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Bona-fide estate concern for many: funeral arrangements, costs

Seemingly, a 75% success rate qualifies as a win in many of life's endeavors.

That's certainly not the case, though, as regards the attempts of an individual or family members to gather relevant information on funeral costs.

Most people in California and across the country might reasonably think that procuring funeral-related price data would be a fairly smooth and painless process.

As a major story authored by National Public Radio reveals, though, about one of every four funeral homes fails to deliver regarding price disclosure, even though a decades-old federal law requires that they do so or "risk large fines from the federal government."

That so many funeral home are willing to run the risk of punitive fines for remaining tight lipped is strong evidence of the base ineffectiveness of the so-called Funeral Rule enacted into law in 1984.

Despite its long-tenured status, people across the country (and certainly in California, which is a focal point in the NPR article) routinely complain that they confront a form of double-speak and ambiguous responses when they approach funeral home principals for information. Although the Funeral Rule requires a home's prompt disclosure of prices relevant to many services, a number of commentators in NPR's expose state that they are more confused than informed following their contacts to homes.

Many people are understandably hesitant to openly broach the topic of a loved one's future passing. The subject is something that is thoughtfully raised and purposefully acted upon in many instances, though, by families across the country that are well attuned to the importance of solid advance planning, especially regarding something as deeply intimate as a loved one's death.

Timely focusing upon such a matter can yield informed decisions and promote a family's peace of mind during a time that is understandably marked by pronounced emotions and preoccupation with multiple concerns.

"Start looking at options in advance," states the NPR piece. And if you are making arrangements for your own funeral, "put your wishes in writing and discuss them with your family."

A proven estate planning attorney can provide candid and sound counsel to family members regarding this obviously important concern, and also help clients craft planning strategies that broadly promote family goals across a wide spectrum of considerations.

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