This article will help with the death portion.
Since a funeral has many intricacies, this will help to explain a funeral home's General Price List (GPL).
This list gives details about the goods and services that the funeral home offers, including the price of each.
The Federal Trade Commission has mandated a Funeral Rule that states that funeral homes must give customers a GPL at the beginning of any discussion of arrangements.
You should be given a copy to keep.
It is most prudent to discuss the GPL in private with your family and close friends.
This way you can make an informed decision without the selling tactics of the funeral director.
All GPLs have certain disclosures printed on them.
They must state that: .
consumers may select only the goods and services they desire .
embalming is only required by law in certain special cases .
a basic services fee will be added .
for cremation, you can purchase an "alternative container".
This option is usually much less expensive.
A price list for caskets is available .
A price list for vaults is available GPLs must list the following prices of these items if the funeral home offers these services: .
Embalming charge .
Retrieval of body .
Viewing price .
Funeral or memorial service .
Funeral vehicle rental Reading the GPL can seem quite daunting to people, especially if they have just experienced a death in the family.
Funeral homes use the tactic of listing "packages" on the first few pages and then listing the individual services on the last page.
This serves to discourage people from price comparison because it they often get tired prior to reaching the itemized list.
To be fair, buying a package deal may offer savings but only if you want all the items.
Direct cremation and immediate burial, the simplest options when it comes to funerals, include body pickup, basic services fee, death certificate filing and transportation to the cemetery or crematory.
If you are opting for cremation, be sure to inquire about the crematory fee.
Many funeral homes do not include this fee in their price.
If you want a more complex service, you must start with the basic services fee.
This is the only fee on the GPL that the customer must pay.
This will cover the death certificate filing, obtaining copies of the death certificate for the family, coordination with the cemetery or crematory and filing for insurance, veterans, or Social Security benefits.
These are services that are common to most arrangements.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance has reviewed tens of thousands of GPLs over the years.
At least 50% do not comply with FTC rules.
If you are dealing with a funeral home that has a GPL that is overtly out of compliance, you are dealing with a business that is unethical.
I have listed some of the most common violations: .
For immediate burial, charging a higher price if you purchase the casket outside of the funeral home.
Not giving you the choice of "disinfecting/basic care of the remains.
Adding "supervising a funeral service" into the basic services fee GPLs are not complicated documents but they must be read carefully and thoroughly.
Unfortunately, the timing that necessitates the review of the GPL makes it prudent to confer with family and close friends prior to making any decisions about the funeral process.
A GPL is a valuable and necessary document and it should be carefully reviewed in order to make smart financial decisions about a funeral service.