Most young adults don’t tend to think much about the need for prearranged burial nor do parents expect to suddenly lose a child. Unfortunately, this mindset can leave many wondering how they will afford the expenses associated with the unexpected death of a loved one. If you have recently suffered the death of a family member, the expenses will quickly add up. In cases of wrongful death, however, these costs are easily recovered.
1. Basic Fee
Depending on your loved one’s location and the funeral home with which you choose to work, you may be charged what is referred to as a Basic Service Fee. While not always required, many funeral homes will apply this fee in order to cover services common to all funerals. These services may include the arrangement and planning of the funeral, the obtainment of necessary permits, and the preparation of obituaries. Because consumers cannot decline to pay this fee it may be in your best interest to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to help you recover this cost.
Many funeral homes and cemeteries will offer several services that are not required by state law, but are still commonly used by families. For example, transportation of the remains may be needed if your loved one has died some distance from the place at which they are to be buried. Additionally, a funeral home will charge for the use of equipment, staff, and vehicles if a chapel viewing or graveside service have been chosen. Be aware, however, about the services you choose as the plaintiffs in your case may stall the chances of settlement if they believe you went overboard.
Just as there are many optional services available to those needing to bury a loved one, so there also several products. Some of these products are completely optional, but others may be required by state law or the funeral home you’ve chosen. Many funeral homes will charge consumers “cash advance fees” which they will use on your behalf to pay for goods and services from outside vendors such as florists, officiants, pallbearers, and obituaries. In addition, some providers will add an extra fee on top of what these vendors charge.
Contrary to popular belief, there are some goods and services associated with funerals that are not actually required. For instance, if your family is prepared for a direct or immediate burial, it is more than likely that paying for embalming services can be avoided. Funeral homes are not allowed to tell consumers that embalming is required by state law, nor may they charge for unauthorized embalming services. Likewise, the type of casket you choose for a traditional burial will determine its cost so be sure to ask if you’re not seeing something in your price range. Also, remember that no casket is full-proof and no sales company can make claims to that effect.
Even if you have chosen to have your family member cremated, you can still choose to have a viewing and memorial service. While some will opt to purchase a casket for this purpose, it is not necessary. Most funeral homes offer beautiful rental caskets at prices much lower than the cost of buying one. In the event of a direct cremation, no casket is required by any state law. However, they must offer an inexpensive box or container in addition to the pricier caskets they sell.
The sudden and tragic loss of a loved one is a devastating moment in which you will be required to make some very tough decisions in a short amount of time. If the death was caused by the negligence of another and you employ the services of a wrongful death attorney, the stress can quickly subside in the event a settlement is reached.