BBB Offers Funeral Planning Tips

Benjamin Franklin is known for saying that the only things for certain are death and taxes. With this year’s tax deadline a distant memory, it’s time to move on to what you need to know about funeral planning. This is one time that any advance planning you do now will be much appreciated by your loved ones later on.

Things to consider include what type of funeral it should be, which funeral provider to use, if the body is to be buried, cremated or donated to science, and which services are required and which are options. And most importantly, what is it all going to cost?

“Planning a funeral after a death is an emotional and trying situation when many survivors are unable to think clearly and rationally,” said Shelley Polansky, vice president of communications for Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming. “Pre-planning makes the grieving process easier for all concerned.”

While many funeral providers offer various “packages” of goods and services for different kinds of funerals, they must provide you with an itemized list of goods and services that you purchase separately.

Your BBB and the Federal Trade Commission offer these tips to help you shop for funeral services:

  • Shop around in advance. Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Remember that you can supply your own casket or urn. Don’t forget to check out the business at bbb.org.
  • Ask for a price list. The law requires funeral homes to give you written price lists for products and services.
  • Resist pressure to buy goods and services you don’t really want or need.
  • Avoid emotional overspending. It’s not necessary to have the fanciest casket or the most elaborate funeral to properly honor a loved one.
  • Recognize your rights. Laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state. It’s a smart move to know which goods or services the law requires you to purchase and which are optional.
  • Apply the same smart-shopping techniques you use for other major purchases. You can cut costs by limiting the viewing to one day or one hour before the funeral (or not at all), and by dressing your loved one in a favorite outfit instead of costly burial clothing.
  • Shop in advance. It allows you to comparison shop without time constraints, creates an opportunity for family discussion, and lifts some of the burden from your family.

Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit bbb.org.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming, founded in 1983 and serving 38 counties in Northern Colorado and Wyoming, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.

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