A funeral can be simple or elaborate, inexpensive or costly. But unless you plan in advance and shop around, you’re likely to pay top dollar. Consumer surveys show that most people don’t shop around for a funeral – they pick the funeral home closest to them, or the one their family has always used. Neither of these criteria tell you whether you’re getting a good value. If you’ve never checked another funeral home for its prices and services, you may have been paying the highest rate in town for three generations.
By federal regulation, funeral homes must give you price quotes over the phone. In addition, they must give you printed, itemized price lists when you show up in person to discuss funeral arrangements. That means you have the right to stop in to any funeral home and request a General Price List (GPL), no questions asked. It’s a good idea to visit several funeral homes to pick up price lists and take them home for comparison at your own kitchen table. Share them with your family. Compare the cost of the items among funeral homes. You’ll likely find a variation in price, sometimes quite substantial. See How to Read a Funeral Home Price List to understand your rights and options.