On this page we will attempt to give you a good understanding of the variety of the costs involved in funeral services. We will inform you of what is necessary and required by law in certain instances and hopefully dispel some myths.
When discussing costs of funeral arrangements you will encounter charges under several different headings.
Services of the Funeral Home – Merchandise – Cash Advances – Paying for a Funeral
The kind of services you select will determine the degree to which each category is utilized. All funeral homes, as mandated by the Federal Trade Commission, must give you a General Price List for their services when discussing the costs of a funeral. They also must have available a price list of their caskets and outside containers. Here are some standard charges you will encounter on a general price list. Realize that in this first discussion we are talking about services of the funeral home only.
Services – Minimum Services of the Funeral Director and Staff
This is a charge that is charged to families for arranging the service and includes a charge for normal overhead and expenses.
Let us have a brief discussion about embalming. Embalming is not always required. For instance, if you were to choose a direct cremation with no viewing then embalming is not a requirement. (One time family viewing shortly after death, if the condition of the deceased permits, can be done without embalming.) In Oklahoma a person must be embalmed, cremated, buried or refrigerated within 24 hours. If choosing a service that includes public viewing then embalming is necessary. If you choose a service that does not include embalming then you will not be charged for embalming.
- Dressing, Casketing and Cosmetology
- Use of facilities and staff for visitation,usually 2-3 days. Use of Funeral Home Chapel or transfer to Church or location of families choice
- Removal from place of death Hears
- Flower or utility car
These are the general headings you will find on a Funeral Homes General Price List. Now let’s talk about merchandise.
Merchandise – Most funeral homes offer everything you will need to provide a meaningful tribute no matter what your choices may be. Here are some of the items you will encounter.
Caskets – Caskets are made of Wood, Metal and Precious metal. Some caskets are designed to keep outside elements out and others are not, and that is a decision for each family individually to make.
Outside Containers – Outside containers are not required by law. They are an individual cemetery requirement. The reason cemeteries require some type of outside container is for their maintenance purposes. If something that is structurally sound is not place around the casket then, over time, the weight of the earth placed on top of the casket will eventually damage it and the cemetery will have to continually fill in graves. Families have an option here as well. Most cemeteries minimum requirement is a concrete box. Families may choose a vault if they want to have a container that is designed also to keep out outside elements. Funeral homes do not warrant any casket or outside container. If there is any warranty it is by the manufacturer.
Urns – Urns are simply containers for cremated remains. Some families choose to keep the cremated remains of their loved one rather than scattering or earth burial.
Clothing – Most families have selected some articles of clothing to have their loved one dressed in from the deceased clothing. Some families choose to purchase burial clothing from the funeral home. Remember that a person should be dressed in clothing that best resembles their life. If a man never wore a suit and tie, why bury him in one? When bringing in clothing to the funeral home, remember undergarments. Most funeral home have these on hand but prefer to use the deceased clothing at all times.
Memorial Products – These items consist of the Guest Book that people will sign when coming to the funeral home to view the deceased and at the funeral ceremony also. Acknowledgment cards (Thank you Cards) as well are included in this cost. Memorial folders are in this category also. We encourage families to make the memorial folders as personal as possible. Some families will place a picture of the deceased on the folder or have us print the order of service. Use your favorite poem or bible verse. These are a permanent reflection of the memorial service you are having and should be a memorable reflection of that.
Flowers -The family usually selects a casket arrangement and some times floral arrangements to be placed at the head or foot of the casket. In the event of just a memorial service the family may wish to purchase an arrangement to serve as a center piece along with a picture.
Veteran’s Flag Case – This is a wooden, permanent glass fronted display case for the flag of a veteran.
This should give you a good overview of the different merchandise choices you have. We will now discuss Cash Advances.
Cash advances are items that the funeral home can and will pay on your behalf but, are not their charges. They are done as a courtesy to the family to keep them from having to deal with writing checks for a variety of items. Find below a list of items that you may or may not choose to utilize.
- Sales Tax – In Oklahoma sales tax is on Merchandise
- Grave Opening and Closing Cost
- Police Escort
- Newspaper Obituaries
- Airline Charges
- Medical Examiner charge ( for cremations)
- Crematory charge
- Death Certificates
- Minister Honorarium
- Musician Honorarium
You are well advised when deciding on a monument to compare several places. You first must determine if the cemetery you use has any restrictions on what kind of monument or marker you can use in the section where your loved one is buried. Some cemeteries are known as memorial gardens. This usually indicates that they are a flat marker cemetery. Check with the cemetery office.
Paying for a Funeral
Your payment options vary from funeral home to funeral home. Most funeral homes will accept checks and credit cards. Some funeral homes also accept insurance policy assignments. This would be where the beneficiary of the insurance policy signs an assignment form that instructs the insurance company to pay the funeral home a designated amount and the balance to the beneficiary. The funeral home will usually do all the paperwork involved in this so the family doesn’t have to. Some funeral homes accept installment payments. Funeral homes usually frown on a family asking them to wait on probate. Probate is a lengthy process that can take up to six months or more. You will find that most funeral home are willing to work with you.
We hope that you have a good understanding of the costs involved in funeral selections. If you have any further questions call us. We will help you in any way we can. We want you to understand what you are doing.