Contracting for Services
Unless the deceased has made funeral arrangements prior to death, the services and all associated materials must be chosen by family members or friends shortly after the death.
A funeral and final interment must typically be resolved around one week from the date of death, which normally requires the arrangements to be made within one or two days of the person’s passing. Family members will most often meet with a funeral director the day after the death when possible.
Being primarily concerned with the fact that life will no longer include the deceased, the people who make the burial arrangements are often experiencing heightened emotions during this time. Under these circumstances, most people do not attend to the finer details of their actions with the same degree of attention that would otherwise be given to the same matters.
Even aside from the general emotional state that the survivors are experiencing, the actual act of making the funeral arrangements can quickly become stressful. Comparing and selecting items like caskets and hearse services are not routine tasks; once the brochures and pamphlets start circulating for decisions, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the choices and, particularly, with the costs. The purchaser is being presented with unfamiliar items while being asked to make almost immediate decisions. (We all know how much a gallon of gasoline costs, but very few people know the going rate for 12 gauge copper burial vaults.)
Finally, a funeral is not the type of event that people want to appear overly frugal about. With the entire purpose of the ceremony being the honor of a loved one’s life, it is difficult to refuse items that may not seem necessary, like a flower transport car.
The interaction of all these factors creates a situation that may result in an expensive contract that is signed by one family member who has not fully reviewed all of its terms.
Payment of the Contract
Funeral directors often allow a grace period of around one month to pay the funeral bill. Just as with any other business, they will begin seeking payment once this time passes. However, contrary to popular belief, the funeral director does not always contact the estate’s personal representative for payment.