Funeral and Cemetery Fraud
The end of life and those activities associated with it are not things that anyone likes to think about. However, dying is as much a part of life as living, and it’s something that everyone faces. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier though. After all, end-of-life care consumes enough of our time and thinking without us also having to worry about fraudulent activity done to us by the funeral home or cemetery. Our worries, however, are the least of a scammer’s concerns when there’s money to be made by duping grieving, unsuspecting families into paying money for more than they actually need. That’s why it’s important to do our research and be informed on exactly what is necessary for us and what is not.
That said, let’s see some tips to help avoid being taken advantage of through funeral or cemetery fraud:
- First, be informed. Again, take time to do research and shop around before coming to a final decision. You may also wish to take a friend with you who can help to give you some perspective when it comes to actually making difficult decisions. What’s more—funeral homes are required by law to give you their detailed general price lists if you ask for them over the phone or in writing.
- Be sure to fully educate yourself on caskets before deciding to purchase one. Also be aware that caskets are, in fact, unnecessary for direct cremations.
- Make sure that you understand the difference between basic funeral home fees for professional services as well as any other fees for additional ones.
- It’s important that you know that the rules for embalming are governed by state law, and that embalming is not legally required for any direct cremations.
- Make sure you carefully read over any and all contracts and purchasing agreements before you sign anything. Also, make certain that all of your requirements have been put into writing as well.
- Be sure to fully understand any and all terms for contract cancellations and refunds, as well as the portability options you have for transferring your contract to any other funeral homes.
- See that you are well informed as to everything that prepaying entails before you decide to do so. When it comes time to make a plan for yourself, share any of your specific wishes with those closest to you.
- Just as a general rule that governs all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making any hasty decisions, like making purchases, signing any contracts, or committing any funds. These decisions are yours alone to make, and no one can pressure you or force you to do something you do not want to do.
It’s a sad fact that there are people out there who would seek to take advantage of us at our most vulnerable. Some of those scammers may even be those whose job it is to help guide us through difficult times. You can help prevent this by making sure you are well-educated and know exactly what will best meet the needs of your specific situation.