Plan your own funeral to avoid overspending

Personal Finance

You’ve heard about writing your own obituary, but what about planning your own funeral?

Because of limited price transparency in the funeral industry, that may be the best way to save money, according to experts.

A lack of clarity in prices on funeral homes’ websites has long been criticized by consumer groups, yet the practice persists, according to a new study.

The federal Funeral Rule enables consumers to choose just the goods and services they want. Under the rule, funeral homes are also required to present a printed, itemized list of prices. The home must also specify that basic and less expensive cremation and burial services are available.

Although the rule was established in 1984, there’s no requirement to post funeral prices online, according to a joint study from the Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America released this week.

According to the report, just 30 of 193 funeral homes in small- and mid-size state capitals include price information on their websites. In California, where state regulations require funeral homes to post prices online, 18 of 25 Sacramento funeral homes with websites included costs.

Stronger enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission would force more funeral homes to post their prices online and make it easier for consumers to shop, according to the study.

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