For millions of Americans, pre-planning arrangements for funeral and burial expenses is a way to help alleviate some of the stress and pain after their death for their families. This includes paying some or all expenses ahead of time to make the transition easier both emotionally and financially on their loved ones. However, there are times this consideration goes foul due to dishonest operators that overcharge for services and products or even go as far as to list themselves as financial beneficiaries.
Individual states have laws that aim to offer protection and regulate the industry, including protection over advance payments and how they are handled. However, unscrupulous funeral home owners and other operators work against these efforts in clever ways to overcharge for services or otherwise take advantage of the circumstances. Rather than hoping for an honest operator, there are simple tips to follow when planning your arrangements.
Tips to Fight Against Fraud
The first and most important tip against fraud is to become an informed consumer. This starts at researching prices and shopping around effectively. Funeral homes are legally required to give you a list of their prices, even if you have not agreed to work with them. Many consumers are afraid to ask for such a list due to the pressure the salesperson puts on them, and many funeral homes try to bully consumers out of getting those lists. However, this is one of the best tools against being overcharged.
One of the best tips while becoming an informed consumer is to bring a friend or a relative that is less emotional during the process and can give a clear-headed perspective during your difficult time. This will be helpful when educating yourself on caskets. An important fact to know about caskets is that they are not required for direct cremation, yet many funeral homes present it as though it is required. This can save a lot of money that could be better used during the funeral. In the same vein, embalming is also not legally required for direct cremations.
The second most important tip is to read all contracts and agreements very carefully. The salesperson will try to talk around suspect agreements but what is in writing is what is legally binding. If something in writing makes you uncomfortable, don’t let the person you are dealing with talk around it. They may have a verbal explanation, but that verbal explanation is not what you are agreeing to legally.
If you feel you are being taken advantage of, contact our team today. We have dealt with the industry for years and understand how the law is on the side of the consumer. Let us put our experience to work for you.