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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Funeral Goods and Services

Most of us will only plan a handful of funerals in our lifetime, and because it is so infrequent, we often don’t know what to do, how to do it, or how much it should cost. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. Today, let’s talk about a few things you probably didn’t know about funeral goods and services.

  1. What is the General Price List (GPL)?

A General Price List (GPL) is an itemized list of the goods and services provided by the funeral home, including their associated cost. The GPL allows you and the funeral professional to openly talk about the goods and services that are best for you and your family. The GPL includes the cost for many different items and services, including basic service, use of facilities, burial/cremation options, and much more.

  1. What is the Funeral Rule?

In the funeral profession, funeral homes abide by the Funeral Rule, set in place by the Federal Trade Commission. These regulations allow the funeral home to provide you, the consumer, with certain rights and privileges. The Funeral Rule allows you to:

  • Choose what goods and services you want.
  • Call for pricing information.
  • Review an itemized statement before payment.
  • Take home a price list for caskets and outer burial containers.
  • Select an alternative container for cremation.
  • Purchase a casket or urn on your own.
  • Elect to forego embalming.
  1. What is a basic service fee?

Simply put, the basic service fee is a set charge for the professional services of the funeral director and staff. This fee includes services provided by the funeral home, including conducting the arrangement conference, planning the services, obtaining permits and death certificates, preparing notices, and seeing to cemetery or crematory arrangements. This fee may also include overhead that hasn’t been allocated elsewhere.

  1. What are cash advance items?

Cash advance items are funeral-related goods and services that must be purchased from a third-party vendor. In other words, a service that is not expressly provided by the funeral home. A great example is the publication of an obituary in a newspaper. It is the newspaper, not the funeral home, that determines the cost to print.

  1. What do I need to know about cemetery costs?

First, you should know that funeral costs and cemetery costs are often separate. This is because, for the most part, funeral homes do not also own and operate cemeteries, unless they are a combination operation. If the cemetery is run by a different proprietor than your funeral home partner, the costs are separate.

Second, it’s helpful to know what cemetery costs typically entail. On the whole, cemetery costs will include the purchase of a plot, niche, or other designated final resting place on the cemetery grounds. In addition to the final resting place, the cost will also include the opening and closing of the grave as well as a fee for the perpetual care of the gravesite.

* To view the full article, go to Funeral Basics

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