. Plan ahead and protect the ones you love in your life, including yourself.
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