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End of Life

Funeral Planning Basics

Reviewed by: MySeniorCare Staff
Last Updated: 4/14/2010 10:31:44 AM

The death of a loved one can come as a shock, and family members involved with the funeral planning process may experience stress and feelings of overwhelm. When a loved one has recently passed or been diagnosed as terminally ill, you may need to conduct research online and offline to find the right funeral director or company to work with.

Funeral Planning Tips

Even though it can be overwhelming to deal with all of the details of funeral planning, creating a checklist of planning activities can make the process much easier and less stressful.

Here are some tips for funeral planning for a senior family member:

Get quotes from several funeral providers. All funeral providers have general price lists of services available, and this can help you create a realistic budget or expectation of expenses for the funeral. Don't be afraid to shop around for quotes so that you can make the most informed decision, and choose only the services you want.

Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission has published a report called 'Funerals: A Consumer Guide' that tells you what your rights are under federal law when planning your funeral.

According to the Federal Government's Funeral Rule, you have the right to choose the funeral goods and services you need and want (with some exceptions), and the funeral provider must include this right on their general price list. Since some state and local laws require that you purchase certain items for the funeral, this information must also be included on the price list.

Review online funeral resource providers. According to FuneralResources.com, 83% of families are turning to the Internet when planning a funeral. Online resources can help you compare quotes instantly, communicate with funeral directors in your area, and set up consultations with a few clicks of the mouse. Use the Internet to your advantage when seeking out funeral services.

Decide on the type of ceremony you want to provide. Family members who are planning the funeral are encouraged to map out the type of funeral service and any visitation service they wish to organize. Planners will need to decide where to conduct the services, whether other family members will be reading a eulogy, and if there will be a memorial service included.

Check state laws and regulations for funeral ceremonies. Most states have a licensing board in charge of setting rules and guidelines for funeral ceremonies.

In addition to state boards, there are several regional and international funeral organizations that offer consumer tips and advice.

You may also want to get in touch with:

  • Cremation Association of North America
  • National Cemetery & Funeral Association
  • Selected Independent Funeral Homes
  • Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program
  • AARP Fulfillment

Planning a funeral for a loved one can be overwhelming and stressful, but creating a plan of things you need to organize can help you honor your loved one in the best way possible.

Understanding your rights set forth by the Federal Government, getting quotes from different funeral providers, and checking with your state licensing board about funeral arrangements can help you make the most informed decisions about the event.

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