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One of the key topics covered in our books is funeral planning.
Our approach includes:
• a roadmap of the topics and decisions related to planning final arrangements ("funeral planning")
• an easy, user-friendly format that provides useful information and links to trustworthy resources
• asks smart questions and gives lots of blank spaces and checkboxes so users can quickly and document their decisions.
• users are free to add as much or as little detail as they'd like.
Click here to read an article by Mark Gavagan on our AffairsOrganizer.com website about the importance of letting your family know (in writing so they don't forget) how expensive your final arrangements should be. Doing this costs little or nothing and can literally save your family thousands of dollars.
For consumer advice about funeral purchases, as well as information about your legal rights, click here to visit the web page for the Federal Trade Commission’s free publication “Funerals: A Consumer Guide” or call them toll-free 1-877-382-4357.
Here are some excerpts from the guide:
• When a loved one dies, grieving family members and friends often are confronted with dozens of decisions
about the funeral - all of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional duress
• Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many consumers will ever make. A traditional funeral,
including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000, although “extras” like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment
cards or limousines can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line. Many funerals run well over
$10,000. [ Author’s note: You can save thousands of dollars with good planning and comparison shopping ]
• Even if you’re the kind of person who might haggle with a dozen dealers to get the best price on a new car,
you’re likely to feel uncomfortable comparing prices or negotiating over the details and cost of a funeral
• Some people “overspend” on a funeral or burial because they think of it as a reflection of their feelings for the
• There’s a federal law (The Funeral Rule) that makes it easier for you to choose only those goods and services
you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements pre-need or at need
• The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires funeral directors to give you itemized
prices in person and, if you ask, over the phone. The Rule also requires funeral directors to give you other
information about their goods and services. For example, if you ask about funeral arrangements in person, the
funeral home must give you a written price list to keep that shows the goods and services the home offers. If
you want to buy a casket or outer burial container, the funeral provider must show you descriptions of the
available selections and the prices before actually showing you the caskets.
• Many funeral providers offer various “packages” of commonly selected goods and services that make up a
funeral. But when you arrange for a funeral, you have the right to buy individual goods and services. That is,
you do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.
• According to the Funeral Rule:
• you have the right to choose the funeral goods and services you want (with some exceptions).
• the funeral provider must state this right in writing on the general price list.
• if state or local law requires you to buy any particular item, the funeral provider must disclose it
on the price list, with a reference to the specific law.
• the funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket you bought elsewhere.
• a funeral provider that offers cremations must make alternative containers available.
Alternative Container: An unfinished wood box or other non-metal receptacle without ornamentation, often made of fiberboard, pressed wood or composition materials, and generally lower in cost than caskets.
Casket/Coffin: A box or chest for burying remains.
Cemetery Property: A grave, crypt or niche.
Cemetery Services: Opening and closing graves, crypts or niches; setting grave liners and vaults; setting markers; and long-term maintenance of cemetery grounds and facilities.
Columbarium: A structure with niches (small spaces) for placing cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.
Cremation: Exposing remains and the container encasing them to extreme heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size and consistency.
Crypt: A space in a mausoleum or other building to hold cremated or whole remains.
Disposition: The placement of cremated or whole remains in their final resting place.
Endowment Care Fund: Money collected from cemetery property purchasers and placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery.
Entombment: Burial in a mausoleum.
Funeral Ceremony: A service commemorating the deceased, with the body present.
Funeral Services: Services provided by a funeral director and staff, which may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation, shelter, refrigeration and embalming of remains; preparing and filing notices; obtaining authorizations and permits; and coordinating with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties.
Funeral Planning Society: See Memorial Society.
Grave: A space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of remains.
Grave Liner: a concrete or other cover that fits over a casket in a grave. Some liners cover tops and sides of the casket. Others, referred to as vaults, completely enclose the casket. Grave liners minimize ground settling.
Graveside Service: A service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery before burial.
Interment: Burial in the ground, inurnment or entombment.
Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains in an urn.
Mausoleum: A building in which remains are buried or entombed. Memorial Service: A ceremony commemorating the deceased, without the body present.
Memorial Society: An organization that provides information about funerals and disposition, but is not part of the state-regulated funeral industry.
Niche: A space in a columbarium, mausoleum or niche wall to hold an urn.
Urn: A container to hold cremated remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, or buried in the ground.
Vault: A grave liner that completely encloses a casket.
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