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Funeral Costs - Don’t Get Caught, Know Your Rights

Funeral costs are considered one of the four most expensive purchases made by consumers today. The cost of a traditional funeral can easily reach the $15,000 mark.

For many this is considered a large amount of cash to splash out for funeral, yet for immediate family members of the deceased this is how they want to pay homage to their dearly departed.

There are funerals that can be just as pleasant and respectful that cost about $2,500, yet most people fail to realize this and will spend a larger amount. Some funeral homes will advertise a low cost for their funeral services that are just as nice and appropriate as the expensive services that are available on the market.

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There’s a law called The Funeral Rule that was created to make all funeral homes or personnel provide a statement of the costs of the actual funeral, goods, and services. This disclosure is designed to save grieving loved ones the shock of receiving a bill for services they were not expecting.

The provision of the law helps to protect loved ones from being taken advantage of during the time of mourning, since most people are still in shock and are not thinking clearly enough to know if they’re being treated fairly or being taken advantage of by the funeral home or director.

This law requires not only the costs to be disclosed, but also to have a written good faith statement for all services to be rendered. This law only covers people in the United States, but there are some provinces in Canada that have the same type of requirements that are strictly adhered to.  Other areas of the country are taking measures to protect consumers during their time of mourning, and dealing with the death of a loved one.

There are three main categories that are associated with a funeral costs.

  1. The basic fees of the funeral service. This fee is a standard charge that consumers are not allowed to decline. The fees cover the costs of the services of the funeral home, funeral director, funeral attendants, use of the funeral home, and burial arrangements that may include transportation of the body from the hospital or home to the funeral home then to the cemetery, and securing any type of permit for the actual burial.
  2. Optional services that may be selected by the consumer. This can include the type of vehicle that’s used to transport the body to the cemetery, burial container or casket, embalming per area’s requirements or religious preferences, viewing times of the deceased or wakes, and other additional selections of the consumer.
  1. Cash payments for services that the funeral home makes on behalf of the consumer per their consent that may include clergy services, obituary notices, purchase of flowers, musicians, or soloists for the services or viewing, and the costs for paid pallbearers.

It’s recommended to always review the statement or estimate of services closely so each charge is completely understandable. Ask questions about each charge and know what the charge is made for. Don’t be afraid to discuss the charges with the funeral director or personnel.  Make sure that you bring to light any charges that seem in accurate.

You can expect to find services for the funeral to differ from one funeral home to another. It’s wise to always find a funeral home that’s trusted by the consumer as well as one that will help with making the right decisions for the funeral and burial.

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