THERE YOU KNOW AGAIN!
You need to know…what they need to know!
What needs to be done when the family is faced with a funeral service decision?
LET'S FOCUS ON THREE THINGS: REMOVALS; CREMATION SERVICES; WHO CAN SIGN FOR A CREMATION
This is the era where people get second and third options on nearly everything. Even when making a funeral service arrangement they need to know their options.
What applies is: They are planning to plan a plan. In doing so they need help and guidance. When they turn to you and say, "What should we do?" You should be able to give them helpful options.
REMOVALS: Hospice Houses; Nursing Homes do not have a morgue. They want the person released and no family decision makes the removal an immediate problem. What is a family to do that has made no plans. The removal clock is ticking and they are not sure what to do. Who do they call and what financial commitment are they making?
The first thing they should is to get a quote from a funeral home for simply removing the person from the place of death to a funeral facility. Make a few calls and get a quote for the removal only. The family is only obligated to pay for those services they agree to. They cannot be charged for more than they have agreed to pay.
CREMATION SERVICES: Once the removal is made that gives the family time to check and compare funeral service costs for the complete cremation service they wish to have. If the service provider who removed the person wants to charge more than the family is either willing or able to pay, the family can then have the person removed to another funeral service provider.
This process is all part of the Federal Trade Commission regulations and requirements. The funeral service provider must make all of the additional costs clear and specific from their price list before proceeding further than just the removal. They cannot just make a quote after the removal and tell the family this is what you owe.
In Massachusetts, no one in the funeral business is allowed to have a crematory. Only cemeteries can have crematories. Those cemeteries that do have crematories cannot do anything more then cremate. They are not allowed to make complete arrangements. The fact that prices vary dramatically for a cremation service is that some funeral service providers charge more. Everyone has to do the same thing and everyone has to be in compliance with Massachusetts state laws. Once a funeral service provider provides a price for the cremation service and the family agrees to the cost... That is what they will pay.
The question prevails: Why would people pay more for the same service? They would pay more because cost is not an object of concern or they don't know that there are many different costs for exactly the same service.
WHO CAN SIGN FOR A CREMATION: There are three ways a cremation service can be authorized. First, the person can sign for their own cremation as long as they get either two witnesses or a notary public. Second, The closest relative can sign. Third, A person can sign as long as they get a signed notarized document that after a diligent search there are no known living relatives. That statement is on the cremation authorization form.
If none of these three options are available, the person cannot be cremated.
If the person is removed and no one can or is willing or able to sign for a cremation the only option is to bury the person in a grave that is made available to indigent people and the place of that burial is determined by the city or town in which they resided. This makes the burial process more difficult because cities and towns are not required to maintain graves for indigent people. The challenge then becomes finding a burial space for indigent people in a city or town that will accept non-residents.
There are so many more areas of concern that we will discuss further in the future. For now, we are focusing on three immediate and key areas. This is part of our informational… THERE YOU KNOW AGAIN!
About the Author: Joe Casper is a licensed Massachusetts funeral director and owner of Casper Funeral and Cremation Services, a Platinum Associate Member of the Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts. Casper's provide low cost cremation services and international funeral shipping services across Massachusetts. They accept MassHealth/Transitional Assistance and are always available to answer your funeral questions at 800-314-1890.