In this column, we usually talk about ways to avoid scams and make smart choices for ourselves and our families in everyday decisions. But it’s also important to talk about the difficult things, and nothing is more difficult than losing a loved one.
Most of us don’t even want to think about funerals, and as a result, we may find ourselves at a disadvantage when we must. Forced to make final settlement decisions quickly can make us vulnerable to scams.
Knowing the wishes of our loved ones in advance can help us make more informed decisions when the time comes to make these difficult decisions. And knowing what’s available before making these tough decisions can help us sort through the confusing details.
Common Funeral Scams
Some funeral homes will try to make you buy additional purchases or additional services, calling them “requirements.”
Payment in advance
Long-term planning for a funeral is always a good option. It can also relieve the remaining members of your family from the financial burden of a funeral.
It may be a good idea, but first ask yourself a couple of questions: If you retire out of state, will those prepaid funds be honored? Will the funeral home continue to operate?
Buying a coffin when cremating
If they decided to burn their loved one, they are not obliged to buy a coffin: what would be the goal? If the body of your loved ones needs to be veiled prior to cremation, you can choose to purchase a simple or inexpensive unfinished casket for that short period of time.
Like the casket, a funeral home should not charge you for embalming if you are cremating, as the body will not need to be kept for public viewing.
What you can do
Plan before you act: Regardless of whether planning is for yourself or for a loved one, it is always best to plan when you are not under stress. This way you can prevent funeral homes from charging you for additional items. Be sure to contact the DCP if you discover that the funeral services or products provided do not meet your contract, whether the services provided prepaid or when you need them.
Get all agreements in writing : This is very important, even if a funeral home is legitimate and trying to do the right thing, and you don’t want to scam you, having written contracts is always crucial to avoid miscommunication.
Request a detailed price list: You have the right to see a detailed price list when planning a funeral, so be sure to ask for one before making any decisions or purchases.