Tips to Avoid Overpaying for Cremation

The passing of a loved one is an emotional time in anyone’s life. Navigating grief while it is still fresh can push everything else to the back of your mind, including the logistics required to plan and execute a cremation funeral. Unfortunately, arrangements still need to be made, and in such a raw state, it is easy to make rash decisions that can prove costly. Here are a few ways that you can make sure that you are not being taken advantage of when it comes to the details of what to do after a death. 

Feel Comfortable Doing Research
Many people opt to use the funeral home nearest them or one that family members have used. However, there are more options available that may better fit with what you are looking for. 

You should be willing to call a number of different providers to find out how much they charge for particular services. While hospitals often maintain lists of funeral homes for the convenience of their patients, there is no guarantee that the ones provided will be cost-effective. You will want to compare the costs for transport, caskets or containers required, the cremation itself, and any additional services required. 

Start by calling the funeral homes closest to the deceased, roughly within a 25 mile radius. If you do not find one that fits your specifications, expand the parameters until you find a provider that is within your budget. 

Get Price Confirmation Ahead Of Time
According to the “Funeral Rule,” enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, funeral directors are required to provide upfront pricing for any services to be rendered, and everything must be clearly itemized. It also stipulates that you receive a written statement listing what you will be charged for after you have agreed to it but before you have provided payment. Any legal requirements that you will charged for should be laid out and explained, as well. 

If a funeral home refuses to provide any of these things as required by law, they could be looking to overcharge you. 

Find Your Own Urn
Another one of the regulations outlined in the Funeral Rule is that families are allowed to purchase their own cremation urns or caskets:

“The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.”

You can find, build, or buy your own urn, which could ultimately be more cost-effective than using one provided by the funeral home. In addition, this is also an opportunity to do something unique with your loved one’s cremains. If you purchase one before you need it, you can save money on rush ordering and have greater control over the design and materials. The most important thing to keep in mind is urn capacity, rather than the exact measurements. 

Plan Your Own Ceremony
You don’t have to use the formal services that a funeral home provides, which can be costly. Rather, you can opt for a direct cremation, which involves no embalming, viewing or visitation, and then plan a ceremony on your own. This memorial can be in a park, community center, church, or home and can take whatever shape you and your loved ones deem most appropriate. There are laws regarding where and how you can scatter cremated remains, so be sure to complete appropriate research before the ceremony. 

Making cost-saving decisions can be difficult in the heat of the moment. For this reason, it can be helpful to create an end of life care plan before it is strictly necessary. This foresight allows the departed to have a greater say in their own arrangements and means that tough choices do not have to be made when emotions are running high.