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Church Funeral Arrangements Most Funeral Homes Don't Want You to Make

How to Plan an LDS Funeral

Arranging a Funeral or Cremation in Utah (US Funerals Online)

How to Plan A Catholic Funeral

Planning A Catholic Funeral (YouTube)

Preparing A Jewish Funeral

FACT: A Church Funeral Is One of Your Best Options

But not if you use the wrong funeral home.

A church funeral is an American tradition. Having a church funeral service and viewing or "wake" at the church of your choice should cost you less money than using a funeral home chapel, just as having the funeral at your home should cost you less. Yet the funeral industry wants to maximize their profits, so they tell you it costs just as much or more for them to conduct a church funeral.

Most funeral homes play the "game" of charging you around $7,000-$7,500 (with low-end casket) on average to handle a funeral at your church, the same price they charge families who do everything at their mortuary chapel using their parking lot. But many funeral service providers will conduct your funeral for much less than $4,000 when you use your church. In reality, your church (as well as graveside) funeral should be more like $3,000. Don't get "buffaloed".

Every community has funeral service providers who will give you excellent service for much less money for using your church. In the Salt Lake area the best choices I have identified are: Premier Funeral Services, Legacy Funerals and Cremations, Serenity Funeral Home, Utah Valley Mortuary, and Holbrook Mortuary. All these providers charge between $1,795 and $2,700 for a full traditional church funeral service with a viewing (casket not included). They also don't play the casket over-pricing "game," so caskets you purchase through them are good values also compared to the high profile homes and chain operations. Read Wall Street Journal Article.

I have personal experience working with the owner of Premier Funeral Services. I have written close over 260 plans for Premier Funeral Services with costs frozen with a guarantee contract and a Funeral Expense Trust with one of the nation's largest insurance companies. The details of this method of funding and freezing the costs are discussed elsewhere on this Web site. This is the best value I offer, a full traditional funeral with casket included for under $3,000.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to leave money for "when the time comes," either through life insurance or funds set aside, and let your family go to the beloved funeral home in your community that has been in business for decades. Your family will end up paying $8,000 to $12,000 (or more) for a church funeral and casket. Working with me, you can nail down the cost of exactly what you want, including a properly priced casket, for $2,800 to $4,000--frozen in advance.


Funeral Home Survey

(These packages are WITHOUT a casket, burial vault, obituary, grave opening, etc. This is for a full traditional funeral service only).

A contract called a "Guarantee Form" is attached to a special life insurance policy designed to prepay for a funeral. These two items together constitute a guaranteed, "frozen" funeral plan. The funeral home (funeral service provider) decides which services and merchandise it can freeze the cost of in advance. Frozen costs means these items will be provided at the time of need, regardless of what they are charging new customers. There will be no need for the family to come up with additional money.

The back side of the guarantee form explains how the funeral home can never charge you more than what they receive from the insurance company at the time of death. They can never bill you more for a shortage on anything specificied on the front side of the form:

Note the words "regardless of the market price at the time of need." This is your cost and price guarantee. Remember there is a difference between prices now and your cost of the plan. There is a cost associated with stretching any plan out over time. Today's prices are the basis of the plan. The funeral home isn't obligated to charge today's prices at the time of need. They cannot, however, charge you more than the proceeds of the insurance plan. They must accept what the preneed or final expense company sends them as payment in full, regardless of their prices at the time of need. Their "insurable interest" is what they are charging at the time of need, but it cannot be more than your insurance on the plan pays. They must "eat" the difference if they are charging more than the insurance or "death benefit" is worth.

(click picture below to enlarge)

Choose Your Casket with Care

It's very simple. Go to my casket showcase page. Find the cost and model to your liking. Add this to $1,795 for a full funeral service held at your church of choice through Premier Funeral Services (my top choice provider). There's your total cost basis for the guaranteed plan. Choose the Apollo casket, and your total cost is $2,790.

If you choose to pay with one payment, your discount can be calculated on the table above as well. If you need a burial vault, add $895.

It's all that simple. Funeral homes don't like you to do this. They would rather steer you toward a plan that costs you more and yields them more profit. If you work with me, you don't have to worry about that.

If you don’t prepay for a funeral, it greatly increases the chances that your family will overpay or overspend—which is normally undesirable. You can only prevent this by prepaying in a way that either locks in the prices as per a “guarantee” contract or a plan that spells out the quality of your services and merchandise as specifically as possible.

What Costs Are Not "Frozen"?

The following costs cannot normally be guaranteed or frozen on a funeral plan contract: cemetery labor, flowers, obituaries, death certificates, sales tax, and a few other things. Whenever anyone wants to make sure these items are covered under one plan, we estimate the costs and include funds for it in addition to the guaranteed items. These funds grow in cash value separately and are pro-rated. (See illustration) My average amount for these things is around $1,500. Add this to the guaranteed funeral amount, even including vault, and you can still be around $5,000-$6,000 total--not $10,000 or more that funeral homes would have you believe. Click here for more details about this. This is very realistic. I can set this up for you. All you need is a burial plot somewhere in Northern Utah.

To properly plan your church funeral, print out the Final Wishes Summary worksheet and start filling it out. When you indicate to your family in this set of instructions that you want a church funeral, write who will be in charge (oldest child, priest, brother, bishop, etc.) Then write in who you have decided is the best funeral service provider for a church funeral at the price you want to pay. Record the name of this funeral service provider under "At time of need contact:" For example, Premier Funeral Services.

Church Funeral Followed By Cremation

Many of the plans I've written over the last five years have been for people who want a traditional church funeral service with viewing but who do not want a burial or its associated expenses. This eliminates the cost of a burial vault, burial plot, and cemetery labor costs. (Or burial costs can be reduced by using a cremation burial space and a cremains vault instead). The casket cost is reduced through the use of a rental casket, normally a casket of high quality that is returned to the funeral home after the services are done. A cremation casket or other wood casket may also be purchased. After the rental casket is returned, a cardboard container is used for the cremation. Cremated remains are returned to the family in a plastic container, or an urn can be purchased.

The average cost of a church funeral service with cremation in the Salt Lake area is around $4,500 without casket. I have available the same with rental casket for $2,500 through Premier Funeral Services.

This is how it compares with other package services:

With Premier Funeral Services, the cremation funeral package is exactly the same as the traditional funeral service package for $1,795, except the full cost of a direct cremation (including all transportation and containers but not death certificates, sales taxes, or cremation permit) are included free (value $750). This is probably the best value funeral plan I've ever offered.

Here's how you can pay for it with the National Guardian Life Funeral Expense Trust. Prices are frozen or guaranteed, regardless of future price increases.

No Funeral Home Pays Me Any Money

I make less money showing you better alternatives. This money is paid to me by the funding companies I use. Funeral homes pay me nothing. No bonuses or commissions are paid to me for promoting any particular funeral service provider.

I have my choice of which funeral homes I can represent. These days, I am very picky. I no longer can be lured by bonus money offered by the expensive funeral homes. Let them and their agents bilk seniors. I am only interested in giving your family the best deal for your money, period. I have a handful of funeral service providers (homes) that I would highly recommend. Premier Funeral Services, serving Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah counties, and even in neighboring states, is the best value for your money that I can see. I have written well over 240 plans for Premier in the past four years alone.


The law is very strict. You can’t pay any money to a funeral home until someone has passed away. This means, in the meantime, your money has to stay deposited somewhere else until the time of death. 90% of all prepaid funerals are funded by life insurance companies who are specifically in the final expense and funeral funding business. I use the largest of its kind. They have been in business for over a hundred years.

I get tired of learning how senior citizens are being taken advantage of. Many of them are buried with medical expenses and fixed incomes. Fortunately, I’ve been able to rescue some, and even reverse the course they were on. I can often get you out of a bad deal, put you into another, and you won’t lose any of what you’ve already invested. How exactly I can do that depends on your situation.

Already paid too much for a pre-paid funeral? I may be able to get you some of your money back, and you’ll still get the same thing you paid for besides. Most often, I can save you about $2,500.00.

Let’s go over your situation and do things the RIGHT WAY.

Some of Darryl Roberts' advice from his book Profits of Death:

"The key to controlling future funeral and cemetery costs is to arrange and pay for them in advance."

"...people will purchase more in an emotionally charged at-need moment than they will in a calmer and more stable pre-need moment."

"Pre-planning is absolutely the best thing you can do to ensure that you get the final arrangements you want and save money at the same time."

"In my opinion, insurance policies are the best way to go. The insurance industry is highly regulated. Also, insurance companies are typically more balanced and more stable than most death merchants. Even when insurance companies go bankrupt, state and federal agencies come to the rescue of policyholders. Certainly the same cannot be said of funeral homes and cemeteries!"

The only advisor with the qualifications needed to give good advice about funeral planning is one who has extensive experience in the industry. I have written many hundreds of funeral, burial and cremation plans over 25 years, and it has not been for just one company. I have been in the trenches and seen every tactic used in the interest of making money, even at the expense of families. I have studied and adhered to the standards of the National Funeral Directors Association. It's not about whether or not I'm making money for the funeral home or the funding company. It's about zeroing in on the best value for your money.

Look at these Web pages on the Internet also:

Should You Prepay Your Own Funeral Expenses?

Let Your Legacy Be Peace Of Mind, Not Debt

What is the Difference Between Life Insurance and Funeral Plans?

Our average ten-year plan at most ages is around $33.00 a month. Compare that to what other funeral homes you may have had in mind can offer you. The average funeral plan in the Salt Lake area on a ten-year plan is around $100.00 per month per person.

Let me show you in detail in your home how to outline your final wishes and preferences in the best way possible. Let me show you the best plan for your money.

I don't need your Social Security number. There is a major funeral funding company based in the Salt Lake area that owns many mortuaries and cemeteries that insists on getting your Social Security number when you set up a plan with them. Don't fall for this. That number is only needed for a death certificate, not for a funeral or burial plan. The funding I use does NOT require your Social Security number. Turn down any plan that does.

Get professional, personalized service at the right price, on the best terms.

This agency only works with local, privately-owned funeral homes. This means you will be dealing with a trusted member of your community, not some distant corporation only worried about a bottom line.