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March 24, 2011

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Special fund for funerals

SENIORS without children can now arrange their own funerals after the Shanghai Funeral and Interment Trade Association set up a special fund, it said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Funeral Service Center published a price guide for coffins, urns and other funerary items to prevent price gouging.

The funeral association said seniors can sign contracts with funeral parlors allowing them to arrange their own funeral service, including grave purchase. The fund will cover the outstanding funeral cost, arising from inflation, from the contract price, it said.

The fund will also cover funeral costs for needy residents, the association said. It did not specify the size of the fund.

Officials said eventually everyone will be able to arrange their own funeral. This will provide people with peace of mind so they won't have to worry about whether they get a good funeral.

The funeral service center provided a price guide on products made of different materials so families know they aren't being cheated.

The center said for a long time, funeral parlors were regarded as a great business to make "huge profits" as many companies charged exorbitant prices for coffins and urns.

Cheating on materials is a common trick. For example, companies often tell families urns are made of high-quality rosewood or white marble, when they are actually made of common wood or stone.

People can file a complaint with the center if they feel they have been overcharged.


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