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Oh by the way

It is estimated that a person has to deal with the death of a close family member every 17 years. Think of the myriad changes during those 17 years. Now think about trying to make sound consumer decisions based on information from nearly a generation ago. It’s almost impossible.

I get asked all the time how much a funeral costs. My answer is always: “It depends.” This is NOT a smart answer. If someone tells you that the cost of a funeral will be X amount of dollars, be prepared for the “oh, by the way, this or this wasn’t included.” Too many factors enter the equation for a quick and easy answer. This is a list of possible questions you may need to think about to begin determining the cost of a funeral.

Will the funeral be public or private? Visit and see? Religious services? Services at the funeral home, church or elsewhere? What will be the final disposition? Burial or cremation? If buried, which cemetery or mausoleum? How much does it cost to open/close a tomb or mausoleum? Can I buy a grave from another grave owner? Do I need a burial vault? Tombside or chapel? In case of cremation, what will be done with the cremated remains? Will the cremated remains be interred, entombed, scattered, portioned, or multiple options? How many death certificates are needed? What do you need a death certificate for? How much do newspaper death notices cost? Will a photo added to the death notice change the price? Will there be a funeral lunch? how much are flowers worth How much does a coffin, burial vault, tombstone, stamps, registration book, use of facilities, urn, hairdresser, church, organist, soloist, dove release or balloon release cost? Do you offer cremation memorial jewelry? As a veteran, am I eligible for free graves in a national cemetery? Can I use insurance to pay for services? Do you accept credit cards or PayPal? Can I make payments? Can I pre-arrange for my own cremation? How do I know my wishes will be carried out?

These are just some of the questions that need answers. Sometimes these responses need to be done in a very short period of time. If you have some time to research options, by all means do so. People often make changes to their plans as they discover more options and corresponding prices. The most important thing is to ask questions. An educated consumer makes good decisions.

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