Frequently Asked Questions
Can FCA pay for my loved one's funeral?
Sorry, we don't have the funds to pay for people's funerals BUT ideas about where to find money to pay for a funeral are on our "Need $ TODAY" page.
What is the least expensive funeral home in my area?
The list the police, hospice or hospital will hand you is often incomplete. We have seen them specifically leave off the cheapest mortuary in the county.
To price shop at a glance go to our home page on this site, look on the right sidebar for "Mortuary price survey". Click on the section of the state you live in and begin comparison shopping.
Even if the services you want to buy are not listed you can still tell which funeral home charges a lot less than others and if their prices are presented in a clear and ethical way.
Will you help me do a family-directed funeral?
Yes, we can consult with you by phone as much as you need. If you don't live too far, one of our volunteers can come to your home to be a resource as you discuss things as a family. We can even be present as support while you carry out the funeral and care of your dead. We do not funeral-direct. We do not do the funeral for you, nor tell you what to do but merely offer ideas and support.
I called the help number & left a message but it's been several hours and I really need help now. What should I do?
Please call us again in case we haven't noticed there is a message waiting. Also Joyce welcomes texts. You can try that. We volunteer from home so don't hesitate to call in the evenings and weekends.
How did you get involved with funeral consumer advocacy?
Being interested in end of life issues, I read a book in the 1990’s about caring for the dead. (The author has since co-authored a new book that I now recommend: Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death by Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson.) My husband and I talked about what we wanted and didn’t want regarding after death care and made sure our children knew our preferences.
In 2007 my husband and I had the opportunity to serve a mission in New Zealand for 18 months where we saw that families caring for the bodies of their deceased loved ones at home was the ordinary thing to do. We attended 4 home viewings, each time marveling at how comfortable we felt, how we liked the simple caskets, how the families were able to honor the traditions of their culture and their religion. We marveled at the respect the family showed by always having a family member in the home with the body, and how natural it was to see the person with the paleness that occurs with death rather than artificial makeup.
When my husband passed away in 2011, it was satisfying for me and my adult children to care for him at home, but it was challenging to do so in a country with so many misconceptions about the value and legality of doing so.
I became a volunteer with FCA of Utah, in hopes that I can help Utahans learn they have choices beyond those offered at a mortuary. I want everyone to know that they can direct the funeral of those they have loved and cared for in life.
In 1994 I saw an article in the newspaper about a man in New Hampshire that made a plain pine casket for his dad. In the article a Funeral Director was quoted as saying, "A lot of people want to be buried in a pine box, but when it comes time they end up with the standard commercial casket." I was dumbfounded. Why can't people get what THEY want? So I did some research that made me conclude I needed to join FCA (then called FAMSA "Funeral and Memorial Societies of America").
Six years went by, when in 2000 I had seen enough of articles in my local newspaper depicting families who purchased a funeral they couldn't afford, relegating themselves to fund raising to pay the bill. I exclaimed, "Don't they know that a funeral doesn't have to cost so much?!" Determined to liberate Utah families to care for their dead in an affordable way I, with a small group of enthusiasts, restarted the Utah affiliate which had folded prior to 94. And here we are 13 years later.
Our most dramatic event happened after the Utah Legislature took away the ability of citizens to file a death certificate in 2006. They handed it exclusively to Funeral Directors, some of which lied about the law and up-sold families who wanted a death certificate only. So in 2009 we convinced the Legislature to return to citizens the right to file a death certificate directly with Vital Records.
FCA of Utah assists hundreds of families every year with information and support. Many of these haven't the means to donate. Would you please consider become a sustaining member of FCA so all Utah families will continue to have access to this information? Go to our "You Can Help" page.
Call if you still have questions or need more help
Joyce 801-368-5884 (cell phone) or 801-226-2323 (landline)
After receiving phone help one widower said, "I will be forever grateful for your help. When I am on my feet again I will donate. Everyone should know about what you do."
After receiving our newsletter one member wrote, "
"I appreciate all your work on research and letting others know. I cringe every time I think of $12,000 to take care of a loved one after death. That could nearly put a grandchild through college!"
Thank you for your questions!
Copyright © 2009 FCA of Utah. All rights reserved.