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Funeral Myths

“I have to buy everything for a funeral at the funeral home.” In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission enacted “The Funeral Rule.” You may purchase any funeral product you want from another source, and the funeral home must accept it without adjusting costs or adding a handling. There is a $10,000 per occurrence fine for violating this rule.

“I have only a short period of time to make all the plans for the funeral.” You have as much time as you need. In fact, making hasty decisions regarding a funeral can often be disappointing and costly. If you have just lost a loved one, it’s advisable to take the time to look at the whole picture and then divide that into individual tasks. Select one funeral home and stay with them. Carefully read their General Price List and other cost schedules. Be conscientious in choosing the services you need and those that you don’t. Finally, insist that the schedule fit your family’s needs since you are paying for the funeral home’s services.

“Only a funeral home can perform funerals.” In every state in the Unites States, you can be your own funeral director. Only five states require that a funeral director be involved in the funeral process. Home funerals may take a lot more effort, but the option is available. Check your state board which oversees funerals.

“Funeral homes have total control over the price of the funeral.” This is not true. The funeral home is required to give you a copy of its General Price List that reflects the services and the corresponding prices. You are not required to use every service offered. Services can be declined by the family. Only the “Basic Fee” is required.

"There is a lot of mystery surrounding funeral homes." Here are the facts: you have a lot of control. Take a friend or relative with you, someone you trust to give you good advice, whenever planning a funeral. Encourage your friend or relative to ask the funeral director questions about where your money is going. Agree to pay only for those services you know, understand, and want.