SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — What if you had a death in your family today. What would you do? Who would you turn to? Would you have the money?
“You know I ask them do they have any questions at this time. Most people don’t because they are in shock,” says Clint Mease, Gorman Scharpf Funeral Home.
Clint Mease is a co-owner and funeral director at Gorman-Sharpf in Springfield. He’s been in the funeral industry for nearly 30 years. He says funerals are among the the largest expenditures people make in their lifetime.
“In the Ozarks prices are a little more affordable than if you go outside of our area” says Mease.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, most funerals run about $6,000 with some going as high as $10,000. Consumer reports suggest that people comparison shop five different funeral homes before they make choices.
“I encourage people to preneed, preplan. You have funded and non funded options. But at that time you can talk price and shop, whereas if the death is immediate, it’s hard for them to shop and get to five funeral homes,” says Mease.
Since 1984, funeral homes have been required by the FTC to offer price lists to consumers that pinpoint the exact charge for each category of a funeral service.
“Every funeral home is required to have a price list, that’s what the FTC requires us to do,” Mease says. “And it needs to be itemized. So they can see at each step what they are paying for. When people are pricing, make sure you’re getting a total cost. I see prices out there and then maybe that’s not the total you get at the end. So when you ask for price get a total price, because you don’t want surprises down the road.”
Mease also says families can benefit from a planning list that helps them better understand the process and make decisions.
“We have a guide,” . “Most funeral homes do. They can come in or we can mail it to them. And it goes step by step. You know the first section is the information for the state to get a death certificate. And the next section goes into wishes for a service.”
It’s those wishes that Mease says families should talk about in advance, as uncomfortable as it may be.
“Tell your family your wishes,” says Mease. “A lot of times people will bring it up and the kids will say, I don’t want to think about that mom. Because they don’t want to it’s not pleasant. But if you’re not able to write things down, make sure your family knows, traditional service, cremation, if there’s a cemetary or something that’s important to you. Because the last thing we want is people to think, did I do what mom or dad wanted, and second guess themselves.”
Monday night Jennifer Kielman will look deeper into the issue of price lists and what exactly a funeral can cost. This week we will also tackle topics like cemetary plots, alternatives to expensive funerals and green funeralsm, pre-planning, and what happens if you just don’t have any money.