IFDA strongly urges families to plan ahead in determining their funeral goods and service options. It is important that all members of the immediate family are involved in these discussions and understand why each individual has chosen specific options. This will avoid confusion and misunderstanding at the time of need for these services.
Learn more about having the Talk of the Lifetime.
Establish Your Values
Each individual and every family may have different values which will drive the sort of experience they are looking for in a service. These values are based on religious philosophy, ethnic customs, and family traditions. They will help determine the funeral goods and service options the family will select and the total cost of the funeral.
Visit Several Funeral Homes
It is important to visit a funeral home in your community that best fits your families individual funeral service needs and values. Funeral service is a very diverse business and profession. Different funeral homes offer different goods and services at a wide range of pricing options.
Obtain Service and Pricing Information
As a funeral service consumer, you are entitled to certain service and pricing information BEFORE funeral arrangements are made and goods or services are purchased. The Funeral Rule is the federal regulation enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that entitles consumers to price disclosures before arrangements are completed.
You should receive a General Price List (GPL), which describes the funeral home’s services and prices. There is also a a Casket Price List (CPL), which describes the funeral home’s casket inventory and prices and an Outer Container Price List (OPL), which describes the funeral homes vault inventory and prices. A Statement of Funeral Goods and Services, will be provided which describes in detail the goods and services the funeral home is providing to you and the cost of those goods and services.
Plan Payments Ahead
IFDA strongly urges families to plan ahead in determining how they will pay funeral costs. There are a number of options including pre-need payment programs offered by your funeral home; or, insurance policies, savings accounts, certificates of deposit or other instruments you can invest in or purchase.
Pre-Planning & Prefunding
Many people will find that planning ahead will create the peace of mind for themselves and their families that they need, especially in the times where our loved ones should have the space to grieve versus the worries of making decisions and plans based on unknown wishes.
Trusts & Insurance Policies
For more detailed information on the selection of a trust or insurance policy, we have prepared a resource for the public with information to help navigate your selections. This information is by no means a replacement for the valuable time and attention a funeral director or pre-planning specialist can devote to answering your questions. IFDA encourages consumers to reach out to funeral homes in your community for help and education you may need to make an informed decision on your plans or those of your loved ones for whom you may be assisting in planning.
Questions to Ask
Below are some basic questions you may wish to ask your licensed funeral director before signing a pre-need contract:
- Are the services and merchandise specified?
- Is the cost of each service and merchandise item specified in your contract?
- Is the total purchase price and the terms under which it is to be paid stated?
- What are the conditions under which you may cancel the contract?
- Under what conditions, if any, may a substitution be made?
- Is the agreement revocable or irrevocable, and who has the authority to revoke the contract?
- Will any penalties accompany the cancellation of the contract?
- Is the contract a guaranteed or a non-guaranteed price contract?
- What amount or percentage of your money paid for the pre-need contract is to be placed in trust?
- What is the disposition of interest and what fees and expenses, if incurred, may be charged?
- Is the contract funded by a trust fund or insurance?
- What happens if the funeral home or cemetery sells or closes the business?
- Can you cancel or transfer your contract if you move out of state?
- Are you selecting a perpetual or a nonperpetual care cemetery?
- If the cemetery merchandise selected is warehoused, where is it warehoused?
- What happens if the death occurs outside the area normally served by the funeral home or cemetery?