When you lose a loved one, you're flooded with many strong emotions. It's important that you take care of yourself and deal with your grief. Unfortunately, you still have to make arrangements for the cremation.
Since you're in such a vulnerable state, though, it can be easy to make costly decisions if you aren't properly prepared. Thankfully, you can follow a few tips to determine the details for a cremation without being taken advantage of during this sensitive time.
Research Potential Funeral, And Cremation Services
In most cases, people automatically choose funeral or cremation services that other family members have used or ones that are located closest to them. However, you might find a better option elsewhere that fits into your budget and provides the specific services that you want.
There are two ways that you can start this research. The first way is to ask the hospital for a list of funeral and crematon serevices. Most of these facilities keep lists on hand for the convenience of patients' families. The second way is to research online to find funeral homes in your area. It's best to search within a 25-mile radius.
However, there's no guarantee that all of the options you find will be cost-effective. Because of that, you should call the ones that interest you to ask how much they charge for services. Some of the services that you need to get prices for include:
- Transporting your loved one.
- The embalming or refrigeration.
- The cremation itself.
- An urn for the cremains or ashes.
- The viewing.
With the prices in hand, and remembering that some companies have "Hidden & Addon Fees", you can compare the options. Then, you can make an informed decision about where to have the cremation and viewing.
Get a Written Statement and Price Confirmation
Although it's horrible to think that a funeral home will take advantage of you during the grieving process, it could happen. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by knowing the law.
The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Funeral Rule. It allows you to get cost information over the phone and a written list of itemized prices when you visit a funeral home. You can also choose only the arrangements that you want for the cremation. Next, you're entitled to a written, itemized statement of the services that you choose before you pay for them. You can also request an explanation for each price.
By understanding your rights under this law, you can avoid being overcharged for a cremation. Any funeral home that doesn't respect these rights could be trying to take advantage of you.
Purchase an Urn From Somewhere Else, If The Price Is To High
You aren't legally required to purchase an urn from the funeral home where you make cremation and viewing arrangements. On the contrary, the Funeral Rule gives you the right to buy an urn elsewhere and give it to the funeral home to use. You can even build your own if you want.
The law prohibits the home from refusing to handle the urn that you provide. Because of that, you have the chance to choose something unique for your loved one's cremated remains.
In addition, there's no law that requires you to use a casket for the cremation. In fact, the Funeral Rule obligates the funeral home to tell you that alternatives are available. It must make those alternatives available as well. Usually, they're made of cardboard, fiberboard, pressed wood or unfinished wood.
Have a Memorial Instead of a Viewing
Although having a viewing at the funeral home is the most common, you don't have to pay for that service. You can choose to have a direct cremation, which skips the embalming and viewing. Since these can be costly, you can opt for planning a memorial at a church, community center, park or family member's home instead.
Along with saving money, having a memorial in a place that your loved one enjoyed allows you to design it as he or she would have liked. Keep in mind, though, that there are laws about how and where you can scatter cremains. Just make sure that you research the regulations for your area first.
Don't Plan It Alone
Although you might be the one making the final decisions for a cremation, you don't have to go through the process alone. Ask family members or close friends for their opinions and help. Lean on them for support while you navigate this period of grief.
It can be difficult to save money on a cremation after a loved one passes away. However, you can use these tips as a guide. If it's possible, though, make these plans beforehand. Then, your loved one can have input on what they want after death. It also means that you don't have to make tough choices when you're emotional.