5 tips to consider before contacting a Chicago funeral home
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral costs around $6,500, so it pays to carefully examine the fine print when arranging one. There are currently more than 600 funeral homes in the Chicago area on Angie's List, providing residents with many cost-saving options.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance offers the following tips for anyone tasked with the difficult job of planning a funeral:
- Avoid prepaying. There are too many variables that can change over time. Among the most frequent complaints are that the casket and other items ordered have been discontinued or are otherwise unavailable. Also, if you move away, most funeral homes don’t allow you to transfer your plans to a funeral home in your new town.
- Consider casket alternatives. The casket is the primary way funeral homes make money, and the showroom often displays the most expensive models. Many offer less expensive models and it’s OK to ask to see them. You also can purchase a casket at retail from a source not affiliated with the funeral home.
- Think twice about embalming. Refrigeration is a proper alternative to embalming if the body will be buried or cremated within 24 hours. The Funeral Consumers Alliance reports that embalming is “rarely required by law,” and it’s an unnatural process that is primarily used in funeral homes to preserve a body for public display.
- Keep an open mind about cremation. Some funeral directors may try to convince you that the law requires the cremated remains be kept in a certain type of urn or vault. However, in all states, it’s perfectly legal to keep the remains in the original box, and to scatter the ashes on private property with the permission of the landowner. The act of cremation is considered “final disposition” because it eliminates the health hazard.
- Skip the coffin vault. State laws don’t require them, but cemeteries may because they keep the grave from sinking after decomposition sets in, making the area as a whole easier to maintain for cemetery workers.