It is estimated that a person has to deal with a close family death every 17 years. Think of the myriad changes over those 17 years. Now think of trying to make sound consumer decisions based on information from almost a generation ago. It is nearly impossible.
I get asked all the time how much a funeral costs. My answer is always, “It depends.” This is NOT as smart aleck answer. If someone tells you a funeral cost will be X amount of dollars, prepare yourself for the “oh, by the way, this or this was not included.” Too many factors enter into the equation for a quick and easy answer. This is a list of possible questions you may have to think about to begin to come to a determination of the cost of a funeral.
Will the funeral be public or private? Visitation and viewing? Religious services? Services at the funeral home, church or other place? What will the final disposition be? Burial or cremation? If buried, what cemetery or mausoleum? How much is opening/closing of grave or mausoleum? Can I buy a grave from another grave owner? Do I need a burial vault? Graveside or chapel? If cremation, what will be done with cremated remains? Will cremated remains be buried, entombed, scattered, portioned out, or multiple options? How many death certificates are needed? What do you need a death certificate for? How much are newspaper death notices? Will a photo added to the death notice change the price? Will there be a funeral luncheon? How much are flowers? How much is a casket, burial vault, headstone, prayer cards, register book, use of facilities, urn, hair dresser, church, organist, soloist, dove release or balloon release? Do you offer cremation memorial jewelry? As a veteran, am I eligible for free graves at a national cemetery? Can I use insurance to pay for services? Do you accept credit cards or PayPal? May I make payments? Can I pre-arrange for my own cremation? How do I know that my wishes will be carried out?
These are just some of the questions that need answered. Sometimes these answers need to be made in a very short period of time. If you have some time to investigate options, by all means do so. People often make changes to their plans as they find out about more options and corresponding prices. Most importantly, ask questions. An educated consumer makes good choices.