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Funeral Finances | How to Handle This Difficult Time

Funeral Finances | How to Handle This Difficult Time

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Financing a funeral is never fun, whether you are planning for yourself or someone you love who just passed away. The good news is there are some measures in place that protect you during this difficult time. Many associations and organizations can help.

Also, you will need to make many decisions, such as which casket you’ll want to use, how you’ll want the body to be displayed, and what the obituary will say. Making these decisions ahead of time is a smart move and can save everyone a lot of headaches.

Because funerals are such a hard time for everyone involved, there is a funeral rule that protects citizens from shady business practices on the part of the funeral industry. The FTC has made sure that people are able to do as little work as possible.

The Funeral

Arranging a funeral is never an easy thing to do. You are mourning a loss and having to deal with all kinds of arrangements. While the cost of a funeral varies, depending on the state you are having it in, the cost can be in the tens of thousands of dollars if you aren’t careful.

As of 2019, according to Bankrate, in Indiana alone, the average burial costs around $8,000, and the average cremation is around $5,000. Many other factors come into play when paying for a funeral, though.

You will need to pay, depending on the type of funeral you want for your loved one, for a casket, funeral staff, certain fees, embalming costs, cosmetic services, an urn, transportation, a hearse, and many other costs that you may be unaware of.

The Federal Trade Commission has a funeral pricing checklist that you may find handy during this stressful time. Planning ahead can make all of the difference in the world, though. If your loved one has made prior arrangements, this can save you stress and pain!

If you can make your own funeral arrangements ahead of time, you will save your loved ones a lot of hassle. Consider how you wish to be buried, what type of service you will want to have, and the type of religious ceremony you would like to be associated with.

Your choices will greatly affect the cost of your funeral. It’s a smart idea to record all of your wishes down in a book or keepsake album for your loved ones. Additional costs you will want to keep in mind include music, flowers, a headstone, the hearse, and the locale.

You’ll also want to decide on pallbearers, whether the casket will be open or not, the content of the service, what your obituary will say, and how your body will be viewed, if at all.

Inquiries

As you either make these decisions for yourself or a loved one who has passed on, you can rest assured that you are protected under the Funeral Rule.

This is the FTC’s trade regulation rule that allows the funeral industry to give you cost and other information regarding funeral arrangements over the phone or in-person – whatever is most convenient for you. It saves you a lot of hassle and running around trying to make choices.

It is most common to purchase an entire funeral package from a funeral provider. A package of goods usually comes with the casket and/or vault along with many of the other costs mentioned above. These packages can usually save you a great deal of money.

It’s a smart idea to call around to gather prices of services and goods to determine what will best meet your needs. If you would rather go in person to find out the information face to face, the funeral director or provider can give you a generalized price list.

The FTC Funeral Rule provides you with certain provisions and attempts to protect you from shady funeral providers. According to the Rule, the funeral provider may not state that certain services are required by law, such as embalming.

Under the Funeral Rule, you can choose the goods and services you wish to have with some exceptions, and the funeral provider must disclose all prices for goods and services that he or she plans to charge you. They are also not allowed to charge you for handling a casket.

In other words, the FTC has your back because it created a rule in 1984 to make sure you could choose the goods and services you need or want in an upfront manner. This way, arranging a funeral does not have to be as stressful as it could be without such a rule.

Other Resources

The FTC is not the only organization that wants to make sure you are covered in the event of a funeral. Many states have a licensing board that regulates the funeral industry to protect citizens. These are just a few of the agencies you can use to help at this difficult time.

The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards helps regulate the funeral industry, for example. Their direct number is 479-442-7076.

Funeral Consumers Alliance can provide you with a list of memorial societies and other alliances. Their direct number is 802-865-8300.

The International Order of the Golden Rule is an association of about 1,500 funeral homes. Their toll-free number is 1-800-637-8030.

The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an association of funeral homes and crematories with over 750 members. They can help you with pre-planning your funeral, as they encourage advance planning. Their direct number is 312-245-1077.

The National Funeral Directors Association is an association of funeral directors and has over 14,000 members throughout the nation. Their toll-free number is 1-800-228-6332.

The National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association is an association of funeral firms that comply with the association’s Code of Good Funeral Practice. Their toll-free number is 1-800-434-0958.

The Selected Independent Funeral Homes can help if you have a complaint or issue with funerals. Their toll-free number is 1-800-323-4219.

Conclusion

You should now have a good idea of what kind of costs you may incur with a funeral, the decisions that will need to be made to have a funeral, and the organizations that can protect you during this difficult time.

If you are uncertain about the financial aspects of a funeral, you can always speak to Indiana’s tax expert, Sherry Borshoff. At Borshoff Consulting, we do business consulting. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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