This guide to funeral service providers offers suggestions to help you make an informed choice and ease you through the process of making final arrangements. Information about the FTC Funeral Rule and how it protects consumers and their rights when dealing with potential providers is included along with tips on how to save money and budget for the costs associated with service arrangements.
Consumers have the right to make their own choices when using the services of a funeral home or similar provider. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed a law in 1984 that regulates the business practices of funeral service providers in many ways. Known as the FTC Funeral Rule, the guidelines cover and protect consumers in a variety of ways by giving them flexible options. Featured highlights of the FTC Funeral Rule include:
Funeral homes must disclose the type of services they offer along with their costs over the telephone when consumers request information in this way.
Consumers do not have to reveal personal information such as their names, addresses, and phone numbers when contacting funeral homes for initial information by telephone.
Funeral homes and similar service providers must provide consumers with a written statement of costs for arranged services before payment.
Consumers have the option to acquire a burial container from an alternative source other than the funeral home or similar provider that will administer the services.
Finding a funeral service provider can be frustrating and overwhelming after a loved one has died. We have included our top picks for online resources to help make the process easier and less stressful. Dignity Memorial provides consumers with access to a nationwide network of funeral homes, cemeteries, and similar providers located within the United States and Canada. Local listings for providers within the Washington, D.C. area include Arlington Funeral Home and Murphy Funeral Homes.
The Funeral Ethics Organization (FEO) offers helpful tips and suggestions on a variety of topics including the options for embalming, cremation, burial, and organ donation for all 50 states including the Washington, D.C. area. An online directory of funeral homes maintained by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another excellent resource you many want to explore to help you find a service provider.
You have many options available to help you pay for funeral arrangements. With planning and prior preparation, having a life insurance policy in place tops the list for peace of mind with minimal worries. Creating a trust fund or opening a rainy day fund savings account are yet other creative ways to plan ahead and budget for the expense of funeral services.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a very helpful funeral price checklist posted on their website that you can print off and have handy while you comparison-shop for a potential funeral service provider. The checklist will help you to narrow down your choices and save on expenses while only spending money on those features and items that you want and need.
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