7 Things Funeral Directors Don’t Want You to Know

Planning a funeral is the worst. Not only are you grieving the loss of a loved one and your emotions are at their ultimate peak, there’s a lot to organize when making arrangements on top of that.

One of the steps in doing so is preparing to work with a funeral director. This is the person who completes the death certificate, assists in properly transporting and storing the remains of the body, and basically plans the whole day.

And while that kind of help is super needed at a time like this, they’re known for keeping quiet about a few things that could make things inconvenient for you.

First off, funerals are expensive. We mean really expensive. The average North American traditional funeral costs (including the funeral home services, cemetery burial, and installing a headstone) falls between $7,000 and $10,000.

Even when there’s life insurance covering the cost, funeral costs are still steep. And sometimes funeral directors will try to get you to buy all sorts of things you don’t really need, adding on to an already high cost. And honestly? That’s not what you need right now.

Take it from us—be wary of these 7 things funeral directors might not be super honest about:

Image of people holding hands at funeral.Kzenon via Deposit Photos
  1. Cheap caskets exist.

    There are a whole bunch of fancy caskets—mahogany, bronze, you name it. And obviously, these costs can add up. Chances are, the funeral director is going to name all of the features the high-end caskets offer, but the Federal Trade Commission says you can find sufficient ones for a good price. Check at stores such as Costco, Walmart, and Sam’s. Club. (Yes, they’re sold there!)

  2. Caskets can be rented.

    Another cost-efficient option is to rent the casket—it’ll be significantly cheaper since funeral homes can reuse it. The body is rested inside a thick cardboard container within the casket, which is then removed in time for burial and cremation. Rentals are also environmentally friendly, so you’re also doing good for the Earth.

  3. Embalming isn’t always necessary.

    Embalming is the process of using chemicals to preserve the body so that funeral goers are able to view them in a suitable state. This is usually something automatically checked off a list when planning a funeral, but as long as you plan the viewing or cremation shortly after death, you can request the body not to be embalmed, and save money there.

  4. Low-cost caskets could be hiding.

    Many times, funeral directors will try to steer you away from getting a low-cost casket and tell you that there isn’t a low-cost casket in the display room—but always ask to see one anyway. Some funeral homes are known for hiding them down in the basement or boiler room!

  5. Protective caskets might not work.

    Funeral home directors might suggest the use of a protective casket that has a rubber gasket—which of course is an extra expense. And these actually don’t work that well to stop decomposition. In fact, the opposite is true: moisture and gases can get trapped and have caused caskets to explode before. Pretty crazy, huh?

  6. The body doesn’t have to be present.

    Without the body present at the funeral, you’ll save on the mortician’s services. It’s not a required service, so if money is really tight, you can simply go without it.

  7. A new outfit isn’t necessary.

    Many people think they need to go out and buy a new outfit for their deceased loved one, but a funeral home’s job is to make the clothes lie perfectly. So just let them know if their favorite outfit is too small or big—they’ll make it fit perfectly.

Speaking of fitting perfectly, do you know what morticians use to make the bodies appear suitable for funerals, including how they keep their hands folded? (Hint: they use some pretty unique, yet also common, tools!).

For that and other things funeral directors don’t want you know, check out the video below.

How shocking are some of these things? Did you know about any of these funeral director secrets?