Hiring a good funeral home can help you mourn as you create the best service to honor your loved one’s life. Beware that funeral homes need to make money. Making decisions about a funeral can be hard because you are mourning your loss. Make sure you compare multiple funeral homes’ prices and services. Determine your budget ahead of time.
Funeral homes are required to provide you a list of all their prices either in writing or over the phone. Federal Trade Commission law states funeral homes have to offer services outside of packages, so you are not required to purchase a bundle. Funeral homes have a General Price List that outlines the prices of available services. By law, the funeral home should provide you the cost breakdown of the products and services you selected before the funeral.
As a consumer, you are:
Permitted to choose a different burial container besides a casket for cremation no matter your location.
Allowed to purchase a casket or urn from a different store or online to use for the burial at the funeral home. You do not have to purchase the casket at the funeral home where you are holding the memorial service.
Entitled to a detailed list of all the prices of products and services you chose in your funeral plan before the service.
Not required to use embalming services. It’s federal law that the funeral home receives your spoken or written permission before beginning the embalming process.
Some funeral homes provide their General Price List directly on their website like Hilgenfeld Mortuary. Caskets vary in style and material, so the prices are very different. Several funeral homes list just the price range, and Melrose Abbey shows the various caskets available without the cost.
If you can shop around ahead of time, shopping would be easier since you are less emotional. Since that usually isn’t possible, ask your friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Search for online reviews. The Better Business Bureau website lets you search for BBB-accredited funeral homes. You can verify the funeral home and funeral director’s license using the search function on the California Department of Consumer Affairs Cemetery and Funeral Bureau’s website.
After you narrow down to a few funeral homes, compare the cost of the service by using their General Price Lists. You will also need to include prices of caskets or cremation containers. The Federal Trade Commission offers a Funeral Pricing Checklist to help you decide on a funeral home and gives a list of questions to ask.
You want the best for your loved one, but don’t cause financial hardship to do so. There are several ways you can save money without compromising the memorial service. Decide ahead of time how much you can spend. Tell the funeral director exactly what you want to spend and ask to plan using that budget. The San Diego-area Memorial Society helps you create a simple, inexpensive service for your loved one. You will need to purchase a membership, which may help you save money in the long run.
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