4 Mistakes to Avoid When Handling Funeral or Cremation Services for a Loved One.
1. Assuming the services are already taken care of.
a. Dad was a vet so they will take care of it. Nope. Sure there are benefits available from the Veterans administration HERE. But all of them fall short of paying for a funeral or cremation. The main benefits are flag, flag folding, cemetery marker, and eligibility for burial in a national cemetery. There is also some money available if the death was at a VA hospital or nursing home.
b. Well Social Security has a death benefit. Yep…. $255 paid only to a surviving spouse or dependent child. More HERE Again a far cry from covering the total bill.
c. Mom said she pre-planned everything. Hopefully she pre-paid too. Several items come up in this scenario.
– Mom visited with a funeral director but never finalized anything.
– Mom has her cemetery plots taken care of and to her that was “having everything set up.”
– Mom has life insurance to cover the expenses. Great. Did she change the beneficiary from Dad to the children when he passed. Otherwise the money will get paid to the estate and most funeral directors will not wait on an estate to pay the bill.
d. Mom’s Will says the estate will pay the funeral bill. Ok see above ^.
2. Paying Too Much.
When a death occurs the first thing that most families do is to call the “family funeral director” (you know the guy that buried, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Mike, Aunt Tille, etc…..) make an appointment, meet with the staff, arrange the service and walk out with a $10,000 + bill. But wait, we shop around for everything else why not take a moment to make some phone calls. A funeral home is required by federal law to disclose their prices prior to any discussion about services and merchandise. Ask about the price, payment methods, payment plans etc. It is powerful to have some knowledge of prices in the area.
3. Not having a service.
It has been shown that when a family chooses not to have a service that there isn’t proper time to mourn the loss, share memories and gather with family and friends. All of which will help with recovering from the loss. During the pandemic when Funeral services were limited we encouraged families to have a small intimate gathering. Then follow that up with a memorial service once the restrictions were relaxed. You don’t need to pay a funeral home for a memorial service that you can handle yourself. See tips on a “Do it yourself memorial service” HERE
4. Not understanding who is in charge.
A few times a year we will get a phone call from a person trying to make arrangements for a cremation/funeral. That person thinks they are able to make the arrangements, however, the State of Pennsylvania makes it clear who is able to make those decisions. Details HERE. and Here Most of the issues arise when a significant other (boyfriend, girl friend, domestic partner) wants to handle the arrangements. However, unless they are legally married they have no legal right to be in charge of the arrangements. Other times it will be a child calling to make arrangements for a parent. Two scenarios come up in this situation: 1. The parent is separated and not legally divorced so the person in charge is still the separated spouse, or 2. The deceased had multiple children, and in this case all the children have to be in agreement. There are ways around these situations but its best to know what is what ahead of time.
Now that you know the mistakes to avoid when making cremation or funeral arrangements for a loved one perhaps it is time to get some decisions handled ahead of time. Call us to today 1-844-552-6739 or VISIT to start pre-planning your services or for those of a loved one.
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