Funeral Preparation Saves a Lot of Heartache

By Elizabeth Thielke / Posted on 17 June 2009

The last thing you want to think about is what arrangements you’ll need to make when your currently healthy loved ones pass. However, doing so in advance will save you a lot of heartache when the inevitable does happen.

That’s because the funeral industry has been fraught with scams and dishonesty over the years, and it is imperative that consumers become educated about their rights and options while they are thinking clearly. When my mother died, we were very fortunate to have worked with a wonderful and helpful funeral home, but even so, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was making the correct purchasing choices when I planned her funeral.

The Funeral Help Program was started for this very reason. The founder is a woman from Houston, Texas whose husband died of Alzheimer’s. The funeral home charged her exactly $12, 000, curiously the same amount as her husband’s death benefit on his life insurance policy. A grant and further research revealed that some funeral homes has outrageous mark-ups on goods and services and others preyed upon families in their most vulnerable state.

According to the Funeral Help Program site:

The FHP was created to give consumers a source of information from someone not trying to sell them something. We have devoted the past 15 years to assisting families in understanding the decisions required and their options at each step, via our toll-free line, email, seminars and public forums. We can help those needing assistance to find funds for funerals (though we do not have the funding to assist ourselves) and try to educate the consumer on all things funereal.

This helpful site covers topics including: Funeral Options, Getting Help, Cemetaries, Choosing a Funeral Home, Ploys & Scams, Payment Options, Casket Choices and even Green Burial.

From my own experience, it’s important to plan ahead as much as you can for a funeral. Even just doing some preliminary research about funeral homes, processes, costs and options can be helpful. It’s a tough thing to do sometimes, but when you need it, you’ll be glad you did it.

-Elizabeth Thielke

There are 3 Comments about this post

  1. Consumer vulnerability is the biggest factor in the rise of funeral costs. There are more funeral homes in the US right now than can be supported by the death rate. These homes take advantage of consumers being uncomfortable with negotiating and comparing prices for these services. Thank you for sharing the link for The Funeral Help Program. Programs such as this are very much needed especially with the high number of boomers that will be reaching the time in their lives that they start to consider funeral planning and may need some assistance and direction. Are there other suggestions of what should be done to help prevent situations similar to that of the Houston woman?


    on 18 June 2009 / 10:17 AM

  2. Elizabeth says,

    Breann, based on my own experience it’s really helpful to plan ahead (not always easy)when you can. Even just take note of what funeral homes are used a lot in your area, ask friends what their experiences have been and file that information away for later.

    Also, taking a trusted friend, preferably someone who has been through it fairly recently is imperative to planning and purchasing.


    on 23 June 2009 / 11:03 PM

  3. Thanks for the plug. For those wishing to plan ahead, as suggested in comments, check out our software program ‘Going In Style’, which helps you plan right down to disposition of house plants and pets!


    on 23 July 2010 / 8:19 PM


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