Who wants to even think about such gloomy matters like arranging a funeral? Don't answer that. It's virtually no one. That's the way funeral home owners prefer it, because if you make your decisions about funeral arrangements immediately following the death of a family member, you'll probably accept the terms and costs with little resistance. Emotionally, we are too vulnerable.
It's a terrible time to be confronted with decisions that will ultimately cost as much as an automobile.
Please understand - there are funeral directors who do care. But even they have overhead and profits to be concerned with. Where do a majority of those profits come from? You guessed it; the products you buy from them - most notably Caskets and Burial Containers.
How do I know?
A few years ago, when my brother Don and I set out to arrange the funeral of a close (and dearly missed) member of our family, we were stunned to find what it costs to have even a basic funeral. I'm not sure how Don knew that other options were even available, but he kindly asked the funeral director if it was permissible for us to "shop around" for a casket.
It turns out that Federal Law requires funeral homes to accept and use a casket purchased from a third party and our funeral director (though visibly disappointed) shared this tid-bit of information with us. So we went shopping.
What we found was shocking. The same (and I mean the SAME) casket that we almost paid $6000 at the funeral home for was available through a local discount retail store for less than half that cost. Later we found out that by using an on-line retailer we could have saved even more.
So the moral to my story is simple:
Maybe even donate the money you save to a charitable cause in honor of your dearly departed. If at all possible, arm yourself with information before the need arises and you will be better prepared to handle the situation.
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