Understanding the Funeral Price List
According to federal regulations, every funeral home must provide a General Price List that outlines specific funeral costs. This list is typically provided when you sit down with the funeral director to go over your options, and may be accompanied by a list of burial package deals. Most experts suggest you take a moment to review the list, or even get a copy to take home and go over with your family before you make any final decisions.
Why the General Price List is a Valuable Funeral Planning Tool
The funeral price list is a great way to comparison shop for a funeral or to get a better understanding of your options regarding burial versus cremation. However, it can be complicated to read and understand—especially since you may be feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable due to your recent loss.
You can also get a copy of a General Price List before death occurs. Funeral pre-planning can be a great way to save money and reduce the burden on your loved ones, and this can be an ideal way to set money aside for a funeral (and even specify your wishes) without tying your money up in a formal pre-plan package or funeral insurance policy.
What is Included in the General Price List
In most cases, the General Price List will begin with “package funerals.” These are a great way to plan a funeral if you want to avoid the hassle of making decisions over every tiny funeral planning detail—but they don’t always save you the most money. To substantially lower your funeral costs, you may need to purchase items a la carte and pull together a funeral plans that way.
The General Price List will also include costs for:
- Basic services fee
- Embalming costs (not required unless you are transporting the body)
- Body transportation
- Body viewing
- Funeral service/memorial service
- Caskets and other funeral merchandise
- Grave markers/urns
- Direct burial/cremation
In almost all cases, you can build a funeral the way you want based on these items (the only non-negotiable cost is usually the basic services fee). You can also opt to have many of these items purchased from a third-party vendor and have them delivered to the funeral home. Legally, funeral homes may not charge you a handling fee for these third-party items, and must accept them in lieu of their own items.
Saving Money with Funeral Planning
There is still quite a bit of stigma attached to funeral planning on a budget, but funeral homes and consumers are working together to change all that. With funeral planning features like the General Price List and advance planning, you can take the time you need to gather pricing information and make the decisions that are not only right for your family, but right for your income level, as well.
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By Amy Johnson