Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Get Caught Out by These 3 Hidden Funeral Costs

A funeral is one of the single most expensive purchases you will ever make. It may seem like a fairly straightforward event, but there are so many small elements involved in the funeral process that grieving loved ones are often shocked by the final price tag. Knowing some of these hidden costs in advance can help you avoid being taken advantage of at a vulnerable time. 

Acknowledgement Packages


An acknowledgement package is a broad term used by funeral homes to cover small items like guest register books, funeral pamphlets and candles. Some funeral homes include this in a package price, but some do not. If you're aren't covered by a funeral plan, you can expect to pay a lot for these extras. 

This can be avoided by seeking out a package with these items included, or simply having family and friends assist you in creating or obtaining these items on your own. 

Caskets


It's all too easy to make an emotional decision when it comes to a casket out of a sense of duty to the deceased, and funeral home staff may try to take advantage of this by showing you expensive casket options first and banking on the fact that you will choose one impulsively. 

If lower-priced casket models aren't on display in a funeral showroom, insist on seeing them or asking for a catalog or price list with different options. Additionally, there is a host of online casket retailers with competitive prices, and they will be happy to ship a casket to your chosen funeral home. 

Cemetery Services


Many people don’t realize that they will have to pay for the labor performed at graveside services. This includes setting up chairs and awnings and lowering the casket into the grave. Opening and closing the grave can also be very expensive. 

One way to reduce the cost of the labor is by avoiding Saturday services. Labor costs tend to be more reasonable on weekdays than on weekends. Also, keeping the length of the graveside service to a minimum means that you will not be paying for multiple employees to wait at length in order to close the grave. 

Do not give in to pressure from funeral home staff when it comes to making these important choices. Have someone go to the funeral home with you to provide a voice of reason if need be, and always ask for a detailed list of what services you're paying for.


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