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Grief and Loss
Funeral Arrangements and Memorial
To a newly widowed person, these first steps can seem frightfully difficult. Suddenly, you
are faced with some very important, and often urgent, decisions.
Funerals and Burials are Among the Most Expensive Purchases
z In 2001 (latest year figures are available), the average cost of a traditional adult funeral
was $5,160 (without any extras).
z Burial costs are an additional $2,000 or more.
z In-ground burial can add another $2,400 to total expenses.
z Flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards, burial liners or vaults, and special
transportation can add an additional $1,000.
z Funeral and burial costs combined can easily reach as much as $10,000.
The Funeral Rule
The Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to provide price lists of available options (general
services, caskets, outer burial containers). Homes must disclose prices by telephone and offer
lists for review at each facility. You should call or visit at least three funeral homes and
cemeteries to compare prices. With three lists, you can more accurately assess the total costs
and be able to compare.
What is on the Price List?
All available services and their cost, including:
z Funeral director services for initial conference, consultations, paperwork, and
overhead. This fee is added to all bills.
z Transportation of the body to the funeral home and to the place of final disposition.
z Care of the body, including embalming and "casketing," or dressing the body.
z Use of facilities for a viewing, wake, or visitation, and the funeral or memorial
ceremony at the funeral home.
z Other options: purchasing flowers, preparing obituary notices, or providing music.
z Alternative arrangements: cremation or immediate burial where the body is interred
without embalming, usually in a simple container and no viewing or ceremony with
the body present.
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Funeral Arrangements and Memorial Services