cemetery fraudFor five years, the National Funeral Directors Association has conducted an annual Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study. This year, the findings have indicated that customers understand the importance of preplanning a funeral but don’t make the effort to do so. In fact, it seems around 62 percent felt it was important to tell their family their final wishes yet only around 21 percent actually communicated that information with their loved ones.

The survey took many factors of the purchasing process into account and have painted an image of what the average consumer looks like in funeral homes and how the trends in funerals have shifted this year.

Services Shifting from Funeral Homes

While funeral homes were previously the go-to choice for funerals, nearly half of all respondants in the survey had attended a funeral or multiple funerals that were held at a less traditional site. This includes a cemetery in an outdoor setting, at a home, or other more meaningful locations that had implications toward the interests or way the deceased lived their life.

Religion at Historic Low

Compared to 49.5 percent of people surveyed feeling it was very important to have religion incorporaed in some way at a funeral, only 39.5 percent answered the same in 2017, which represents an all time low in importance of religion in end-of-life services. This comes as little surprise considering the more general trend of fewer Americans identifying with a religion or set of religious beliefs than ever before. The trend has led more and more families to seek a non0clergy celebrant to oversee proceedings.

Therapy Dogs

A new possible trend in funerals is implementing therapy dogs to guide services while offering comfort to attendees. In fact, 34.5 percent of respondents indicated an interest in therapy dogs at a funeral service or a memorial. This shows a distinct change in ideas and attitude when it comes to end-of-life services compared to the accepted norm over the years.

The surveys also showed more families plan memorial services when choosing cremation, green funerals are becoming popular and most concerning, consumers are not shopping around for funeral homes. Overall, this shows families are leaning toward more personalized means of celebrating a life of their loved one. However, not shopping around for funeral services can be a dire mistake. If you settled for a funeral home without shopping around and feel you were taken advantage of, contact us at Bochetto & Lentz today to find out if your case qualifies as cemetery fraud or similar legal issues.