22 Things a Funeral Director Won’t Tell You
Read the money-saving secrets funeral directors from across the country aren’t taking to the grave with these insider tips for planning a funeral.
Don’t pay in advance
Go ahead and plan your funeral, but think twice before paying in advance. You risk losing everything if the funeral home goes out of business. Instead, keep your money in a pay-on-death account at your bank. For more money-managing tips, find out the 23 things your financial adviser won’t tell you.
Discharged veterans get special treatment
If you or your spouse is an honorably discharged veteran, burial is free at a Veterans Affairs National Cemetery. This includes the grave, vault, opening and closing, marker, and setting fee. Many State Veterans Cemeteries offer free burial for veterans and, often, spouses. If you didn’t know that, check out these 17 other things you never knew about Arlington Cemetery.
Walmart and Costco sell caskets, too
You can buy caskets that are just as nice as the ones in my showroom for thousands of dollars less online from Walmart, Costco, or straight from a manufacturer.
There are less expensive, environmentally-friendly casket options
On a budget or concerned about the environment? Consider a rental casket. The body stays inside the casket in a thick cardboard container, which is then removed for burial or cremation.
Embalming isn’t necessary
iStock/Enrique Ramos Lopez
Running a funeral home without a refrigerated holding room is like running a restaurant without a walk-in cooler. But many funeral homes don’t offer one because they want you to pay for the more costly option: embalming. Most bodies can be presented very nicely without it if you have the viewing within a few days of death. Funeral homes aren’t the only ones with secrets; find out the secrets hospitals aren’t telling you, too.
Be wary of these phrases
Some hard-sell phrases to be wary of: “Given your position in the community …,” “I’m sure you want what’s best for your mother,” and “Your mother had excellent taste. When she made arrangements for Aunt Nellie, this is what she chose.” Watch out for these other sneaky phrases and tricks con artists use to win your trust.
Skip the rubber gasket
“Protective” caskets with a rubber gasket? They don’t stop decomposition. In fact, the moisture and gases they trap inside have caused caskets to explode.
How the ashes are returned is important
Ask the crematory to return the ashes in a plain metal or plastic container—not one stamped temporary container. That’s just a sleazy tactic to get you to purchase a more expensive urn. Watch out for some other red flags you’re falling for a fake review.