My mother in law was buried last week. The funeral home charged the family over $12,000.00. This did not include the cost of burial plot, family or pallbearer car. The viewing and service were done in one day. I believe the funeral home took advantage of the family. Is there anything that can be done at this time to make them reduce the bill. The family will struggle to pay even a reasonable amount. Any advise you have would be greatly appreciated.
First, I am very sorry for the loss of your mother in law. I know this is a difficult time for your family, and the costs involved with a funeral certainly make this a very stressful time.
Whoever in the family that was responsible for making the funeral arrangements should have had a meeting with the funeral director. This is the arrangement conference where a price list is given so the family knows exactly what the cost is for each item that is selected (services and merchandise, such as the casket).
The funeral director writes up a contract for the services and merchandise that the family selected during the arrangement conference. This is called a Goods and Services Contract. The family should have reviewed the contract – which would have clearly stated the contract total – prior to signing it, so there would be no surprises as to the total cost.
Your family had the right to select only the services and merchandise that were wanted or needed, the only exception being what is known as a “Basic Services of Funeral Director & Staff” fee. This is a fee that a family cannot decline for any reason.
I have a few resources to point to you to for more information about funeral contracts and consumer rights:
What you Need to Know about the Funeral Goods and Services Contract
Consumer Rights under the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule
Since your family signed the contract, I am not sure that there is much you can do at this point to reduce the contract total. However, you may be able to work out a payment arrangement.
Here are a few other resources for information about how to pay for a funeral:
Paying for a Funeral:
Using Crowdfunding to raise money for a funeral:
One other thing to consider is the financing solutions offered by LendingUSA
I hope this information is helpful as you and your family navigate through this difficult time.