Funeral costs include:
1. Basic services fee for funeral director and staff
The Funeral Rule allows funeral homes to charge basic services fees that customers must pay; the consumer cannot decline to pay these fees. Services common to all traditional funerals include planning; securing permits and copies of death certificates; preparing notices; sheltering remains; and coordinating arrangements with the cemetery, crematory, or other third parties. The basic services fee does not include charges for optional services or merchandise.
2. Charges for other goods and services
Optional goods and services that are not part of the basic services fee include transporting remains; embalming and other preparations; the use of the funeral home for viewing, funeral, or memorial service; equipment and stand for a graveside service; hearse or limousine; casket; outer burial container or alternate container; and cremation or interment.
3. Cash advances
Additional costs may include cash advances, which are fees for goods and services the funeral provider buys from other vendors on your behalf. These could be flowers, obituary notices, pallbearers, clergy, and/or musicians. Some funeral providers charge only what they pay, others add a service fee. If a funeral provider charges extra, the Funeral Rule requires written disclosure of that fact, but the disclosure does not have to specify the amount of markup. The Funeral Rule requires the funeral provider to tell the consumer about any refunds, discounts, or rebates from the supplier on any cash advance items.