Oh by the way

It is estimated that a person has to face the death of a close relative every 17 years. Think of the myriad changes during those 17 years. Now think about trying to make good decisions for consumers based on information from almost a generation ago. It’s almost impossible.

They ask me how much a funeral costs all the time. My answer is always: “It depends.” This is NOT a smart answer. If someone tells you that the cost of a funeral will be X amount of dollars, prepare for the “oh by the way, this or this was not included.” Too many factors go into the equation for a quick and easy answer. This is a list of possible questions you may need to think about to begin to arrive at a funeral cost determination.

Will the funeral be public or private? Visits and visions? Religious services? Services at the funeral home, church, or elsewhere? What will be the final disposition? Burial or cremation? If buried, what cemetery or mausoleum? How much does the opening / closing of the tomb or mausoleum cost? Can I buy a grave from another grave owner? Do I need a funeral vault? Next to the tomb or chapel? In the event of cremation, what will be done with the cremated remains? Will cremated remains be buried, entombed, scattered, divided into portions or with multiple options? How many death certificates do you need? Why do you need a death certificate? How high are the death notices in the newspapers? Will a photo added to the death notice change the price? Will there be a funeral lunch? How much do the flowers cost? How much does a coffin, burial vault, headstone, prayer cards, record book, facility use, urn, hair salon, church, organist, soloist, dove toss, or balloon toss cost? Do you offer memorial cremation jewelry? As a veteran, am I eligible for free graves in a national cemetery? Can I use insurance to pay for services? Do you accept credit cards or PayPal? Can I make payments? Can I make arrangements for my own cremation? How do I know that my wishes will be fulfilled?

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered. Sometimes these answers need to be made in a very short period of time. If you have some time to research your options, please do so by all means. People often make changes to their plans as they discover more options and corresponding prices. The most important thing is to ask questions. An informed consumer makes good decisions.

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