Cremation costs and funeral costs are transparent within the funeral industry, as that is the law. Consumers are prudent to “shop around” when looking at any large expense, as total cost is going to be one of the determining factors when choosing a cremation service provider.
You should also know that just because three or four funeral homes might tell you their total cost and those bottom lines might be similar, that does not mean you are will be charged the same amount for all cremation-related services across the board.
Looking at a breakdown of costs is a best practice when looking at cremation costs. For example, a funeral home or cremation provider may have a lower charge for merchandise like an urn, but they have higher fees for arranging third-party services such as placing the obituary in a local newspaper. These costs are called cash advances and are defined below.
Also, when a cremation service provider says, “This is our cost,” you should also inquire about any additional costs that aren’t their fees but fall under third-party or cash advance fees. For example, a funeral home may not own a crematorium, so the funeral home may charge you one fee for a cremation while the third-party crematorium will have their own fee for you to pay.
There are also some state-related fees that differ depending on where the cremation will take place. A great question to ask is, “Is your cost all-inclusive?” Being prepared is one way to avoid headaches later. Here are some of the topics you should ask about when speaking with different funeral homes about cremation costs.
Cremation services can run the gamut from lavish to austere — from a full, traditional wake and funeral service, to “I just want to be cremated.” When someone is looking for that simple cremation sans embellishments, they are likely seeking what is called a direct cremation in the funeral business.
Direct Cremation Defined
- Direct cremation is a basic service that ensures that all aspects of the cremation have been performed legally.
- A direct cremation service does not include an urn (you can choose to purchase one from us or provide your own).
- A direct cremation package includes the transfer and transportation of the deceased into our care as well as refrigeration prior to the cremation process.
- A direct cremation includes the funeral home filing all of the necessary paperwork and the payment of the medical examiner’s fee.
Cash Advances Defined
- Cash advances are funds that funeral homes pay to third parties as a convenience to the family that is planning a cremation or funeral. Funeral homes or providers can mark up the cost of cash advance items but, by law, must disclose those cost increases on an itemized price list. Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium does not add fees to any cash advance charges.
- One cash advance the funeral home usually purchases on behalf of the family is certified copies of the death certificate.
- Another cash advance takes place if someone passes away out of state, and the funeral home pays to repatriate the body back to the state where the cremation will take place.
Cremation Planning Defined
Once you have gone through the process of contacting several funeral homes for their itemized costs for cremation services, you may have found a funeral home where you feel comfortable and whose staff has provided exceptional service.
Funeral homes today, Phaneuf included, have lots of conversations with people everyday about the benefits of cremation and funeral planning, which can include pre-paying for services.
- Cremation planning locks in your wishes. Once arrangements are made and paid for, they cannot be changed after you’ve died. (You may always update your wishes and arrangements while you are alive.) Your family cannot alter your cremation plan after you have passed, unless this is stipulated in your arrangements.
- Cremation planning and prepayment locks in your price for the remainder of your life, no matter how many years pass.
- Cremation planning ensures the services you arranged and paid for will be provided (or as comparable a service as exists at that time) at the time of your passing.
You don’t want a lot of surprises when it comes to cost and service options. We encourage you to be informed in every aspect for end-of-life planning, from cost to personalization of services, and that is one of the reasons we are offering a series of free Lunch & Learn seminars throughout the spring and into the summer. You can RSVP for one of these free events here.