Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Do I Avoid An Expensive Cremation Service?

There is nothing wrong with shopping for the best price when planning a cremation, burial or funeral service; and knowing what to ask could save you thousands of dollars.

Currently, the most common service requested is Direct Cremation (a simple service with no ceremony).  Direct Cremation can be a personal, dignified and affordable way to memorialize the life of a loved one – or, you could pay more than you should by not knowing what to ask in advance of meeting with a funeral professional or salesperson.

Providers of cremation services are only required to quote their “price for a Direct Cremation”.       Their price is not usually complete and they know that once you are meeting with them you will most likely not walk away, but rather pay a price much higher than originally quoted.  Walking away from anyone, including a funeral establishment representative, when they intentionally misquote prices or try and make you purchase products and services you do not want is absolutely acceptable.

When making a cremation arrangement, the following components apply in order to know an accurate and complete price (**denotes a cost sometimes not included in a “Direct Cremation” quote):
Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff (includes taking care of all paperwork and authorizations, producing the Permit for Disposition and Death Certificate and overhead)
            Arrangement Conference with Responsible Party
**Transportation from Place of Death (night, weekend, holiday, residential or other differential fees may apply)
            **Fee for the Disposition Permit
            **DCA Tax (a tax charged by the State of California)
            **Refrigerated Shelter
            **Alternative Cremation Container (minimum cardboard required by crematory – no need to purchase a casket)
            **Transportation to Crematory
            **Cremation and Processing of Cremated Remains
            **Durable Cremation Urn

The only additional charge to a Direct Cremation should be Certified Death Certificates, which are a per copy charge determined by the county of death.  You should never pay a membership fee to “join” a mortuary or cremation society.

Currently, the cost for a Complete Direct Cremation in the San Francisco Bay Area ranges from under $900 to over $3,000.

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