Choosing the right funeral home can help you have the service you want to honor your loved one. It’s a difficult time, and while you mourn, making decisions can be hard. Remember that funeral homes are in business to make a profit. Make sure you compare multiple funeral homes with their prices and services.
State and federal laws require funeral homes to give you a list of all their products and services upfront. All funeral homes have a General Price List and can also give you these details if you call. The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Law ensures that funeral homes will offer services that are not inside a package deal. When you choose which products and services you want, the funeral home is required to provide an itemized list of all the pricing. Here are some other rights you have:
You can select a different burial container that’s not a casket for cremation.
You can buy a casket or cremation container from another store (or online) and use it at any funeral home for the burial.
You will receive a list of all the prices of products and services you chose in your plan before the funeral.
You have the right to decline to embalm. By law, funeral homes need your written or verbal permission before starting the embalming process.
Some funeral homes share their General Price List online like Gonce Funeral Home. Caskets vary significantly in price, and several funeral homes only post a range of prices. Ruck Funeral Homes and some other funeral homes will post photos of available caskets and prices on their website. March Funeral Homes has a pre-planning checklist and a tool to plan the funeral online.
It’s easiest to preplan a funeral when you are not in such an emotional state, but that’s not always possible. Ask your local family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers for a referral. Check out online reviews. Visit the Greater Maryland Better Business Bureau to find BBB-accredited funeral homes. You can verify licenses of a funeral home at the Maryland Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors.
After selecting a few funeral homes, review their General Price Lists to see if prices and services are comparable. Determine what you want included in the service. Don’t forget to get the casket or cremation container costs. To help you with your planning, the Federal Trade Commission offers a Funeral Pricing Checklist you can use to ask funeral homes questions. Be sure to ask each funeral home the same inquiries for a direct comparison and take notes. Also, see how the funeral home treats you as a shopper.
It’s hard not to want to buy the best of everything for your loved one. However, you don’t want to cause debt with the funeral. Create a list of services that are the most important to you. Create your budget before you visit funeral homes. Tell the funeral home what you want to spend when you first meet. Funeral Consumers Alliance can help you make affordable funeral arrangements.
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