“It’s not right to rough up a kid for his lunch money, and it spits in the face of God to exploit the grieving for a buck.”
These strong words from Ed Howard, a lawyer and consumer advocate, were spoken at the recent Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) biennial meeting.
When Howard’s father died, it took him eight hours of calling funeral homes to get a rough outline of costs. Imagine the billable time he lost to a search for financial information related to funeral planning.
There’s also an emotional toll and level of frustration that could be avoided by funeral planning before there’s a death. And yet, “It’s not easy to get people to be informed and make decisions,” said funeral director Randy Garner, columnist for Funeral Director magazine.
Even though 80% of us will die a “managed death” in a medical setting, according to Garner, people still avoid advanced funeral planning. The FCA is dedicated to providing local information that protects a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, and affordable funeral.
“What the FCA does is really, really, really important,” said Howard. “It’s hard because we don’t talk about funerals without a nervous giggle. We’re uncomfortable talking about death.”
Thousands of dollars spent on a funeral might be a drop in the bucket for your clients. Even when your clients have a net worth in the millions, don’t you help them get the best value for their money? Don’t overlook funeral services as a part of estate planning.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance can help. Local affiliates conduct surveys that pull together pricing information from funeral homes in each state and major market. Find your local affiliate through the organization’s website, www.funerals.org.
Gail Rubin is a Certified Celebrant and speaker who brings light to a dark subject and helps get funeral planning conversations started. Her book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, has won multiple awards. Learn more at www.AGoodGoodbye.com. Gail is an ongoing contributor to the Academy blog. Contact: 505-265-7215 or email Gail@AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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