The first question most families ask about funeral services is “How much?” Washington has the third-highest cremation rate in the country, so the next most frequently asked question at Seattle funeral homes is “How much does a cremation cost?” The basic fee usually quoted is for a direct cremation, which ranges in price from about $500 up to $4,000.
To avoid unnecessary fees, consumers need to be informed to be able to ask the right questions: What is a direct cremation? What ancillary services are included? What extra charges are there under varying circumstances?
The Federal Trade Commission instituted the “Funeral Rule” a number of years ago to help consumers know their rights.
The Funeral Rule requires funeral establishments when meeting face to face to furnish a “General Price List” that details a specific list of services and prices for those services.
A direct cremation is a disposition of human remains by cremation, without formal viewing, visitation, or ceremony with the body present.
Most funeral homes include the following in the price of a direct cremation, while others may include more:
- basic services of funeral director and staff
- removal of remains from place of death
- transportation to crematory
- all necessary authorizations, permits and paperwork
- cremation and the basic container that will hold the cremated remains
Some important questions are:
- Does it cost extra to meet with a Funeral Director?
- How many days of refrigeration of the remains are included in the basic fee?
- Are there courier fees to expedite the cremation if the family is in a hurry?
- How are the cremated remains returned to the family?
The bottom line when discussing costs with a funeral home is this: Know your rights and know the correct questions to ask. Not knowing what to ask places you at a disadvantage when negotiating for any kind of service. Funeral services can be especially difficult as grieving family members are confronted with dozens of decisions, many of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional duress.