How can I avoid overpaying for the funeral
of a family member?

The best way to avoid overpaying for a funeral is to plan ahead. Further, it pays to know about the “Funeral Rule,” the regulation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning funeral industry practices. The Funeral Rule provides that: 

  • The funeral provider must give you, over the phone, price and other readily available information that reasonably answers your questions.
  • The funeral provider must give you (1) a general price list, (2) a disclosure of your important legal rights and (3) information about embalming, caskets for cremation, and required purchases.
  • The funeral provider must disclose in writing any service fees for paying for goods or services on your behalf (such as flowers, obituary notices, pallbearers, and clergy honoraria). While some funeral providers charge you only their cost for these items, others add a service fee to their cost. The funeral provider must also inform you of any refunds, discounts, or rebates from the supplier of any such item.
  • The funeral provider must disclose in writing your right to buy, and make available to you, an unfinished wood box (a type of casket) or an alternative container for a direct cremation.
  • You do not have to purchase unwanted goods or services or pay any fees as a condition to obtaining those products and services you do want. In addition to the fee for the services of the funeral director and staff, you need pay only for those goods and services selected by you or required by state law.
  • The funeral provider must give you an itemized statement of the total cost of the funeral goods and services you selected; this statement must disclose any legal, cemetery, or crematory requirements for you to purchase any specific funeral goods or services.
  • The funeral provider is prohibited from telling you that a particular funeral item or service can indefinitely preserve the body of the deceased in the grave, or claiming that funeral goods, such as caskets or vaults, will keep out water, dirt, or other gravesite substances.

    Tip: If you have a problem concerning funeral matters, and cannot resolve it with the funeral director, contact your federal, state, or local consumer protection agencies, the Funeral Consumers Alliance, or the International Conference of Funeral Examining Boards.

Personal Tragedy

If your time on this Earth came to an unexpected abrupt end, would your family members and/or loved ones know where to find your important documents?  Even though we don’t want to face the possibilities, bad things can happen . . . and they do!