Funeral Costs > PMA in WA State
When I first hear about People's Memorial Association [PMA], I was not so sure. It sounded like it might be one of those scare tatic plans that costs a lot for nothing. But this is definitely not the case with PMA which serves the Western and Central Washington state areas.
You can join PMA for a one time membership fee of $25/person. There is never another fee paid to PMA. For this membership, you get the member's prices list for funeral and cremation services with any one of PMA's contracted funeral home partners. These prices are guaranteed for every two years -- so for instance, right now, September 2006, PMA has a contract with partner funeral homes that guarantees member's prices thru March of 2008.
In 2008, PMA will renegotiate that contract for the following two years. At that time, funeral home partners may ask for increase in prices, but PMA will only allow increases based on inflation rates, no more! So the prices cannot be doubled for instance.
In addition to the member's prices, the funeral homes that contract with PMA promise to not do sales pitch nor otherwise pressure survivors who make arrangement after you have died. I saw my haggard husband after our son died and he had to deal with insensitive funeral home people who tried to upsell everything! I think my $25 might be worth the guarantee that others in my family won't face that same pressure when I die!
But there was one thing that really sold me. We live on a little island in Puget Sound, and there is only one option on-island for cremation service. Their "direct cremation" cost is $1,295.00!!!!!! Hello? If we become PMA members for the one time fee of $25, then our "direct cremation" cost with one of PMA's contracted funeral home partners is only $599.00. We will pay a small additional fee to cover the ferry trip of that funeral home partner since you can only get to and leave our island via ferry. But still, even if that costs another $100 or something, we're looking at half the price when one of us dies.
I know, I know, money is not the issue. But grief does wild things to us. When our son died, we had no mind to any of this. We paid for his urn, service, etc that month instead of paying our rent and bills! All I can tell you is that it started a cycle that went on borrowing from Peter to Pay Paul for the two years after his death -- ending with us being homeless in our car on the infamous September 11th. Yes, there was a lot more at play beside just the funeral costs, but that definitely started the cause and effect.
While we have slowly built our lives back to somewhat "normal" in the last five years since then, I have also had the opportunity in that time to meet many, many other bereaved families. Almost all of them -- I'd say 95% -- have expressed concerns about financial difficulties that came up after the death of their child. So, anyway, point being that I don't want to leave my husband with that when I die -- nor do I want him to leave me with that when he dies. So all in all, PMA is looking pretty good.
Check out the People's Memorial Association [PMA] site for yourself. Call or email them with questions. Check out their great articles on what is legal and not legal in WA state in terms of remains and cremains. You will find a link in the FAQ to a national organization doing this same kind of consumer advocacy, so if you don't live in WA state, you could still access services like this!