Laying a loved one to rest can be one of the most painful events we experience in life. It can also be one of the most expensive.
Data from the National Funeral Directors Association shows that the average cost of an adult funeral in 2009 was $6,560. However, when additional expenses are factored in, such as burial costs and the purchase of a headstone, the typical cost for a funeral in the United States ends up being $8,000 – $10,000.
If you have recently had a funeral for a loved one who suffered a wrongful death, then you may be entitled to financial compensation for their funeral expenses. The lawyers at Mike Lewis Attorneys can help you learn about your legal options and fight for your rights.
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Types of Funerals
The first step in planning a funeral is to decide which type you want to have. This will ultimately depend on your personal preferences, religious beliefs, and budget.
Here are the three types of funerals:
“Traditional” Full-service Funeral
This is generally the most common and expensive type of funeral. It includes a viewing, formal funeral service, a hearse to transport the body, and burial, entombment, or cremation of the remains.
In a direct burial, the body is buried shortly after death, typically in a modest container. There is no viewing or visitation, and embalming isn’t required. Costs include basic service fees, transportation of the body, a casket or other burial container, and a cemetery plot or crypt. If the family decides to be graveside during the burial, the funeral home often charges an additional fee.
In a direct cremation, the body is cremated shortly after death, without embalming. The cremated remains are kept in an urn or alternative container, and no viewing is allowed. The deceased’s remains can be kept at home or scattered. This type of funeral is generally less expensive than the other two, but there will be a charge for the urn and a fee if the funeral home doesn’t have a crematory on site.
All of these options have different price points and charges, so make sure you get a complete estimate from the funeral director before you commit to anything.
Funeral Planning Tips
Funeral planning can be a very stressful process. It has to be done in a short time frame while you are dealing with the pain, and possibly shock, of losing someone you loved.
Here are some funeral planning tips that might make things a bit easier:
Do your research: Calling a few different funeral homes and requesting a complete estimate is a great way to start. This will allow you to compare your options and make the best decision.
Purchase a casket from another source: The casket can be one of the biggest expenses in a funeral, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to over $20,000. You can often find a better deal online than the funeral home will be able to give you. Funeral directors are required by law to accept caskets that weren’t purchased through them.
Find out if your state requires you to hire a funeral director: Some do, and some don’t. If you have the option to organize your service and arrangements, it can lower the overall costs.
Get a list of all prices: Under the FTC Funeral Rule, you have the right to get detailed price information for all items and services that a funeral home offers. This is to be given to you in the General Price List (GPL), and is yours to keep.
Choose only the goods and services you want: You have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service), and don’t have to accept any package that the funeral home offers that includes items that you don’t want.
Embalming is not mandatory: Most people believe that embalming, the process where the body is preserved with chemicals, is absolutely necessary and required, and it isn’t. However, it is encouraged if you are going to hold a public viewing but not if the funeral service is held within 48 hours after death.
Learn about alternatives and green practices: There is a less expensive or more eco-friendly option than the standard offering for every item and service provided by a funeral home. The director must inform you about these when you inquire about them.
As you can see, there are many decisions to make when a family member passes on. If you would like to spare your loved ones from the stress of negotiating prices and making purchasing decisions in their time of grief, you can make plans for your own funeral in advance. Put time and thought into what arrangements you would like, write them down on paper, and give copies to your family members and attorney.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
The highly-skilled lawyers at Mike Lewis Attorneys believe that the family of someone who suffered a wrongful death is entitled to compensation for funeral expenses and are willing to fight in court to help victims get justice.
We also offer a No Fee Promise to our clients, which means that there’s never a fee unless we recover for you.
Our main office is located in Winston-Salem NC, and we are proud to offer legal counsel to wrongful death victims throughout the state, including those in:
- …and surrounding towns and cities
To learn more, contact us today at 866-299-1769. A friendly, professional member of our intake team will get the details of your case and then get you quickly connected to the attorney that can best handle your case.
If you’d prefer to contact us online, please fill out the Free Case Evaluation form at the top of this page.