Keeping funeral costs low by planning ahead

PHOENIX - Nobody wants to talk about death and funerals until it's too late.

But making plans before you absolutely need the services could save your family a lot of time and money at a time when they are most vulnerable.

Know how it will be paid for. Funeral trusts, insurance plans, and specific savings accounts are a few ways that people finance their funerals.

But you need to make sure you know exactly how they work. Where the money is held?  What are the cancelation policies, and what protections you have if someone misuses it?

The Arizona Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers regulates funeral homes and crematories.

The agency has a consumer guide that breaks down the differences between each of the plans. 

You can check with that agency for past complaints.  

Whatever you decide, make sure your family knows about it. Keep the documents in a place where they can find them.

Comparison shop before you visit a funeral home. Federal law requires that funeral homes provide prices over the phone. 

In Arizona, you can request that a copy be mailed but you have to pay the postage. Make sure you know exactly what is included. Does it cover the service, burial or cremation and death certificate?

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Arizona is a good resource to check for fair pricing for the services you want.  

It is based in Tucson but does price comparisons of funeral homes around Arizona and is a non-profit funded by membership dues. They also can provide a checklist of things you should do when making end of life plans.

Finally, if you visit a funeral home, take a friend who will fight for you. Don't make decisions alone when you are vulnerable. You're likely to overspend or worse, be ripped off.

We discussed even more ways to protect yourself on the Let Joe Know Facebook Page.
 

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