Handcrafted  Pine Caskets only $875.00 plus tax.  All caskets are hand made one at a time, here in Utah. Each casket is built with hand picked local and regionally harvested pine. Each casket is unique, because of the variation in wood grain.  Also each casket has a fully lined natural white cotton  interior. Or I can do a custom color. I have made caskets (at this point in time over 400 caskets) for many families who wanted a hand crafted casket that reflected the life style or wishes of their loved one. Farmers, ranchers, Boy Scout leaders, woodworkers, hunters, or people who loved being in the outdoors are a few of the types of people who have used the caskets I have built.  I can also do customizing on caskets (see the examples below) that reflects the life of the person who will use one of these caskets. Call 801-388-9158 or for more information

Illegal surcharges
I have again found out that some of our Utah funeral homes are starting to add surcharges to people who want to provide their own casket and not purchase one from the funeral home. This latest illegal tactic is costing Utah consumers $1,000.00 extra. If you contact any Utah funeral home and they say they need to add a surcharge because you are supplying the casket. You need to file a complaint immediately  with the Utah Department of Professional Licensing
 Complaint form link
The state has personnel who will go after funeral homes who violate the law. And give them a  fine. This is only way to make funeral homes obey the FTC Funeral Rule.

 A couple of things. #1 I am a one man wood shop so I cannot meet the demand for custom handmade caskets. If you are looking for a casket artisan in your area,  contact your state affiliate with the national Funeral Consumer's Alliance. Another option is to order a casket online from a reputable seller. See my post at the bottom of this blog. 

#2 There are a number of large metal  barns that block my cell phone calls. Your call may go to my voicemail instead. Just leave a message. And I"ll return the call.


Now a few thoughts before you read my blog:
I make caskets, for a living and would like to sell you one if that is what you need.  but that's only part of the reason for my Blog.  I also want you to be informed and knowledgeable about the choices you need to make when it comes to a funeral.

 If you come away with anything from this blog, I hope it is knowledge. Because going to a funeral home without knowing what you  need and do not need for a funeral...Will cost you  thousands of dollars. And even more if you go get a loan, or 2nd mortgage to pay for a funeral. It happens more often than you might think here in Utah, and across the country.

         A funeral usually is the 3rd most expensive item that you will pay for in your life. The price of a funeral by burial  in our state of Utah can be  $8,000 to $15,000. So if you do not have the emergency funds, or insurance, there are ways to lessen the cost for a burial or cremation... If you have the knowledge beforehand.  This blog site has information and links to state,  national organizations, and other funeral information services, that will help you make informed choices and help save you money in the process.

Now most funeral homes and their employees are generally honest. They provide a service that very few people could handle. Funeral employees have to be on call 24/7. They have to put their families and social commitments on hold to take care of families who are dealing with death. They have do deal with all the emotional baggage that comes with grieving families. And the list goes on... It's a thankless job. And one we as the public do not really talk about. But that being said, I have been building caskets since 2003 part time, and 2009 full time. I have seen the good, the very good, and the bad in the funeral industry. All the information I am presenting in this blog, comes from first hand accounts from people, and myself  dealing with funeral homes good and bad. 


The  pine caskets I make.
The  photos below are the type of caskets I build. I make caskets in  blue pine. But can do clear pine on special orders. 




The four photos above are the blue pine tongue & groove casket with wood handles. They are  $875.00 plus tax. A simple curved two piece lid allows for viewing if desired. I have been making this type of casket exclusively, since the advent of Covid 19. 
I now can also add customization for the caskets based on the things the deceased did. I can add most any type of hobby or sport. The outdoor themed items look especially good on a pine casket, such as ranching, fishing, hiking ect.

   Each casket  has a simple curved two piece lid, with a simple fully lined white cotton interior.  All handles are  reinforced, and all parts are fully interlocked  with glue for the strongest wood joints. These caskets can hold  275 lbs.  And a person up to 6 ft. 4 inches tall, with a shoulder width of 24". The interior dimensions are 78 inches long 22  inches wide and 14 inches deep. The casket weighs about 135 lbs. empty. This casket will fit into a standard sized (29 inch wide by 86 inch long by 24 inch deep) burial vault if required by the cemetery. A funeral director told me, when he picked up one of my caskets, that 90 to 95% of the population needing a casket will fit into these caskets.

     Below are photos of other custom caskets I have built over the years. The 2023 funeral home price list for northern Utah, your rights as a consumer, and ways to save money on a funeral. There is a lot of information presented here so if you are just looking for a casket stop here. If not... read on and be informed.

Also the games some funeral homes play: 
 With more business selling caskets, funeral homes across the U.S.are losing money to 3rd party casket makers such as myself. The funeral industry is one of the big industries that are being forced to change, because of consumer changes. And  for the most part, they want to keep things the same. At 20 plus billion dollars a year that's a lot of consumer spending. So here are the things you need to be aware of.

Funeral homes are business first. They are in business to make money. This is not wrong. Funeral directors did not make a vow of poverty when they choose this profession. They need to make a reasonable profit to stay in business. Most funeral directors got into this line of work to help people. But along the way a few funeral directors and or funeral homes, in most areas of the U.S.A. lost sight of helping people to helping themselves to more of your money. These are the funeral homes you need to avoid, when you need the services of a funeral home. And eventually your family will... unless you plan on doing a home funeral. Please be skeptical with what a few unethical funeral directors tell you regarding a funeral, or you providing your own casket for a funeral. And that includes some funeral homes adding a illegal surcharge of up to $1.200 if you provide your own casket. And the Utah Department of Professional Licensing will fine funeral homes who break this law.

This next few sentences comes directly from the FTC funeral rules item #7 at:

This means that you cannot charge an additional fee or surcharge to consumers who purchase a casket elsewhere. Such a fee would not fall within the three categories of allowable charges listed above. This extra "casket handling" fee is simply a hidden penalty for those consumers who exercise the right to purchase a casket from another seller.

If the funeral director/home makes you feel uncomfortable, for whatever reason. Go find another funeral home. Which is exactly what this funeral director says in the link below.
 Your best defense is to know your rights and the state laws concerning funerals before deciding on a funeral home. And hopefully you do this before needing a funeral.

News Flash from the Funeral Consumer Alliance.
Funeral homes across the U.S. are are not giving prices. To a lot of us who know how the funeral home industry operates, this is not anything new. Do you ever wonder why most funeral homes never put their prices on their web page, or in one of their newspaper ads?? It's to keep people from comparison shopping between the various funeral homes. If you knew that you had the option of paying 100% to 500% less for the same funeral services. You might choose  the less expensive option.
  This is why most funeral homes will not print in public or on the internet their prices. So click or copy and paste the link to read the nation wide survey of funeral price hiding, from the Funeral Consumers  Alliance.

 2023 funeral home price survey
Go to Utahfunerals.org for the price surveys they did in other areas of Utah 

"The funeral industry is the only business where they can take your loved ones body and sell it back to you"

Caitlin (Ask a Mortician) Doughty 

  Check out this link to the Federal Trade Commission on funerals. It will give you information on what you are legally required to buy for a funeral. 

Below are some photos of other custom caskets I have made in the past few years.  Depending on my work load I can do many types of customization, if wanted.




A casket for a person who liked shotguns.

This casket was made for a person who did cattle ranching.

A Toe Pincher casket with horseshoe handles and a elk carving.




 The simple casket shown above was a special order. It was built to hold a 500 lb. person. There is more to this casket than can be seen from the outside. Special considerations for distributing the weigh of the deceased  had to be made. It was not just a matter of making a few extra holes for ropes, so a few more pall bearers could move the casket to the burial plot.  Each pall bearer would need to be able to carry about 61 lbs at each of the 12 ropes.

A casket for a person who loved flying planes.

A bow hunter carving placed inside the lid of the casket.

A wood inlay in a casket for someone who loved elephants

 A simple casket with rope handles.

A hummingbird lid decoration for a casket lid.
A simple casket with wood handles.

The two photos above are a custom casket, for someone who loved cats. I had a clip art image of a sleeping cat embroidered, and added some blue pine trim. The locking knobs for the lid had a paw print engraved into the knob 

The two photos above are of a small infant casket I made recently. They wanted a favorite color for the inside. Most infant caskets are made from molded Styrofoam or plastic. I feel wood has a appeal of warmth that cannot be mass manufactured.

This was a special request for a family. The deceased was a choir director. And  I made this inlay which was made with walnut, and pine, and  put on the top of the casket lid.

A casket for someone who loved skiing. I attached the deceased favorite skis to the lid of the casket, and added a small silhouette of a skier on the side.

A simple wooden cross I made for a family.

The casket above was designed with input from a family needing a casket that reflected the lifestyle of their loved one. The deceased was a elk hunter. They brought a set of elk antlers which were made into the end handles. They also wanted a elk carving on the casket lid, along with a elk scene that was framed using blue pine and put into the inside of the lid.


 A close up of the carved scouting emblem. I can add other scouting insignia to a casket. I have a license agreement with the B.S.A to do scouting caskets in the Trapper Trails Council area. 

 The photos above shows some custom casket lids.The first one on the left is a carved eagle that was for a military person who loved eagles. The one on the right has a rancher's brand that was burned into the lid. .

A  historical reproduction of a pioneer era casket that I make from time to time. It's called the Lancashire or Toe Pincher casket.

    Funeral Resources

     http://www.utahfunerals.org/ a informative Utah based website with the information you need about funerals without the pressure of the funeral home. They are dedicated to help Utah consumers save money on funeral costs. Which they do every day. Also please help this non-profit group with a donation to continue helping others in our state.
     http://www.funerals.org/  A national organization that protects the consumer from unethical funeral home practices. They have been around since 1963. If it was not for them, you could be paying a lot more for a funeral. They worked with the Federal Trade Commission pass the funeral rules that protect you from most of the unethical practices that funeral homes got away with until 1985 when these laws were passed. If you want to learn about anything to do with funerals and the funeral industry... they are the one to contact. Here is a link to their Funeral information page
     http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/  This website is the idea of Caitlin Doughty, a mortician in California. Anything you want to know about death and the funeral home... she answers. She and her group also want people to be able to put the dying person and their family back in control of the dying and burial process. Her organization is part of a new movement by younger morticians to make the death process open and not shrouded in secrecy. There are people in the funeral industry who both love what she is doing, and those who hate what she is doing.
    • This funeral director has a lot of consumer information, and other aspects of the funeral industry.


     Directory of Utah cemeteries (There is 304 in Utah) This web page has a listing of cemeterys in the state of Utah. This information will give you an idea of the costs involved for burial.  And depending on the location if there are burial lots available for residents or non residents of the city where the cemetery is located. In areas from Brigham City in the north to Payson City to the south some cemeteries are running out of burial plots. So they are selling to residents only or have other restrictions. Also if you have a burial plot already purchased from a  privately owned funeral home cemetery, you are not required to use their services for a funeral. You can use any other funeral home that you want. In our area we have a funeral home that implies that you must use them for a funeral service. Which you do not have to.

      This group helps to protect the interests of the elderly. If you are here looking for information on future funeral services for the elderly and if they no family close by or the possibility that family members will take advantage of the elderly  this is a organization you should talk to. They can help to make sure that the wishes of the elderly for a funeral will be honored. Which is only one of the many services they do for Seniors.  

    Understand it's a business.
          This is one business where you the consumer are at a disadvantage. The vast majority of people do not talk about death or  plan ahead for the day they will die. Most people who go to the funeral home have to deal with all the decisions regarding a  pending funeral are also dealing with the emotions of the death, or pending death of a loved one. The funeral director on the other hand has usually years of experience dealing with  grieving customers. And depending on how ethical or unethical, the funeral home is, can... suggest, hard sell, or tell you that you need items or services that will improve the profit line of the funeral home.  At the expense of your wallet.

            So when the day comes that you need to plan or do a funeral, remember... funeral directors ARE businessmen, they are NOT clergy (a bishop or priest). They are in business to sell you their services and/or products. If ALL funeral directors were ethical, you would not be reading this web page, and I and others across the U.S. would not be showing how to save money on a funeral or, selling reasonably priced caskets. Our modern day funeral ($20.7 billion a year) industry offers, or pushes services and products that are not needed for all funerals, or can be afforded by Americans.

     Funeral tips:
    Do not feel guilty if you cannot, or do not want  a funeral with all the extra items that everyone else buys. Grief is a powerful emotion and if not controlled YOU will spend more money than you need to, and... could regret it financially for years to come. A funeral director will sell you what you want. So if you want a expensive funeral to make you feel better, a funeral director will do that.

    Another thing you need to realize is that a person who is under stress from a death or pending death. Has the thought process similar to a person who is drunk. The brain does not function very well, under the stress of death/grief. And a person has to make around 72 decisions in 36 hours for the typical funeral. It is a very vulnerable time for the typical funeral consumer.

    I have been to many funerals and the most meaningful ones were not the most expensive.  You know the saying... "Keeping up with the Jones's?" They buy a new car, so we need to do it too. Well the same mindset is in funerals too.  Well the neighbors mom died last year and they had a extravagant funeral so we need to do the same. You do not need to do a expensive funeral like most everyone else does.
    Print the web pages from the link above, so you can use it for pricing a funeral. It will also be a good item to show, and discuss with funeral directors when talking about their services.
     Steps for a planning a funeral

    1. Pre-plan your funeral. Don't pre-pay to the funeral home. Decide what items you want for a funeral. Organize it and put it in writing and put the money away in credit union, or bank  Payable On Death account. or Totten trust account.

      Now if your assigned next of kin do not agree or cannot carry out your funeral plans, (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) just assign a specific person to control the disposition of your remains. This form (Disposition of remains) gives a person you assign the legal right to do a funeral the way you want. And ONLY the funeral. Not a will/trust, or living will. Those are separate legal documents, for end of life decisions and  distribution of a person's assets 

    According to the Utah Funeral Consumers Alliance, family members will go to a funeral home and one or more of the family wants more items for a funeral. Then when the  funeral bill comes some or all of family will not help pay for the funeral. And guess who winds up paying the bill.? The person who signed the funeral contract. This happens to family's all the time, according to the Utah Funeral Consumers Alliance, and it destroys or harms family relationships . Here are links to find out more about assigning someone to take care of your body after death:

    To find out about Utah's laws to give someone the control to do a funeral the way you want, click on the link below. It will take you to the Utah Consumer Alliance web page for the legal forms.
    Disposition of remains for Utah

    The Diesmart website has information on disposition of remains for the other states. 


    Now if that is not the case, and you are needing the services of a funeral home now then start with #2. Also if the death is sudden do not get pressured by whoever has the body, to get a funeral home immediately. Hospitals, cities, and counties have facilities where they can store the body while you decide on funeral arrangements.

    2. Set a budget first:  Have a  trusted family member(s) or friend(s) ( unless you have a close knit family, less people involved with funeral planning the better) who can look at this as a business transaction  without the emotional attachment, and work with the funeral director.  Then with this (hopefully assertive) friend/family member get the most updated General Price List, from at least 2 or 3 funeral homes, which the funeral home is required by law to give to you BEFORE discussing anything for a funeral.
    If you do not want to go visit a funeral home, you can also call them on the phone, or use their contact e-mail service. Because legally they are required to give you their prices. Also any ethical funeral home will be happy to give you prices by phone or e-mail. But, if a funeral home director asks you to come see them at their funeral home for prices... that's a warning sign, be careful. They could pressure you into buying a funeral service.

    Also do not think that just because everyone else in the family used a particular funeral home, you need to do likewise. If you live in a rural area where there is only 1 local funeral home,  call funeral homes in nearby areas. There are many funeral homes will travel beyond their normal 50-75 mile service area for a small mileage fee.

     The price difference can be over $2,629.00 in savings if you use a funeral home other than the one you have in your town. That's not a made up figure. I talked to a person in central Utah who was quoted $4995.00 if they provided the $995.00 casket. For a total of $5990.00  So I decided to see what the true costs would be.

     A funeral home in Provo that is 112 miles away charges $2,770 total for itemized services. They will also need to travel 62 miles beyond their normal service area. So down and back twice to pick up the body and take it back for funeral service, at $2.00 per extra mile or $496.00. Then a casket, $995.00. Using a out of town funeral home costs $3361.00, or a $2,629.00 savings, verses the $5,990.00 local funeral home. So it really pays to shop around for funeral services.

     Here is the web page for the Utah Funeral Directors Association. so you can look at other funeral home options. Some of the funeral homes listed do have a price list for you to look at.
    3. Deciding/shopping for a funeral home:  Take this advice from a funeral director who I have great respect for, because as a funeral director, is showing people what they do, and do not need to pay for a funeral.
    Now after getting funeral price lists from various funeral homes, you should take a trusted family member or friend and look very carefully at the General Price Lists from the funeral homes you want to use. Does the funeral home you might use have accurate, itemized price information? Or does the price list look confusing? If so look at other funeral home(s) price lists.  Remember, legally you do not have to buy all their services, you can pick and choose what services you want. The only required fee that you need to pay is:  The basic services of funeral director and staff,  and in northern Utah this fee is anywhere from around $595 to  $2,795.  Some funeral homes have increased this fee because it is non-declinable. So it can be a way to get the funeral consumer to pay more money. 

     So carefully look at the basic service of funeral and staff fees and compare it to other funeral homes you are considering? Also watch out for  package deals (more info. below). These items usually have other extra services that will cost you more.

     When you start discussing how you are going to pay for the funeral, and  if you have a life insurance policy... DO NOT give the amount of the policy. Sometimes the final cost of the funeral will  magically be the exact amount of the insurance policy. A number of people have told me that they were sold more expensive funeral by the funeral home director, when they gave the amount of a insurance policy. 

    Also if the funeral home tells you a service is required by law, ask them to show you in writing which  law requires it.  The most common mis-quoted law is embalming. Utah law states "that the deceased must be embalmed OR refrigerated within 24 hours". It seems the the refrigerated part of the law is NOT  promoted by some funeral homes, because they want you to use embalming, so you will buy a full funeral service.  Even telling you that you need to do a funeral service their way. This happened to a LDS relief society president who was in charge of setting up a funeral for a member in her local ward. But YOU are the one in charge of the funeral service. NOT the funeral director.

     If you feel uneasy with the way the funeral home is treating you GO TO another funeral home. And that also applies if they have your loved ones body at the funeral home. A few years ago one person did that, and the funeral home refused to release the body to another local funeral home. That is until this family along with the funeral home they chose, called the police. And the funeral home released the body to the family and other funeral home.

     Remember YOU do have the legal power to decide who will take care of your deceased family member. Be aware that some funeral homes will charge you if they pick up the body and you change your mind. But if you are unhappy with your choice of a funeral home the $200 to $300 that you will pay for a body to be taken to the funeral home will be a small price  if you use a  funeral home, that you are unhappy with.

      4.Caskets: In this area I have a business interest, because I make caskets...so If you decide to use a casket from someone else, ether me, another casket maker or yourself  to save money,  funeral homes cannot not charge you more for their services if you provide your own casket. If you want to use a  metal casket from the funeral home, don't believe the 16 gauge thickness verses the 20 gauge thickness casket is any better. I use to work in the sheet metal trade. A  20 gauge casket will work just as well as the  16 gauge casket. The only difference will be the more expensive casket price. 

    Another thing you should understand is that if you decide to buy a casket from someone other than the funeral home... you are responsible for the casket, not the funeral home. So if you order a casket from Wall Mart, or Costco. And it was damaged during shipping, it's not the funeral home's responsibility. If the casket does not show up for the funeral because of shipping delays... it's still not the funeral home's responsibility. Or  someone in the family made a casket that was too wide for the burial vault...That again is not the responsibility of the funeral home. It all becomes the responsibility of the family. But,that's one of the trade offs for saving  a few thousand dollars. But this can be avoided by having the casket shipped in plenty of time, and make sure you are dealing with a reputable casket retailer on the internet. Or double checking the casket size requirements. For myself I prefer the customer see my caskets in person, so they know exactly what they are getting.

    5. Embalming:  This is a money making item. Why? Because if you decide to use embalming, you will more likely spend more money $$$ on other related funeral items, such as a full service funeral with a viewing. 

    “Embalming forms the foundation for the entire funeral-service structure. It is the basis for the sale of profitable merchandise, the guardian of public health, the reason for much of our professional education and our protective legislation.”  – From an embalming textbook

     The U.S. and Canada are the only two country's that the use of embalming is industry wide for all funeral homes. And there is also a toxic problem with embalming a body. Embalming fluid has formaldehyde... a known carcinogen, and methanol. These and other chemicals in embalming fluid are creating toxic environments in the soil and around cemeteries.

    In this next paragraph, this is the common statement that funeral homes use in their general price list they give to consumers: 

    "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you  select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have  the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial."

    Perhaps the funeral consumer could understand it if it was  worded differently to show other perfectly legal funeral options such as:

    "Except in certain special cases, ( such as shipping a body out of state by someone other than the family) embalming is not required by law. Embalming, (or keeping the body cold with ice packs/dry ice) may be necessary, however, if you  select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have  the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation,  immediate burial,  closed casket service, or a  viewing for close family members before services."

     No state law requires embalming. All funeral homes in Utah are required to have refrigeration. So a body can be kept cold to stop decomposition, before burial
    .(Utah Administrative Code R436-8-3 (2018).) 

    If you have a direct burial, cremation or closed casket service you do not need embalming. You can also have a small private viewing without this service. ( I did this for a family member at a funeral home in our area) You can even have a public viewing without embalming if you want, but  funeral homes will ask you to not do it.  If you want to find out about the need for embalming, talk to someone who has done a home funeral.
     They use other methods to allow the viewing the deceased that does not involve embalming.  Which is the use of dry ice or ice packs placed in certain areas of the body to keep the body cold. A few funeral homes in our area will do this for you if you want it.

    I do have a personal bias against embalming, in most cases. To me the evasive surgical procedure to make the body look life like, is not needed for a large amount of funeral services. Especially if you want, or need a simple, less expensive funeral. So if you want to have embalming done for a full service funeral, and you do not have the money. Your best option is to use one of the lower cost funeral homes.

    6. The cemetery: Finding a burial plot is another headache you will need to do at the funeral home. If you did not purchase one before the death of a family member. Try to find a cemetery that is run by a city or county. They will always be less than one that the funeral home has financial ties with or a private for profit cemetery. The cost of a cemetery plot with the digging out of the ground for the casket, can be around $1,500 or more, in my state. Also see at the bottom of this blog for headstones, Also If you have a burial plot already purchased from a privately owned funeral home. For example in our area we have Myers, Levett's, and Lindquist mortuary's who have their own cemeteries. Some funeral homes will imply that you must use their funeral home in order to have a loved one buried in their cemetery. Which is not true. You can use any funeral home that you want. I contacted a funeral director. Who confirms this practice, by some funeral homes.

    Other funeral information:

     A casket or coffin(a casket is 4 sides a coffin is 6 sided) is designed to just hold the remains of a body. And how that is done can be inexpensive or very expensive. The casket has to fit inside a burial vault, with at least 1/2 inch of space between the widest outside dimension of the casket and the inside dimensions of the vault. So a casket size of 28 inches wide by 88 inches long outside measurements will fit into a burial vault that is 29 inches wide by 89 inches long. The extra 1/2 inch on each side is needed to remove the ropes that lower the casket into the burial vault.
    This is one cost that you cannot get out (unless the cemetery does not require one) of because a vault or burial liner is required by most cemetery's. The only way you can save money on this item if it is required by the cemetery is to use the most inexpensive burial vault or liner that is offered. Do not believe that the sealed vault is better than a simple vault. (See the quote from a cemetery director below)  In some areas of Utah  some funeral directors will not do business with burial vault company's if they sell direct to the public.  If this is happening to you,  check with the cemetery you are using to see if they sell burial vaults to the public. Also some of the new plastic vaults that are being used can save you some money. They will work just as well as the concrete vaults and they are lightweight and can be moved by 2 people. Unlike the concrete vaults that need to be put in the ground with a crane.
    And as a note about burial vaults. If a funeral home does not list the less expensive concrete burial vault on their price list. You can request them do call one of the 6 burial vault dealers along the Wasatch Front to delver one for a funeral. There was one funeral home in the past who only listed a $2000.00 vault on their price list.

    Burial vaults come in three sizes here in northern Utah: standard which is 29- 1/2 inches wide. Mid size which is 34 inches wide, and large which is 42 inches wide.

    Casket materials:
    The materials to make caskets are metals (steel, brass, copper, stainless steel) wood (softwood pine, domestic hardwoods, and expensive imported hardwoods) and fabric(usually a body shroud). You might be surprised to learn that some of the so called hardwood caskets are built with a inner plywood core with a thin hardwood veneer on the outside, on most of the casket. 

    Casket/burial vault sealers and other accessory's:

    A casket sealer is a rubber or neoprene gasket that is placed into the lid of the casket/burial vault to supposedly help keep out water, dirt or insects. from getting into the casket interior.  This gasket costs less than $10.00 but can cost you up to $800.00 extra depending on where you live. All funeral homes offer sealer caskets and vaults for a much higher cost, compared to the caskets and vaults that do not have a sealer or gasket. Yet the consumer buys into this  thinking that their deceased family member will be protected forever in a sealed casket.  If you look at a funeral home price list  on the same page as the casket and burial vault prices, there is a disclaimer on any warranties of the vaults and caskets. Yet they will add words like high impact, and heavy duty sealer to make you think it is a superior product, while stating that a less costly burial liner is non- protective to get you to purchase a more expensive product. Save yourself some money and  use a regular casket and a grave liner or vault.

     Also I just noticed on a local funeral home price list shown to me recently by a customer, that the less expensive burial liner/vaults where not shown. Only the more expensive, $2,300.00 and up burial vaults were shown. You can ask your funeral home to provide a simple burial vault/liner, from local business, who sell simple concrete burial vaults to other funeral homes. This should not cost more than $900.00.

    Here is a actual quote from a Utah cemetery manager in the Salt lake area who runs a large cemetery on the west side of the valley about burial vaults.

    If you do opt to purchase a vault, DO NOT PURCHASE A SEALER VAULT!!
    Sealer vaults are sold as weather proof encasement's that will preserve the body indefinitely. This is not true. Trust us! We have watched many of them go into the ground, and have vast experience in the ultimate results.

    A sealer vault will fail in one of two important ways. The first common way that they fail is that the seal will do exactly what it is designed to do. It will hold, which keeps moisture from getting into the vault. Unfortunately this seal works both ways. In addition to keeping moisture out, it will also keep the moisture from the body in. As a result, the body cannot dry out. Instead it will putrefy and turn into liquid. Far more often though, the seal fails. The seal is nothing more than a bit of weather striping put around the vault lid a few minutes before the vault company puts the lid in place. This cheap stripping folds easily, or becomes caught up as the machinery places the vault lid on. In these cases, the vaults fill up with rain water, leaving your loved one completely immersed. A normal (non-sealer) vault has holes drilled in the bottom to allow rain water to drain out."

    Or how about this report on the failure rate of sealer caskets I found.
    “MBNA  ( Monument Builders of North America) found that the Catholic Cemetery Association was documenting an  46% failure rate for ‘protective” or ‘sealer’ caskets.’”

    Pre- need  funeral contracts.
    I could write pages on this complicated part of the funeral industry. In our state of  Utah, money from some of  these funeral plans goes into a trust fund. Which is operated by a large insurance company back east, and.... where the money plus the interest that has grown can only be used for a funeral.

     There is one funeral home that does not have to do this because they set up the pre-need plan as a life insurance plan. So besides paying monthly interest on a pre-need plan, ($$) the funeral home makes more money by investing it, ($$$) and the person paying this type of pre-need plan does not,get any accrued interest off their money. This type of plan is not in the best interest for the Utah consumer. A number of Utah people who work in the funeral industry do not like this funeral plan, because it benefits the funeral home more than the funeral consumer.

    With some of the plans being sold by funeral homes in our state. A  funeral plan can cost the consumer more than the cost of the funeral if paying monthly for  years.  On top of that, some funeral homes will add illegal funeral surcharges if you are getting money back from a pre-need plan. For a example: A family member bought a $15,000.00 pre-need plan for a funeral. But the surviving spouse decided to do a less costly  direct cremation. The funeral home, by Utah law must refund the  money not used to the family.
      The state or federal controls on these Pre-need funeral plans is spotty. Some states have regulations/laws, and other states, it's buyer beware. At this point I have read news articles stating that anywhere from 450 million to 1.6 billion dollars are missing in the U.S. No one has a clear idea of how much money is missing. Check the links  below. Or "Google  underfunded funeral plans", because news stories wind up being taken off the internet. These links below still have information on pre-need abuses. But I would recommend you study and search in your state for pre-need funeral plan abuse, before deciding to purchase a pre-need funeral plan. It might give you a idea of how well your state does or does not regulate and protect consumers with their money.

    New information on Pre need abuse 11/2019
    I recently  listened to a public meeting with the Utah Funeral board. This state agency along with the Utah Attorney General's office, is in charge of regulating funeral homes in our state. They were discussing the problem with the Logan Utah based Nyman Funeral home. This funeral home took money from pre need funeral plans, and used it for operating of their funeral home instead of putting the pre need money into a funeral trust as required by state law. There is a estimated $700,000 to $800,000 that is gone. The consumers who are victims. Have very few options. So far I have found three news stories in our state on pre need funeral abuse. I have added a link to the funeral board discussion on the current Nyman Funeral Home pre need abuse. The information on pre need abuse starts at the 4:45 mark, and goes to the 11:25 mark. but I think you should listen to the whole meeting. And then decide if you want to put your trust in a pre need funeral plan. If in the future if you run into problems, the state cannot help very much.

    Utah Funeral board meeting November 2019 

    Links on other news stories with pre need funeral home abuse.

    New 2019 Nyman funeral home Logan Utah
    funeral ponzi scheme

    West Virginia funeral home Pre need fraud 
    Funeral pre need abuse
     Utah pre-need funeral plan abuse
    Hawaii pre-need plan problems
    Here is a article from money expert Dave Ramsey, who say's that prepay funeral plans are not a smart idea.

    Utah pre-need summary by AARP


    Funeral Hearse cost saving ideas.

    There are other options for transporting a casket other than the funeral home if you are looking to save money on funeral costs. In the past families who purchased a casket from me would transport the casket and body in the back of a van, station wagon, or truck. But one family had a great idea, and you can use it too. They originally wanted to use a Funeral Hearse to transport the casket.

    The distance from the funeral home to the cemetery, was under 2 miles. The cost was $1400.00. They needed to save money, and their idea was to rent a mini van with the stow and go fold down seats, and transport the casket without the use of the funeral home. Total cost... $55.00 for a 24 hour rental.

    There is not too much difference between the two vehicles... except for the cost to rent. A $1345.00 difference.

    Putting a obituary in the local paper or papers can be very expensive. If you cannot afford a obituary. You are not required by law to do one. You can save money by having a  small obituary, a death notice, or a more inclusive obituary placed at one or more of the internet social media sites, such as Facebook. Or a social media site run by family members. Another option is KSL.com in Utah has a online obituary web page. This can be less expensive than the $250.00 on up charge for a obituary notice in the paper 
    Package deals:
    These are  funeral services  that are bundled together to  save you money... if you buy a more expensive casket from the funeral home.  They range from $250.00 on up. More funeral homes in Utah have gone to offering package deals, to keep families from buying caskets from other 3rd party casket retailers such as me.

     Please CAREFULLY take the time to add up all the itemized selections you need for a funeral from the funeral home's price list. The best time to do this is in the quiet of your home. The vast majority will still be more expensive, than paying for itemized services and providing your own casket. I recently looked at some local funeral home price lists that had  package deals that were only good if you purchased a casket from them. I added up the cost for the same services if bought individually. The prices were the same or more than the so called special priced package deal.

      What makes the pricing of package deals so hard to understand is, most funeral price lists, do not have listed what it will actually cost you. For example I have a current 2019 price list from a northern Utah funeral home, that I received earlier this year.. A full service funeral package with each item listed,... and I mean every item is listed, will cost $4,395. If you buy a casket from them. But when you look at the itemized section of the funeral price list, there is the  price list of  22 items, which is $4,655. but the consumer has no way of knowing which of the 22 items are in that final price. And on top of that some items that are listed in the package deal are not listed in the itemized list. So the only way to get a accurate price is to go to the funeral home and have the funeral director check mark each item, so you can accurately compare costs. Most people will not bother trying to get the funeral director to show what items are included in their itemized price list.

      Traditional or conventional funeral service.
      What is the difference?? 
       When a funeral home uses the word tradition, for a funeral service, what comes to your mind?  Well I guess funerals have always been done this way, you might say.  For thousands of years families have taken care of their dead. Up until the early part of the last century, if there was a death.  The family would prepare the deceased. Someone in the local area would build a casket. Some of the women would help the family with the preparation of the body.  A few men from the local church would dig the grave.  And everyone would come from around the area to the home  where the deceased lived, to pay there respects.  That was a traditional funeral.  What our funeral industry does today is not a traditional funeral. The two are totally different.  And priced a lot differently.

      All's fair in love and war and business.
      When I first got into this business. I naively thought that I would help funeral homes with the people who could not afford a funeral. My inexpensive caskets and the funeral home would help the family with the items they needed for a simple inexpensively as possible funeral. What I learned in that first year was not what the funeral industry would want you to believe. Funeral homes wanted to hold on to every last penny. Some so called upstanding funeral homes have tried a lot of different unethical tactics to talk customers out of using a casket from someone other than them. I have become a little cynical with  some funeral homes. There are those who I trust, and I know they will what's right. But there are those who I do not trust. 

      So if you are in a funeral home discussing a funeral and you might want to use one of my caskets, or one from someone other than the funeral home  And you are getting the sales pitch about the quality of a third party casket,(we won't be responsible if the bottom falls out, or these handles will fall off! These 2 statements were used on customers) or you are being pressured into buying the funeral home's one price funeral and casket package deal. Talk to me not just a funeral director.  Get the full story not just from one side, then you decide for yourself. Remember you decide what type of the funeral to have, not the funeral director.

      Here are five ways — and some cliche lines — funeral directors use to manipulate their customers into upsells: 
       This information from Calebwilde.com a sixth generation funeral director.

      Creating false and/or unsubstantiated expectations:
      If you buy this vault, your husband will be protected for ALL ETERNITY.
      Buying this casket will ensure that your son will stay in perfect shape for the next hundred years.
      Guilt Trip.
      I’m sure he was the best dad ever.  He certainly deserves the best casket.
      I wouldn’t put my dog in that vault.
      You may not have been able to provide the best stuff for your son in life, but you can give him the best in death.
      Emotional Manipulation.
      I hate the thought of worms eating my loved one’s flesh, which is why this sealer vault gives me peace of mind.
      Can you put a price on your peace of mind?
      Religious Persuasion.
      Jesus Christ had a sealer tomb.
      Insects, mice, nothing can get into this casket except the Lord Jesus Christ on Resurrection Day.
      Aggressive Sales Tactics.
      THIS is the casket you need.
      I KNEW your father and I KNOW that your father would want this vault.

      You don’t want a CHEAP casket.  Do you?


      Cremation, will it save you money??

      I have had many people over the years tell me that they will just be cremated to save their family from spending too much money for a funeral. And I always answer "Will that be the $795.00 cremation or the $5,800.00 cremation?"  You see funeral directors know the public is using cremation more each year. At this point it is around 23% in Utah. The cost for a full service cremation can be about the same, whether you use cremation or burial. If you look at the Funeral Home price list I have posted above. Look at the  category:

      Cremation with conventional service,

       For 5 funeral homes it is more for cremation, than burial. And those prices do not always include the  cremation urn,  and  the burial plot for that cremation urn. The only savings you will get is not paying for a casket and full sized  burial plot in the cemetery. So what's a family to do to save money if cremation is your choice? You still need to comparison shop the various funeral homes, just like if you were going to do a burial service. The least expensive option is to do a direct cremation, and have a memorial service  afterwards, in a home, church, park. or civic center. Also with some funeral homes the price for cremation is a extra cost. You should read this  recent article on this  practice by  some  funeral homes across the USA.

      True story and one reason why I do this blog.

       I was in line the other day getting ready to vote at my local city offices, when a lady asked," Are you that casket guy?" Which I replied yes. She then said "I need to give you a hug." And started to cry. She then told me her story. The last time  we talked was at the same city offices for voting. She and her husband, who were helping with voting were listening in on a conversation I was having with someone about funerals and how to save money on them. They then asked me a lot of questions  about funerals and how they could save money when it was their time to die. We talked for awhile, and then parted company. She then told me her husband died  shortly afterwards. The information that she learned from me that day was critical to her in being able to make the right financial decisions for her husband's funeral. Her funeral costs were under $4,500, which is about half the cost of the average funeral, in my area. Her story needs to be repeated for others who will eventually have this happen to them. A good number of funeral homes across the U.S. want you to be UNIFORMED. They do not want you to comparison shop. They want to keep you in the dark on prices. For example in your area. Look on the internet for your local funeral homes. They will have plenty of information about planning for a funeral, and information on dealing with grief, loss, ect. ect. ect. But NO information about their prices. Or as one funeral home in my area states on their web page about costs, "Don't worry we'll take care of everything".


      The 3 types of funeral homes in Utah.

      I put  Utah funeral homes into 3 categories.
      The first category is the funeral homes that have large buildings to run their funeral business. Some have been around since the pioneer era, and some recently have started up. They can provide just about anything for a funeral, some can even provide babysitting for little ones. But it comes at a much higher$$$ cost. In some areas of Utah these funeral home owners  in years  passed got together and formed a cartel to keep prices higher.  Funeral home A would charge the same as funeral home B, or C or D. Thus each funeral home would share equally in the limited funeral market.

      The 2nd type of funeral home in Utah is the funeral home that is run out of a small building. Usually in a business park. Some of these funeral homes were started because new funeral directors could not advance in the family business, or did not like the way business was done, or wanted their own business. These funeral homes are the biggest threat to the established funeral homes because they do not have the overhead of the larger funeral home. So their funeral costs are much less than the 1st category of funeral home. Typically 50% less. They are usually more flexible with families that want to do a different type of funeral.

      The 3rd category of funeral home, is the funeral home that is bought  out by a large Wall Street corporation, S.C.I. or Dignity Memorial. They will buy a funeral home in a area, and will keep the name of the former funeral home, but increase the cost of the funeral home substantially. they usually are the most expensive in the area. In Utah they are located in the Salt Lake county area. In Riverton UT, West Valley UT, and Salt Lake City, And according to the National Funeral Consumer Alliance watchdog group, this 3rd category of funeral home is responsible for a vast majority of national consumer funeral complaints.  

       Keeping the casket prices inflated

      I learn quite a bit of information when talking with funeral directors about the funeral business, when I go to a funeral. I have found a funeral director that is very open about what abuses go on with some funeral homes. This abuse involves casket styles. One of the largest casket companies in the U.S. makes a very affordable line of caskets. They look very much like their higher priced versions. Just less expensive. If the average consumer looked at them in the funeral home casket show room. They would purchase them. And this is why some funeral homes do not sell them.

      So, before going to a funeral home to look at caskets. Call the funeral home to find out, what caskets, from the various casket companies do they sell. Then go to the websites of the casket manufactures to see the complete up to date line of casket styles. Then when visiting a funeral home after doing this, you will be more knowledgeable about the higher priced caskets. All casket manufactures can have the lower priced versions shipped within a day or two. If the funeral director says otherwise, go find another funeral home .

      I neglected this item, until someone asked me. The cost of a headstone is another high cost item. Around $1,400.00. But you can save quite a bit of money if you shop the internet. I could write more, but this web page below can tell you best. Also some Cemeteries will allow you to place the headstone on the  grave as long as you install it to their requirements. You could save a considerable amount  of money by purchasing a headstone on the internet and installing it yourself. Be aware that there are some funeral home owned cemetery's in our state that will add inspection surcharges and have very restrictive headstone requirements to prevent you from using a headstone you bought, or another headstone supplier other than the the cemetery's preferred supplier .

      A different type of funeral. 
      I have suggested this to a few families.

       Writing goodby notes or putting hand prints from their children, grandchildren, and or loved ones on the casket. This has made for some very special funerals. Doing this is especially helpful to youth and children. The love that is expressed in writing benefits not only the person writing it, but those who read it afterwards. At this point 7 families have done this. And for those who contacted me afterwards. They have said it was a special time and feeling at their loved ones service. 

      Hospice, anticipating death, and D.N.R. (do not resuscitate)  
      I had a conversation with a few paramedic firefighters about death. Because they asked what I did for a job. Which I told them was building caskets. They told me some interesting items, that I felt should be included in my blog, even if it does not directly concern caskets or dealing with funeral homes.
       The paramedics stated that even with a families that have a loved one on hospice care, and death is imminent. Families will call 911 if there is no support there at the time of death, such as the hospice nurse or medical people. One of the paramedics just said, "quote,
       people just loose it, at the time of death." This causes problems   with this course of action.
       The first thing is that paramedics must perform life saving treatments on the person who has died, even though it will not help. State or local laws require them do so. The only way they do not need to do this if the hospice patient has ether a medical (D.N.R.) do not resuscitator bracelet, or legally signed D.N.R. doctor's form on hand. 
       The second problem is resources. These paramedics get calls for help, from other people, but cannot leave until the current person is stabilized, or in the case of a person who has died in hospice care is declared dead. The paramedics  recommendation is to have someone who can take charge and only contact the hospice workers... if people start to "lose it." Someone needs to get the family to THINK clearly. 
       The only way to stop this calling of emergency paramedics is to PLAN for the day this will happen. Family members need to have open communication, and expectations, with hospice workers, the family caregiver, and among family members, who will be present at the death of the hospice patient. A good pamphlet that most hospice workers have, and should be required reading for families who will have a loved one in hospice care is . Gone from my sight. By Barbra Karnes. Who is a hospice nurse with decades of experience. She explains clearly the death process. If you know what to expect at death, you will not need to call 911 for help

      That is the amount of money on average people save when they pre plan their funeral instead of having family members do it for them when they die. This was told to me by a funeral director. That's a big chunk of money. When you are prepared you will not spend more than you need to for a funeral.

      Forwarding of remains
      I've started seeing more families use this option lately. Which is saving families thousands of dollars, and is legal in  every state. The funeral home does this for bodies that will be shipped to another funeral home, which is usually out of state. The funeral home will prepare the body, then put it in a casket and ether deliver to another funeral home, or the receiving funeral home picks up the body, or the funeral home ships the body using the airlines. The way families use this cost saving service is to pick up the body and casket, and do the funeral service at their church or cemetery without the use of the funeral home.

      Stories from the medical profession
      In this business I learned something early on. And I will use this quote from a funeral director " You cannot be a atheist  very long in this business". I have had many unexplained spiritual things happen when I have made caskets. In our society there are more and more voices trying to say there is nothing beyond this life. I disagree. There is... and many in the medical profession, are sharing their studies and experiences.  Here are two YouTube examples.
      I see dead people
      We all have a curiosity about death. Death is something we all will go through. We cannot escape it. We can push it to the back of our minds, and say one ... day, but not today. But it will come. Learning is the first step in understanding. And not being afraid of death
      Final funeral expense insurance

      I constantly learn new things in the business of the death industry. I had not heard of this type of insurance that much. But I am very aware of the pre-need insurance (and abuses) that funeral homes sell in Utah and across the country.

      Final funeral expense insurance can make sense for a lot of people for a number of reasons. It is more affordable than the funeral home Pre-need insurance. You could pay up to $275.00 a month for pre-need verses $60.00 to $80.00 for final expense for the same amount of coverage. Final expense insurance does not require a medical exam. And if you do have a medical condition you can still be covered at only a slightly higher rate. The other plus is since this is insurance, it is more regulated and protected than the Pre-need funeral plans.

      Final funeral expense insurance in not tied to any funeral home. So if you move to another state the funeral insurance goes with you. Final funeral expense insurance has a few draw backs, such as if you are young and healthy, term life or permanent life insurance could be a better (and less expensive) option. But most people that I have built caskets for family who have someone pass away and they start thinking of their own future funeral costs are in their 40's to 60's age wise. Final expense insurance can be a lot better (and safer) value than the more costly pre-need funeral plans. Most insurance companies sell final expense insurance plans. If you have insurance with a existing company, you might get a better rate. Or you can find a independent insurance agent that deals exclusively with final funeral expense insurance. I found one person who sells reasonable final funeral expense plans here in Utah. He does not work for any funeral home. His name is Ken Chugg 801-8141235. 
      Note: I do not receive any money for promoting anyone on my blog. My concerns are to help people who do not have much money, or want save money on funeral expenses, ether now or in the future.

      DIY home burial
       The cemetery is one part of the funeral industry that is not regulated. If the cemetery is owned by a funeral home, costs can be very high in comparison to a cemetery run by a city, or county. Even then, the costs for burial can be a large part of the funeral expense. Also with more people wanting to do a green burial in a established cemetery the cost can be more than a regular burial. 

      There is one option that can be used if you have family that owns some land in a rural area. That is to do the burial yourself. In all states except Washington, home burial is legal.( And the state of Washington would need to show a compelling need to protect the public if a family challenged the law)
      Burial laws by state website 
      In our state (Utah) if local zoning codes do not allow it. You can bury family on your land. The stipulations are: The burial plots must be shown on the legal description of the property. The plots must be a certain distance from any well or source of running  water (stream river). There are other concerns. If the owners of the property sell, then access to the burial site could stop for family.  So there are a few drawbacks. But they can be addressed by forming a legal document. All across the country there are small family cemetarys  on rural property that have been there since the 1800's. Maybe it's time to start doing it again. 

      Blacklisting in the funeral industry, and why 
      should you care.
       The definition of blacklisting according to the dictionary is,
      "a list of persons who are disapproved of or are to be punished or boycotted".
      A few examples are in order.  The local funeral homes tell the cemetery owners, they will direct their customers to other cemeterys if they start selling burial vaults directly to the public.
      A new funeral home advertises their prices in the local paper. But stops soon after because local established funeral homes will make things difficult business wise if they do not stop advertising prices. In these true cases the funeral home uses blacklisting to force other companies or organizations to do it their way, or be forced out of the market or part of it. Blacklisting serves the secretive funeral industry as a way to take as much money as possible from the consumer, and stifle any sort of competition for the funeral dollar. This practice insures that any competition dies a quick death (pun intended). Unfortunately the consumer pays for blacklisting in the form of high prices. With the arrival of a number of the lower cost, smaller  funeral homes that are in the larger population centers of Utah. Some of the effects of blacklisting are reduced, but not eliminated.
      The unseen fighting to keep the costs of a funeral higher than it needs to be, has no easy answers. Maybe some regulation... maybe more openness in prices, and choices... or maybe just good old fashion ethical funeral homes, that put people before profit margins.

       Embalming prevents disease. 
      The myth that never dies.
      I was listening to a radio program this morning while working on some caskets, called Extreme Genes. They had a guest speaker from a large northern Utah funeral home who spoke about his funeral home that has been around since the late 1800's. He spoke on the need for embalming as a way to prevent disease,  follow state laws, and protect the public health. He was just perpetuating another of the funeral industries falsehoods.

       The Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Pan American Health Organization, have done studies... with data to back up their claim that bodies that are not embalmed pose no risk to the public.  Here is a link for more information.
      The real facts about embalming

      Here is the web page for the news piece. The embalming myth is at the 10:00 minute mark.
      Embalming myth .

      Hospice under attack
       All of you reading this will eventually need hospice care for someone in your family. Corporations and Wall Street are now wanting to tap into the flow of money going to hospice care in our country. Which will come at the expense of patient care to satisfy the quarterly profits of investors. So investors are buying up Hospice business. And what happens to these hospice buyouts, which there are studies to back up are: A narrow range of services to dying patients than not-for-profits including,
      Fewer visits from nurses during the last few days of life.
      Less continuous nursing and inpatient care,
      and fewer options for pain relief.
      Here are a few links to Hospice resources to make a informed choice.
      Hospice care problems 
      Comparing Hospice companies.
      Hospice under attack 

      The home funeral movement is coming back.
      The last four caskets I have sold have gone to families who are planning on doing a home funeral. Covid-19 and our current economic situation are probably pushing people that direction. I am for home funerals. The cost is a fraction of what the funeral home costs. But most important is the sacredness and feeling that a home funeral brings to families who do this for a loved one. If a person is on hospice at home. It makes sense to do a home funeral. When a family is taking care of a loved one who is dying at home they wash then dress the person each day. When they die. The family does a final washing of the body then dresses them.Then lays them in a casket. Then if the weather is warm  the family will add a few small blocks of ice or dry ice around the kidneys and abdominal area. If its cold weather they just open a window. Then they contact the cemetery to get a grave site ready. Families still have to purchase a burial vault through the funeral home. Since burial vault companies will not sell to the public. But that's about it. My first experience with a home funeral was with a family who had lived in new Zealand. They knew that when their time to die came they would do a home funeral since they saw first hand how the rest of the world does it. And they did. In the hottest part of the year August. This person died on a Friday and they buried him on a Tuesday morning after a service at a local LDS church. No embalming, no problems, and no funeral director was involved. They could have easily done the same funeral routine that thousands of families do each year in the USA... but they wanted the privilege of taking care of their loved one themselves.
      It's nice to start seeing other families doing the same thing. Just like it was before the funeral industrial business complex came along.
      Who has the right to decide your funeral?
      With the Utah form shown below properly signed and notarized, you can have whoever you want to do your funeral... even if family members object.
      This form prevents a number of problems from happening. 
      But the main one that I have seen is someone else who wants to maintain excessive control (ex spouses, or parent) of the family by deciding how the funeral will be done. Over the objections of the family. Or what the deceased wanted. Show this form to the funeral home and they have to abide by it or they can be in legal trouble. Plus it protects the funeral home from family politics.
      I had to add this to my blog because I had a lady who purchased a casket recently who had a ex spouse come in and tell the funeral home what he wanted for a funeral over the objections of the other family members... and made the other family members pay for it because this controlling ex spouse did not have any money for the funeral.  

      A new illegal tactic.
      This latest funeral home illegal surcharge was told to me by a customer. They were doing a home funeral in another state and needed a burial vault. So they called the local funeral home to buy one. The local funeral home told them they had to charge a inspection fee on the casket that family was supplying. Even though the casket would be going directly to the cemetery. Without the funeral home being involved. One of the family members told them that was illegal according to the FTC funeral rule... and the funeral home backed off. I wonder how many other families were told the same thing in that state to discourage  families in providing a casket. 
      Other casket options
      Utah is in a unique situation when it comes to funerals. If you looked at the cremation rate map earlier in my blog, you would notice that Utah is in a blue color surrounded by a sea of red. Utah is one of only five states where the cremation rate is less than 30%. This means a lot more caskets being sold to consumers in our state. The sale of the funeral home casket is a high profit margin item. So it's in the funeral home's best interest to sell or up sell you one of their caskets. In the next few photos I will illustrate the costs of caskets from the funeral home verses buying one from a third party seller.  
      In the photo above there is a 18 gauge classic blue casket that sells for $3,295 from the funeral home. You can get the same colored casket from Costco for $899, and that includes 3 day shipping to the funeral home.  So about a 114% price difference. And this funeral home's price list is from 2016.
      The next example is misleading. Every two years  the Utah Funeral Consumers Alliance members go  visit the funeral homes in our state to get the latest price list. This one was picked up in April of 2020. The Mt. Pine blue casket (comparable to the Costco blue casket) has a list price of only $1,494. Not much of a difference you might say. But if you look at the date the price list was printed (December 2010) Prices have gone up considerably since then. Also there is the disclaimer stating prices may change without notice. So even if this price list was 10 years old, the disclaimer protects the funeral home.
      The consumer has many options to buy affordable caskets made in the U.S.A. other than the funeral home. The four I have listed below are reputable and will have the casket delivered in time for a funeral.
      Now you might ask why I am promoting these other companies over what I sell. Not everyone wants a simple wood casket. Some people feel more comfortable with a casket that is not rustic in design. The other is cost. Especially if a family does not have the money for a funeral. 
      Simplified cost comparison

      Some people like to see numbers to compare costs. In this case the costs for doing a full service vs a direct burial.  A lot of people confuse a direct burial with a grave side service. The funeral home director is present for the grave side service.  So costs are more. Typically they are only less than $500.00 from a full service funeral.

      Why you do not want to use
      For profit hospice.
      This topic I have addressed in a earlier post above. The link I have provided from Propublica shows how bad hospice has become with for profit hospices. Money has become the new boss for hospice. Not compassionate care for the terminally ill. If you or a loved one need hospice... find a not for profit company.