Check out the March 16, 2009 Newsweek Magazine story on families looking for a dignified send-off that won't bury them in debt. Writer Matthew Phillips does a great job laying-out simpler, cheaper ways to get to the great beyond.
He interviews a funeral director who's one of the new breed in this industry - low overhead, low-price, and no-nonsense. Families looking for affordable funerals love him, but predictably, the old guard in the funeral industry would love to shut him down:
Rival funeral directors aren't so sure: last month the Michigan Funeral Directors Association asked him to stop attending meetings, annoyed at this new competition. "That made me feel really bad. I didn't expect the business to take off so suddenly, and I think it's spooked some people," Macksoud says. "I thought there'd be some backlash, but I didn't anticipate this." If the industry is spooked, it's probably because they're seeing other low-cost providers thriving during hard times.