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Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many consumers will ever make. A traditional funeral, including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000, although "extras" like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards or limousines can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.  Many funerals run L`homme Lunettewell over $10,000.  Yet even if you're the kind of person who might haggle with a dozen, dealers to get the best price on a new car, you're likely to feel uncomfortable comparing prices or negotiating over the details and cost of a funeral, pre-need or at need.  Compounding this discomfort is the fact that some people "overspend" on a funeral or burial because they think of it as a reflection of their feelings for the deceased.

Thinking ahead can help you make informed and thoughtful decisions about the funeral arrangements.  It allows you to choose the specific items you want and need and compare the prices offered by several funeral providers.  It also spares your survivors the stress of making these decisions under the pressure of time and strong emotions.  The following recommendation will help you better plan a funeral:

Shop around in advance - Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Remember that you can supply your own casket or urn.

Ask for a price list - The law requires funeral homes to give you a written price list for products and services.

Resisting Pressure - Refrain from purchasing unnecessary or undesirable "goods and services".

Avoid emotional overspending - It's not necessary to have the fanciest casket or the most elaborate funeral to properly honor a loved one.

Recognize your rights - Laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state.  It is a smart move to know which goods or services the law requires you to purchase and which are optional.  For more information about the laws that govern funeral homes, go to the "Community Links" section on our website and click on the "FTC" link.

Apply smart shopping techniques - You can cut costs by limiting the viewing to one day or one hour before the funeral, and by dressing your loved one in a favorite outfit instead of costly burial clothing.

Plan ahead - Planning ahead will allow you to do comparison shopping without time constraints. This will create an opportunity for family discussions, which will lift some of the stress during your time of need.

Many people don't realize that they are not legally required to use a funeral home to plan and conduct a funeral.  However, because they have little experience with the many details and legal requirements involved and may be emotionally distraught when it is time to make the plans, many people find the services of a professional funeral home to be a comfort. Consumers often select a funeral home or cemetery because it is close to home, has served the family in the past, or has been recommended by someone they trust.  But people who limit their search to just one funeral home may risk paying more than necessary for the funeral or narrowing their choice of goods and services.  If you visit a funeral home in person, the funeral provider is required by law to give you a general price list itemizing the cost of the items and services the home offers.  If the general price list does not include specific prices of caskets or outer burial containers, the law requires the funeral director to show you the price lists for those items before showing you the items.

Sometimes it is more convenient and less stressful to "price shop" funeral homes by telephone. The Funeral Rule requires funeral directors to provide price information over the phone to any caller who ask.  In addition, many funeral homes are happy to mail you their price lists, although that is not required by law.  When comparing prices, be sure to consider the total cost of all the items together, in addition to the costs of single items.  Every funeral home should have price lists that include all the items essential for the different types of arrangements it offers.



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