Feature Articles - Aging
Planning funerals in advance makes decisions easier
Brenda Procter, M.S., State Specialist & Instructor, Personal Financial Planning, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension
Americans spend billions of dollars a year to arrange more than
2 million funerals for family members and friends. Consumers who
make funeral arrangements in advance can compare prices and services
so the funeral reflects a well-informed purchasing decision, honors
the deceased, and is meaningful to survivors.
When you shop for funeral products and services pre-need:
- Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Choose
a reputable funeral home so you know they will still be in business
when the need arises.
- Ask for a price list. By law, funeral homes must
give you written price lists for products and services. You
can supply your own casket or urn.
- Resist pressure to buy goods and services you don’t
- Avoid emotional overspending. You can properly honor
a loved one without the fanciest casket or the most elaborate
- Recognize your rights. Funerals and burial laws vary
from state to state. For information about Missouri funeral
rules and laws or to file a complaint, see
or contact the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors
- Apply the same smart shopping techniques you use for
other major purchases. You can cut costs by limiting the
viewing to one day or one hour before the funeral and by dressing
your loved one in a favorite outfit instead of costly burial
- Plan ahead to comparison shop without time constraints, discuss the funeral with your family and limit the burden they will carry when they are grieving. If you are planning your own service, you may want to review and revise your decision every few years.
The FTC also offers a consumer guide to funeral planning, complete with a price checklist, glossary of terms, a description of services, information sources and a list of questions to ask. To request a copy of Funerals, A Consumer Guide, or for additional information, call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or visit the website http://ftc.gov/.
Adapted from “Pre-Planning Funerals Helps Make Decisions Easier,” (Federal Trade Commission), http://www.ftc.gov/ bcp/edu/pubs/articles/naps06.pdf (accessed November 14, 2008).
Last update: Tuesday, October 11, 2011