Funeral planning 101

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It's inevitable. It happens to all of us. And it's not always the easiest to plan. MPR News host Angela Davis talked about funerals and end-of-life celebrations.

How can we make the process seamless and less stressful? What do you need to do now to prepare? Davis was joined by Marilaurice Hemlock, acting board chair of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Minnesota, and Jill Sauber, attorney at the Chestnut Cambronne law firm and licensed mortician.

Here are some helpful funeral tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

• Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Remember that you can supply your own casket or urn.

• Ask for a price list. The law requires funeral homes to give you written price lists for products and services.

• Resist pressure to buy goods and services you don't really want or need.

• Avoid emotional overspending. It's not necessary to have the fanciest casket or the most elaborate funeral to properly honor a loved one.

• Recognize your rights. Laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state. It's a smart move to know which goods or services the law requires you to purchase and which are optional.

• Apply the same smart shopping techniques you use for other major purchases. For example, you can cut costs by limiting the viewing to one day or one hour before the funeral; or by holding a visitation with cremated remains in someone's home.

• Shop in advance. It allows you to comparison shop without time constraints, creates an opportunity for family discussion, and lifts some of the burden from your family.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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