Funeral Planning Pricing

Before reading todays post, I am pleased to alert you to the recent revisions of BoosBucketList blog. 

The new offical name is "LastingMatters".  The LastingMatters website is set to launch in early 2014!  Please continue to share "BoosBucketList.com" with your family and friends while I make the transition. You need not do anything to your subscription-just enjoy the new look!

Now, does this type of building look familiar to you?

Planning the funeral for your loved one is a profoundly emotional and very personal experience.  Unfortunately, planning funerals usually occurs at a time when the family is grief stricken and, for the most part, totally unprepared.

Not all funeral homes and their directors will like this but, according to Josh Slocum, it is perfectly legal to plan and have your family members orchestrate your own funeral.  Josh Slocum is author of "Final Rights:Reclaiming the American Way of Death".  Josh looks at how the big and hugely profitable business of burying the dead has changed drastically over the past several decades.

You can, if you choose to, actually bury your loved one in your backyard, just like they did in the olden days.  The only thing you can't do by law that a funeral home can do, is the process of embalming. There are no laws, however, that require you to have a casket or to actually be embalmed.  Cemeteries have their own set of standards and requirements if you choose go the "do it yourself" route.  Better to know the rules and restrictions ahead of time.

I am not a proponent of  the "do it yourself" approach to funeral planning and burial, but I do wish to share some thoughts about the cost benefits of planning ahead.

We have forgotten, in this fast paced spendthrift society, that funerals should be approached and treated like any other large significant purchase. It's the same skill set you use when buying a new car or a home. You shop around. You look for the best value and you should ask a lot of questions. Make sure you research all of the options available. If you don't plan, you will most likely make hasty decisions, clouded by grief, at a time when your ability to think straight is compromised, leaving you vulnerable to costly and overreaching decisions.

What is done at or spent for a funeral will not make anyone any less honored or less loved. Cost does not equal love.

So what is reasonable? Pricing is all over the map. You may think the local funeral home has moderate pricing, but if you don't look around and compare prices at different funeral homes within a 10 mile radius, you won't know, and you may get sold a bill of goods.

Check out the tips provided on Funerals.org.  You have rights. So what should you look for?

-funeral homes must present price lists
-item by item funeral costs-you don't need to pick the whole package; customize, pick and choose
-how are you treated by the funeral director and staff? 
-have all your questions been answered to your satisfaction?
-do you feel pressured to buy something?

Funerals are an enormously profitable business and have become commercialized.  The recent cover story picture and article in Bloomberg Businessweek titled "Death, Inc." is a fascinating look at Service Corporation International, as this company scoops up smaller neighborhood funeral homes, shaping itself into what appears to be a gigantic funeral industy monopoly!

Denial and continued avoidance of the difficult conversations around topics such as funeral planning pricing often creates more problems when the inevitable happens. Family arguments seem to erupt during times of great stress and uncontrollable grief. Planning ahead is beneficial if you want to save money, time, stress and family discourse.

Just remember that paying ahead is not necessary. After all, you don't know if the funeral home you gave money to will still be in business when the time comes to collect on your deposit. So for now, perhaps you should just save enough funds in a separate account to cover your funeral costs. 

Funeral Planning Prices

If you have any funeral pricing stories to share, I look forward to reading your comments below.