Funeral & Cremation Costs
Whenever families call on us to learn more about funeral & cremation costs, their desire to provide the highest quality of final care for a deceased loved one is often tempered by a number of social and emotional factors; concerns fueled by a low-level anxiety about what financial challenges the future may bring. In all honesty, people can find it very difficult to assess the value of funeral services or products in relation to their cost.
These are two critical things we discuss in relation to funeral costs, in the Let's Talk about Value in Relation to Cost section below. We ask you read further, and then call us at 313-881-8500 for any clarification about funeral costs you may need.
What's Included When Calculating Funeral Costs?
If you're unfamiliar with the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule, which was enacted in 1984 to empower and protect consumers; you'll want to know these guidelines act as the backbone of the consumer-oriented relationship you'll develop with any funeral director or funeral home. They ensure a high degree of transactional transparency, and protect your rights; including the right to select and purchase only the goods and services you deem necessary or desirable. (This is always true; it doesn't matter whether you are making funeral arrangements at the time of a family member's death, or well in advance of actual need.) The Funeral Rule also confers the right to "comparison shop" among any or all of the funeral service providers in your community. Other consumer protections provided by the Funeral Rule include the requirement of the funeral home to:
Provide you with price information over the telephone, without requiring you to provide them with your personal contact information, such as name, address or phone number.
Provide you with a copy of their General Price List (which itemizes specific funeral costs) when you walk into a funeral home to discuss necessary arrangements; a copy which is yours to keep.
Give you a written casket and outer burial container price list prior to asking you to make related selections.
Compile a written statement, before asking you to pay for your purchases; which details exactly what you're buying, and the cost of each item.
When it comes to the phrase "funeral costs", the Funeral Rule stipulates these charges would include these things: the basic services fee, miscellaneous service and product charges; and the cost of any cash advance items.
The basic services fee covers the "services common to all arrangements: funeral planning, securing the necessary permits and copies of death certificates, preparing the notices, sheltering the remains, and coordinating the arrangements with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties".
You'll be asked to pay for any service and product charges you've selected, such as embalming and preparation services; use of the facility for a visitation or service, use of equipment and staff at a graveside service, or the rental of one of our funeral coaches, a flower van, or limousine. A list of itemized funeral costs related to product purchases could include the cost of a casket, outer burial container, alternate cremation container, or urn; as well as charges related to cremation or interment.
Cash advance items are those charges for any goods or services a funeral home purchases on your behalf from outside vendors. These items include (but are not limited to) the publication cost of the print obituary charged by the newspaper(s) in question; live musical accompaniment, and the honorarium for the celebrant or officiating clergy. In most cases, these cash advance charges are at cost; if there is an extra fee, the Funeral Rules requires the related facts must be disclosed in writing. In addition, there must be written notice made if there were any refunds or discounts from a supplier of any cash advance item.
If you'd like to learn more about the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule, we suggest you review their online consumer guide, Shopping for Funeral Services. For additional in-depth information about our General Price List, which details (among other things) the cost of a funeral and cost of cremation; we urge you to read Funeral Expenses, or call us directly at 313-881-8500.
Let's Talk about Value in Relation to Cost
Whenever you buy something, or contract for a service; how do you know the price you're being asked to pay is a reflection of real value? It's not always easy, either; unfortunately, our purchasing decisions are often compromised by our factual ignorance and our emotions.
In October of 2012, the Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. published an article (see source citation below) detailing how researchers discovered, for a majority of us, the lack of factual information about a product or service causes us to do our best to fill-in any "gaps" with naive theories: informal explanations each of us commonly uses to make sense of the world around us. And, according to Valarie Zeithaml, currently a professor at the University of North Carolina, it seems our ideas of quality and value are rather indistinct; in fact, the two words are all mixed up with the perceived worth of an object or service, and its utility (see source citation below).
When you turn to a funeral home to make funeral service arrangements, you're at a certain disadvantage. Most likely you're not familiar with any of the products or services you're being offered; certainly not familiar enough with specific product details to discern its quality relative to another. But you're also at an emotional disadvantage; everything you see, do, or think is clouded by the effects of bereavement. It can become very difficult to clearly see the real value of what you're being asked to purchase, in relation to the cost; often you don't have the time–or the perspective–to see the worth of each of your prospective choices.
Each person comes to the funeral arrangement conference with a different set of needs and, in listening closely to your words; we help you to weigh those four factors to arrive at the funeral options which suit your needs. That's why we always take all the time needed to help you arrange a funeral service for a loved one; in that way our recommendations are tailored to meet the unique psychological, social, religious, and emotional needs of your family.