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TOPIC: Dying out of state - how best to handle this?

Dying out of state - how best to handle this? 06 Jul 2009 16:57 #256

Glad I found this site - thanks for reading.

My 4 yrs diagnosed with Alzheimer's Mom, age 87, is coming to live with me in Maryland next week. I want to be prepared should she die here. Her home is in Georgia. Her name is already on the headstone next to my dad and grandparents.
I read the articles on bringing a body home - but I would love to hear from someone who has actually done it. Specifically:

1. Would I call Moms doctor in Georgia should she expire here, or do I need to meet a doc here who can pronounce her dead?

2. Would I call the funeral home 'back home' who has handled all of our family's burials? Is it true I don't have to contact a home here? Is it true she would nopt have to be embalmed?

3. How would they transport the body? Can it go on Amtrak and I ride along?

4. I have not preplanned Mom's funeral. My intent is to tel lthe funeral home to do the same 'thing' with Mom as they did with my aunt - a modest burail for which we paid cash. There will be no viewing, and likely only her children in attendance at graveside. I want to keep it as simple as possible. Should I contact the family funeral home now just in case?

Thanks for lettting me vent. I am an old girl scout and a big fan of planning ahead.
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Re:Dying out of state - how best to handle this? 31 Jul 2009 10:06 #263

I am in the same situation with my mom. I moved her to AZ from OK because of her failing health but she will be taken back to OK when she dies. I would also like to know how to handle these very specific needs. Thanks for the information.
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Re:Dying out of state - how best to handle this? 31 Jul 2009 12:41 #264

I went home to Georgia last week to fetch my Mom for her trip here - and decided to stop by the funeral home our family has always used to check on a little preplanning.

First thing I discovered was that the funeral home was no longer owned locally, but rather by a 'large corporation in Texas" Uh-oh.

Second thing I learned was the minimum price to do business with these folks is now$2830.00. This covers:

- personnel available 24/7
- arrangement conference
- coordinating with cemetery (which they also own and is right next door)
- clerical assistance for forms and permits
- overhead, facility maintenance, equipment and inventory costs, insurance and admin expenses, and government compliance

Embalming is $895.

If you want to have then dress the body and put it in a casket its $295

To handle and bathe the body is $295.

Cosmetology is $95.00

If you want refrigeration of the deceased (which is required)? $195.00

So that $4155 (check my math) to hire them and have them embalm, bath, dress, put some lipstick on and put her in the cooler.

If you want visitation its $295 per day.

If you want a funeral services in their chapel that's another $795 - you have to pay extra if you want a preacher, a 'guest book', clothing, and any such as that. And graveside is the same cost of$795 so you can't save any money there.

So lets add the $4155 to 1 day of visitation and a graveside service - now we're at $5245.00

But we have to get the body to the cemetery! Momma's plot is actually 1/2 mile from the door of the funeral home - I clocked it.

To transfer the remains their is $495 - but this doesn't include the use of the hearse - that's an additional $295.00 - so now we're at $6035.00. And if you've got a flower truck coming behind that's $75.00 more $6110.00

But wait - we never bought a casket!

Caskets start at $695 and run to $8595.00. They don't have them on display anymore – they have a corner of them for you to see – and all the linings and pillows are al a carte. And of course he was quick to point out that you get what you pay for and a cheap casket was not going to keep Momma ‘protected from the elements’ for very long.

So lets say I purchase a cheaper $2000.00 casket and they throw in the liner and pillow – we are now up to $8110.00 – and we have yet to buy a vault!

People don’t know a lot about vaults. Vaults are the outer concrete containers that are put into the ground first and the casket goes into that rather than into the ground. Salesman admitted the state of Georgia does not require the use of a vault – but guess what? The cemetery does – so you HAVE TO BUY ONE. Vaults start at $995 – but of course these don’t ‘seal’ and we want Momma in one that seals – again to protect her from the elements. The cheapest one that seals is $1395.00 – so lets get this one (The highest priced one is $9495 and looks like something you’d buy an Egyptian King in).

So $8110.00 + $1395.00 = $9505.00

And of course you have to pay to have the grave dug - $1295.00

To have the vault installed $300.00

$9505.00 + $1295 + $300 =$11,100.00

And did you want an obituary? $170

A death certificate or two? $20 each

A minister provided? $150.00 not including tip.

$11,100 + $170 + $20 = $11290.00

And in Georgia tax is 6% - I didn’t ask if any of the ‘services’ were exempt from tax so lets assume they are not (besides I am sure I have forgotten something we would need - music, flowers, chairs).

$11290.00 x 6% - $677.40. Total here: $11967.40

And none of this includes the cost of having Mom die in Maryland and moving her back to Georgia.

To remove remains from another funeral home or airport within a 50 mile radius is an additional $1495.00.

So lets say I flew Mom home on Delta to Atlanta and they met hr casket there – At $2.50 for every mile over 50 miles (its about 100 miles to the Atlanta airport to the funeral home)that’s another $125.00

$11967.40 + $1495.00 + $125.00 = $13,587.40

And we’ve yet to pay for the funeral home who will handle Mom here – and we’ve yet to pay for transporting the body.

So I figure once all that is done – it would cost roughly $18000.00

I’m not doing it.

I love my Momma and I intend for her to rest in peace beside my dad and grandparents – but to spend 18K to make it happen is totally unreasonable. So I have decided to do a simple cremation here in Maryland when she passes, and then I’ll take the train back to Georgia carrying the simplest of urns in my hands, and scatter Moms ashes on her plot. Even this won’t be cheap. The cost of a ‘direct cremation’ at my funeral home is $2240.00 (this includes their cheapest cremation container) but it does not include the use of the crematory – so I’m still going to be spending over $3000 once I buy an ‘urn’ and put an obit in the paper (if the prices are similar here. I haven’t checked yet).

Hope all this helps someone.
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Re:Dying out of state - how best to handle this? 20 Aug 2009 09:18 #278

What a great description of how much it all costs! Can be crazy, huh?

Cremation in MD is certainly the least expensive and simplest. Then you can take the ashes (car, train, plane) to GA to be buried next to or sprinkled over dad.

If you're going to go with cremation, contact the MD FCA office:

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maryland and Environs
9601 Cedar Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814

They can point you to a funeral home that goes statewide and does a simple cremation for as little as $920.

However, if you would much prefer burial, you could find a funeral home in GA and/or MD that would do the transportation and burial for a lot less than $18,000. Chains tend to be more expensive (and have a lot of other problems).

You can contact the GA FCA affiliate. I'm not sure if they're near enough your family cemetery to help you, but it's worth a shot.

The Memorial Society of Georgia
1911 Cliff Valley Way NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Middle Georgia Chapter
5276 Zebulon Rd.
Macon, GA 31210

Members of MSOG pay "No greater than $1,950.00 Simple Burial includes removal of body; care, dressing and casketing of body; filing of paper work; transportation to cemetery. A cloth covered casket is included. Simple burials and simple cremations do not include space and time at funeral home for memorial service. You can arrange this service with the funeral director or at a place of your choosing. Simple Burial does not include cemetery plot or opening of the grave, (although the funeral directors will make the contact for you) committal service nor embalming."

Of course, that's just the funeral home cost and you know about the other charges involved.

As for getting the body to GA from MD, read our pamphlet "Death in One State, Burial in Another." Excerpt: "If ... there is no need to have services with the body present in the area where death occurred, you will generally save money by working through a funeral director located where the body is to be shipped, and not a funeral home near the place of death. Call a mortuary in the location where you want the body buried and ask them to use a shipping service such as Inman Nationwide 1-800-321-0566 (this number is for undertakers only; the company will not talk with consumers). At the time of this writing, Inman charges funeral homes $830 to pick up a body, get permits and the death certificate, embalm, and deliver to the airport. There may be an additional mileage charge if the Inman agent in your area must travel any great distance. By comparison, the charge for this service can be anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more when approaching a local funeral home directly. NOTE: The airline ticket itself is an additional fee."

Please note that no casket or vault will protect a body from the elements forever. Please do not be fooled into buying a more expensive sealed casket. In fact, consider letting her return to the earth naturally (ashes to ashes, dust to dust) and get an inexpensive grave liner. They can put holes in the bottom or put it in upside down with no lid (still keeps the grass nice and level for mowing).

As for the earlier questions; when mom dies, a local MD will need to do the pronouncement. If she's declining and losing weight, call your local hospice to see if she's eligible. Not only do they provide great services, they will do the pronouncement at home.

Good luck!
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