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What Services And Products Are Included With A Funeral Home?

We generally deal with a funeral home while we are at our most emotional and vulnerable, but fortunately the Funeral Rule works well to ensure that we cannot be taken advantage of during our darkest hours. Some services and products are included with a funeral home by necessity, but others are optional.

To Embalm or Not to Embalm – That’s a Good Question

Embalming is a costly procedure which is offered by funeral homes, but it is not always necessary and should certainly not take place without your prior approval. It is essential if you are planning viewings of the body, or a visitation, but if the funeral or cremation is taking place shortly after death it’s one way to save a pretty penny. Remember these embalming rules:

  • the funeral home may not provide any embalming services without your prior permission
  • may not tell you that embalming is a legal requirement – it isn’t
  • must tell you that embalming is not a legal requirement – except in special circumstances
  • cannot charge you for unauthorized embalming (unless it is a special circumstance and required by law)
  • must tell you in writing that not all funerals or cremations require embalming, if you don’t want it you don’t have to have it
  • must tell you in writing that embalming is a practical necessity in some cases (particularly if there are to be viewings)

So you see, embalming is one service which is provided by a funeral home but certainly not always essential.

Other Services and Products

It used to be that you could only buy your casket through a funeral home, but these days that isn’t the case any more (must be something to do with free trade!) One thing is for sure, your funeral director cannot refuse to handle a casket you’ve purchased somewhere else, he can’t even charge you a fee for doing it so don’t let him tell you any different.

Casket costs vary a lot, because, well, so do caskets, they come in many different sizes for a start (just like bodies). They are pretty expensive and often the most costly single item in the whole funeral for a traditional funeral type casket. Your funeral home should provide you with an itemized price list of all casket costs and variations they have on offer, before showing you their most popular (and probably most expensive) casket. You will often have a choice of:

  • metal
  • wood
  • plastic
  • fiberglass
  • fiberboard

A casket for a traditional funeral will generally cost around $2,000 but can be as high as £10,000 for something in mahogany or bronze, for example.

Casket Choice – research suggests that most people pick one of the first three caskets they are shown, (generally the one with the price in the middle) so it is worthwhile for the funeral provider to show you the ones at the higher end of the market. Don’t be afraid to check out all of the prices on the list (which you must be provided with – it’s the law) and don’t be harried into buying something more expensive than is necessary – unless you really want to.

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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.