When a death occurs, it can be extremely daunting to think practically about performing the last rites of your beloved one. In cases where a person dies after a long illnesses, it’s possible that the families have been able to prepare themselves for the many choices they will have to make and the budget for the costs involved. However, when death occurs suddenly, planning a cremation, funeral or any kind of last rites ceremony can be an extremely confusing and costly affair, making the whole process even more stressful.
If you have never arranged a funeral before, the chances are high that you may be overwhelmed with the number of things that you need to consider, take care of and make decisions for. To go along with this, you are still in emotional turmoil and vulnerable when it comes to deciding what kind of services make sense for you. Funeral costs, if not well planned, can be extremely hard on your financial situation.
In an attempt to guide you through this difficult process, we have outlined some important considerations for you as it relates to options and costs when employing the assistance from a funeral home.
According to the rules and regulations, a funeral director is required to have a written authorization from you to perform disposition services. In many cases, verbal consent can help them to start preparing for the services, but a formal written confirmation is a must. In this confirmation, the various services and arrangements, as well as the flow of events, will be indicated and itemized. This written agreement has to be affirmed before the actual cremation or burial.
The cost of funeral services can range anywhere between a thousand to even twenty thousand dollars or more, depending on what kinds of services you opt for. The amount you pay will directly relate to which funeral provider you choose to work with and what services you hire them to help you with. All funeral providers will have “professional service” fees that are not optional, such as administrative fees, basic transportation costs for the deceased, care of the deceased and government fees. There are many other services that a funeral provider can offer that are optional, such as planning a memorial service, providing additional/specialized transportation (use of a hearse for a funeral or limousine service for family and friends) and providing merchandise (caskets, urns, specialized stationary for memorial services, flowers, etc.). The scope of the assistance from your funeral provider will determine the final cost.
The other costs to consider may come from a cemetery. As with funeral homes, cemeteries can set their rates as they see fit. They too will have fees that are not optional and fees that are optional. The range of options at a cemetery for the interment of cremated remains will also differ between cemeteries. It is common for most cemeteries to offer to bury the ashes in the ground and some cemeteries may also have provision for interring the ashes in a columbarium, still others may offer other memorialization options, such as a scattering area, a memorial bench or tree, and so on.
Many people believe that it is less costly to be cremated than to be buried. This is only true if the cremation options chosen by families translates into a savings, however it is also just as possible to have a final bill for cremation and all the services chosen to go along with the cremation that is as costly as a burial.
Funeral home costs and cemetery fees can be paid for in advance. If one chooses to pay in advance there are some important things to know.
- The money paid for in advance to cover funeral-related costs is held in trust and managed either by the funeral provider or by an insurance company.
- You, as the consumer, will receive an itemized contract outlining what you’ve paid for and what the terms and conditions of the contract are.
- Some fees that are paid for in advance are guaranteed regardless if the price increases in time, while some fees are not guaranteed (meaning that if the cost for a non-guaranteed item is higher when the contract is fulfilled, the inflated cost will have to be paid).
- Some funeral providers employ commissioned sales staff to encourage people to pre-pay for funeral services.
There are many decisions to make when someone dies and the best way to prepare to make decisions that reflect your values is to plan as much as possible ahead of time. None of us know when we or someone we care about will die, so leaving funeral decisions until death has occurred may add another layer of stress and complication that you are not prepared for. Talk to your family, friends and trustworthy professionals like KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony™ to understand the costs and services involved so that when the time comes you can make educated and thoughtful choices based on your values and budget.
Our staff at KORU are available to answer your questions in a calm, reliable and empathetic manner.
To start learning about the scope of choices you’ll be asked to make when someone dies, please take advantage of our many resources and transparent pricing information on the KORU website.