Because Heflebower Funeral and Cremation Services come beside you in your time of need, we wanted to share with you directly from the FBI- Seniors website, ways to protect yourself from Funeral and Cemetery Fraud.
Seniors are already a class who is susceptible to fraud, but add to the the emotional state they are in with the passing of a loved one, and it is downright dirty, and criminal.
Start with Education about Funerals and Cemeteries
In Colorado, funeral homes are required to have their pricing in writing. This means you can contact them by phone to learn their pricing, or you can bring the pricing to someone you trust, such as a relative or financial advisor. Consider what the price includes so you are comparing apples to apples.
Caskets are not required in some cemeteries, nor are they required for cremation. Take time to look at caskets that best fit your budget and needs. If cremation is being considered, know that you can rent a casket for the funeral service. Additionally, embalming is not required in Colorado unless the body is being shipped or viewed.
What you need to know about the cost of your funeral services at a funeral home.
The funeral home will have basic service fees, additional services fees and sometimes, cash advances.
Basic service fees will include the funeral homes overhead expenses such as obtaining permits and copies of the death certificates, filing paperwork, coordinating arrangements for burial or cremation, properly handling the deceased. These costs tend to be low and comparable from funeral home to funeral home.
After basic service fees are additional services which tend to be more pricy and are all optional. They can include transporting the deceased, embalming, dressing and cosmetic enhancements, graveside equipment, caskets, and urns. All of these items can be purchased from vendors outside the funeral home and you should never be pressured to buy them. Funeral services held within the funeral home can also fall under additional services, and the funeral home may require some purchases if they perform the services, such as embalming in the case of an open casket ceremony.
Finally, cash advances are fees the funeral home charges to cover expenses for third party vendors plus their fees for managing them. These vendors and services can include cremation or cemetery fees, obituary posting, clergy, musicians, pallbearers and florists.
“The funeral provider must give you an itemized statement of the total cost of the funeral goods and services you have selected when you are making the arrangements. If the funeral provider doesn’t know the cost of the cash advance items at the time, he or she is required to give you a written “good faith estimate.” This statement also must disclose any legal cemetery or crematory requirements that you purchase specific funeral goods or services.”
Know what are are signing and agreeing to at the funeral home
Read all your purchasing agreements and contracts to be sure you are signing the correct document and to ensure all the information is accurate. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Make sure you are clear about any return and cancellation policies. Review the policy on funeral home transferring when you do pre-planning and pre-arrangement payments. You may not need to transfer the funeral home, but your loved ones may need to for a variety of reasons. Discuss your funeral pre-planning with your family. And finally, if you feel pressured to make a decision, walk away and go back with a person you trust.
If you have questions about funeral planning or funeral costs, please call Heflebower Funeral and Cremation Services today. We will come alongside you to help you understand all you need to know to make an informed decision.