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How Do I Choose A Funeral Provider? The FTC Funeral Rules

One thing which lots of people simply don’t realize is that there is no law about using a funeral home to organize a funeral, you can do it all yourself, although realistically, even if you had the necessary experience of the legal requirements involved, not many people are in a fit state to organize their own flowers never mind a full blown funeral. No, for the majority of people the calm efficiency of the funeral director and staff at the funeral home is a real comfort during their hours of need.

When it comes to choosing a funeral provider, many people simply choose to use the nearest cemetery and funeral home, or maybe one that has been recommended by family or friends (it is often a comfort to be in the company of a few familiar faces) but this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. You might find that you are paying a higher price for your funeral, or restricting your choice in the goods and services on offer.

The Funeral Rule

The Funeral Rule means that if you visit any funeral home they are required by law to give you a list of prices and services, so it ought to be pretty easy to compare what you get for your money. If you prefer to shop around by telephone they are also required to give you a list of prices, and some will even mail the list to you on request.

Your Rights Under the FTC Funeral Rule

The Federal Trade Commission has the FTC Funeral Rule which gives you the right to:

  • Buy only the funeral arrangements you want. You have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service). You do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.
  • Get price information on the telephone. Funeral directors must give you price information on the telephone if you ask for it. You don’t have to give them your name, address, or telephone number first. Although they are not required to do so, many funeral homes mail their price lists, and some post them online.
  • Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home. The funeral home must give you a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. It lists all the items and services the home offers, and the cost of each one.
  • See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets. Sometimes, detailed casket price information is included on the funeral home’s GPL. More often, though, it’s provided on a separate casket price list. Get the price information before you see the caskets, so that you can ask about lower-priced products that may not be on display.
  • See a written outer burial container price list. Outer burial containers are not required by state law anywhere in the U.S., but many cemeteries require them to prevent the grave from caving in. If the funeral home sells containers, but doesn’t list their prices on the GPL, you have the right to look at a separate container price list before you see the containers. If you don’t see the lower-priced containers listed, ask about them.
  • Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay. It should show exactly what you are buying and the cost of each item. The funeral home must give you a statement listing every good and service you have selected, the price of each, and the total cost immediately after you make the arrangements.
  • Get an explanation in the written statement from the funeral home that describes any legal cemetery or crematory requirement that requires you to buy any funeral goods or services.
  • Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation. No state or local law requires the use of a casket for cremation. A funeral home that offers cremations must tell you that alternative containers are available, and must make them available. They might be made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard.
  • Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere. The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.
  • Make funeral arrangements without embalming. No state law requires routine embalming for every death. Some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time; some states don’t require it at all. In most cases, refrigeration is an acceptable alternative. In addition, you may choose services like direct cremation and immediate burial, which don’t require any form of preservation.
  • Many funeral homes have a policy requiring embalming if the body is to be publicly viewed, but this is not required by law in most states. Ask if the funeral home offers private family viewing without embalming. If some form of preservation is a practical necessity, ask the funeral home if refrigeration is available.

When you compare the price lists make sure that you take everything into consideration. Very often you’ll find that one particular part of the funeral service is cheaper at one home, but something else may be a cheaper option at another. Compare all of the details carefully.

You will often find that funeral homes will offer a service package which is generally the most cost effective method of organizing a funeral, but be sure to check the prices of the individual items on the list just to see how much of a bargain you’re getting.

You may feel a little awkward comparing funeral prices at the time of an imminent funeral, especially as you’ll be feeling extremely vulnerable and emotional, but it really is worth taking the time to check these things out, maybe sooner rather than later.

Free Final Expense Insurance Rate Quote

Most people who are searching online for final expense insurance don’t realize that final expense insurance is essentially life insurance. A very inexpensive way to obtain quality final expense insurance is to get a free life insurance quote.

There is a very simple question to answer as to whether or not you need final expense insurance.

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Final Expense insurance (aka funeral insurance) is a basic issue life insurance policy that covers people until they reach 100 years old. Final Expense insurance (also known as funeral insurance) is promoted as a way to pay in advance for your funeral expenses so that your loved ones won’t have to pay for your funeral. There are many things you can do to make your death easier on the wallets of those you love. Preplanning your funeral saves money and grief, as well as deciding whether you want to be buried in a casket or cremated and put into and urn, figuring out who gets what part of your estate and all the related turmoil associated with the end of life.