Times Have Changed, But The Funeral Industry Hasn’t!
By David Ring, President, Indiana Funeral Care
Our society has changed significantly over the decades. We have smaller families, we are far more mobile and few of us still live in the same area in which we were raised. We commute long distances to work and sometimes school. Religious beliefs have changed and are less prevalent. And since the financial crisis of 2008, many of us have changed our spending priorities and traditions. We either don’t have it or we spend less and have different priorities.
But the funeral industry hasn’t changed, still clinging to old traditions and trying to force consumers into old and expensive funeral service choices. Consumers are pushing back. Last year, 2017, was the first year in the history of our country, in which the number of cremations exceeded the number of burials.
So, what should you do? Shop around, pricing is confusing and the difference in prices for the same services can vary by thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, most funeral homes do not post prices on their websites. Best to visit a couple of funeral homes in the area you prefer, so you can see the facility, get a feel for the kindness (or lack thereof) of the staff and obtain prices.
Another problem is that state laws regulating funeral and cremation services have not changed with the times. For example, whenever human remains are present, be that in a casket or in a cremation urn, state law requires that a funeral director be present and you will have to pay for that service. You can walk out the door of the funeral home with the urns in your arms, but you cannot have them present at a service without a funeral director. Doesn’t make sense, but it is the law.
Consider a memorial service without the cremated remains present. However, to many people, it is significant and important that those cremated remains be present. If you shop around to the right funeral homes, you will find that the assistance of the funeral director at the service is not that much more costly and they are very helpful in coordinating and managing the service.
While emotionally difficult for some, it’s always best to plan funeral and cremation services in advance. You will make wiser decisions, spend less money and everyone will be more satisfied with the results.
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