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The FTC Funeral Rule

Published: June 15, 2019 by Erica Graham

The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), makes it possible for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance. The Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, and makes it possible for you to select the funeral arrangements you want at the funeral home you use. (The Rule does not apply to third-party sellers, such as casket and monument dealers, or to cemeteries that lack an on-site funeral home.)

The Funeral Rule gives you the right to:

  • Buy only the funeral arrangements you want. You have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service). You do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.
  • Get price information on the telephone. Funeral directors must give you price information on the telephone if you ask for it. You don’t have to give them your name, address, or telephone number first. Although they are not required to do so, many funeral homes mail their price lists, and some post them online.
  • Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home. The funeral home must give you a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. It lists all the items and services the home offers, and the cost of each one.
  • See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets. Sometimes, detailed casket price information is included on the funeral home’s GPL. More often, though, it’s provided on a separate casket price list. Get the price information before you see the caskets, so that you can ask about lower-priced products that may not be on display.
  • See a written outer burial container price list. Outer burial containers are not required by state law anywhere in the U.S., but many cemeteries require them to prevent the grave from caving in. If the funeral home sells containers, but doesn’t list their prices on the GPL, you have the right to look at a separate container price list before you see the containers. If you don’t see the lower-priced containers listed, ask about them.
  • Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay. It should show exactly what you are buying and the cost of each item. The funeral home must give you a statement listing every good and service you have selected, the price of each, and the total cost immediately after you make the arrangements.
  • Get an explanation in the written statement from the funeral home that describes any legal cemetery or crematory requirement that requires you to buy any funeral goods or services.
  • Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation. No state or local law requires the use of a casket for cremation. A funeral home that offers cremations must tell you that alternative containers are available, and must make them available. They might be made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard.
  • Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere. The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.
  • Make funeral arrangements without embalming. No state law requires routine embalming for every death. Some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time; some states don’t require it at all. In most cases, refrigeration is an acceptable alternative. In addition, you may choose services like direct cremation and immediate burial, which don’t require any form of preservation. Many funeral homes have a policy requiring embalming if the body is to be publicly viewed, but this is not required by law in most states. Ask if the funeral home offers private family viewing without embalming. If some form of preservation is a practical necessity, ask the funeral home if refrigeration is available.

Tennessee Cremation Care is committed to providing high quality and compassionate simple cremation services at an affordable and transparent price. We invite you to take a few minutes to explore our website or give us a call at (931) 553-1660 with any questions you may have.

Tennessee Cremation Care General Price List

Published: June 15, 2019 by Erica Graham

As part of out committment to provide high quality and compassionate simple cremation services at an affordable and transparent price, we are providing our complete General Price List here for your review.

The Struggle Is Real

Published: June 6, 2019 by Erica Graham

Through my work with Hospice and as a funeral director, I’ve personally witnessed families go through countless problems when a loved one died and their affairs were not in order. 

Years ago I was in an at-need arrangement conference with a family whose mom had died in her late 70’s. Her three daughters attended the meeting to make their mother’s funeral arrangements. The oldest daughter was sobbing. The middle daughter was silent. The youngest was agitated and having trouble sitting still.

There was a $10,000 insurance policy and in 2007, at the funeral home I was working with at the time, it was just enough to pay for the funeral the mother had requested. She had taken the wise step of having her selections of merchandise and services on file at the funeral home. Her wishes included a day of visitation with the funeral the following day.

As I began to calculate the total cost of the services and merchandise, the oldest daughter, still sobbing, said: “If it is more than $10,000, I will pay the difference.”
The middle daughter said: “We are all three the beneficiaries. We can split whatever money is left over.” Her suggestion, in essence, was to downgrade the services and/or the merchandise her mother had selected.

The youngest daughter was silent, but nodding in agreement with her middle sister.
As I started gathering information for the obituary, the youngest daughter stated that she did not want her name in the paper. She said something about not wanting thieves breaking into her home during the funeral.

So here I had a daughter that was willing to use her own funds to give the mother the funeral she wanted, one daughter that was hoping for a payout from the life insurance policy, and a daughter that didn’t even want her name in the obituary because of an irrational fear. It was a fascinating scene for me to observe when I was still relatively new to funeral service.

I have witnessed my share of bad behavior over the years. Fights during the arrangement conference, police being called during the visitation, and even fist fights in the funeral home parking lot. Most of these situations could have been avoided through planning ahead.

The point I am making is that death and the money associated with it can bring out the worst in people. Long held grudges over favoritism as children can blow up when a parent dies. In blended families the relationships and the finances can be even more complicated, resulting in resentments and hurt feelings.

Of course, death can bring out the best in people as well. I’ve seen many surviving family members rise to the occasion and do what they believe is right.

Although there isn’t a way to ensure that no one misbehaves when you pass away, planning ahead is a great way to avoid disagreements among family members you leave behind. By taking steps to avoid the emotional overspending that typically occurs or paying thousands more by choosing the wrong cremation provider, you should also establish a Revocable Living Trust or Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Representative and take other appropriate legal steps. It’s a gift of love to preplan your cremation. Prepaying for your cremation services is also a great idea if you can.

Feel free to call Tennessee Cremation Care at (931) 553-1660 with questions about planning cremation services in advance. We provide simple cremation services to Clarksville and all of Montgomery County. Our service area also includes the Nashville area and also Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Tennessee Cremation Care is unique in that we provide only basic cremation with no services. I am always here to help and answer any questions you many have. Learn more by visiting our website at www.tennesseecremation.com.

Benefits of Exercise in Coping with Grief

Published: June 2, 2019 by Erica Graham

It takes you outside of your head. If you look around you, at the natural setting, or the others in the gym, you see something bigger than you and your individual pain.

It can restore a sense of control. Grief is a mystery; it moves at its own pace and it can be hard to see progress. However, exercise can give you a sense of mastery and confidence.

There are physical benefits. Exercise releases endorphins which can increase your sense of well-being.

It is perfect for the “instrumental” griever. Instrumental grievers are “head-oriented” and don’t want to talk about their feelings. They are more “task-oriented” in their grief process. They want something to do.

It is perfect for the “intuitive” griever. Intuitive grievers are more “heart-oriented.” For them, exercise can provide a way to connect with others and have a sense of community.

A memorial exercise activity has additional benefits. By running or walking in memory of a loved one, you are creating a positive legacy. You are also connecting to the community, which can reduce feelings of isolation so often felt in grief.

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