Planning a funeral is stressful, but understanding funeral pricing and your various options can lessen the strain.
Balancing financial considerations with the emotional burden of loss is no easy task. There are endless options and choices to consider, too, so it’s smart to get informed about the process. In the following article, we have compiled some helpful information about funeral pricing and payment options that every consumer should know.
The General Price List is your starting point.
When you request information about funeral pricing or arrangements from a provider, they should give you a General Price List. Under federal law, the General Price List must contain current prices for specified funeral-related goods and services, including what the industry calls a “basic services fee”. This fee is required and includes services that are common to all funerals, regardless of the specific arrangement, such as obtaining copies of the death certificate, securing any permits needed, sheltering the remains, and coordinating the arrangements. The fee does not include any optional services or products such as caskets.
‘Other services and merchandise’ may include many elements.
These consist of a variety of optional goods and services, such as transporting the remains; embalming and other preparation; use of the funeral home for the viewing, ceremony or memorial service; use of equipment and staff for a graveside service; use of a hearse or limousine; a casket, outer burial container or alternate container; and cremation or interment.
Caskets vary widely in style and price.
The casket is often the single most expensive item for a traditional funeral. Typically, it is constructed of metal, wood, fiberboard, fiberglass, or plastic. You may purchase a casket from the funeral home or various vendors such as Amazon, Walmart, or Costco. Some funeral providers also offer casket rentals. Keep in mind that funeral providers cannot that the casket be purchased through them and they cannot charge a fee for using one that was purchased elsewhere.
Choose only the services you want.
Funeral providers cannot insist that you purchase a package or pay for a service that you do not want or need, such as limousine rental. The only mandatory item is the basic services fee, which can vary widely.
Embalming is not always necessary.
Many funeral homes require embalming if you're planning a viewing or visitation. But embalming is not usually necessary or legally required if the body is buried or cremated shortly after death. Eliminating this service can reduce the total funeral cost by hundreds of dollars.
For cremation, a number of options exist.
Many families that choose cremation opt to rent a casket from the funeral home for the visitation and funeral, eliminating the cost of buying a casket. For those who choose a direct cremation without a viewing or other ceremony where the body is present, the funeral provider must offer an inexpensive unfinished wood box or alternative container, a non-metal enclosure that is cremated with the body.
Get to know the ins and outs of funeral payments.
Many people don’t realize that funeral payment is required up-front, so having a financial plan in place is essential. There are many ways to pay for a funeral, whether in advance or at the time of need. Each has its own risks and benefits, so it is up to you to decide which payment method is right for you. The four main types are:
- Prepaid Funeral Plans
Many people choose to pay for a funeral in advance with a prepaid funeral plan. Evan W. Smith offers the option to pay ahead. Whether it’s a one-time payment or through installments, by choosing to pay now, you avoid the risk of price increases or inflation affecting the cost of your service.
- Life Insurance or Final Expense Plan
Families often plan to cover funeral expenses with a life insurance policy or final expense policy. However, there can be many unexpected complications and it may take 6 to 8 weeks to receive payment.
- Pay on Death account
Some families choose to set up a pay-on-death account with a named beneficiary. This option allows assets to be available to heirs without having to go through probate. However, there are a few disadvantages to maintaining a personal pay-on-death account, such as reduced purchasing power over time. These accounts are also at risk of being seized due to civil judgments, bankruptcy, or divorce.
- Credit Card or Funeral Loan
Another possibility to pay for a funeral is using a credit card or taking out a personal loan. Some lending companies offer funeral loans with special financing.
We are committed to serving you with honesty and respect.
Why pay for funeral items you don’t want or need? Evan W. Smith offers a wide variety of quality funeral services, caskets, urns, and burial containers to satisfy your needs and budget. A number of payment options are also available to ease your financial burden.
Whatever your preference, from a simple burial to a traditional ceremony among loved ones, our friendly, professional staff is ready to serve you. We would be honored to assist you in exploring your options, so please contact us anytime.
About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, grief counseling, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit www.ewsmithfs.com.