Laws Governing Funerals That You Need To Know

A funeral home is a business, just like any other. While they are compassionate and caring people, their job is to sell you products and services. It is perfectly acceptable to try to get the best possible price for your loved one's funeral service. Knowing the laws regarding funerals and funeral homes can help you save money while still getting exactly what you want.

Funeral Homes Must Give You a Clear Price List

The Federal Trade Commission "Funeral Rule" requires that the funeral director give you an itemized list of prices for their products and services. Some of the items on that list are:

  • Basic services fee -- covers the the funeral director and staff's services. It may include other items such as permits, storage of the body, planning, coordination with the cemetery or cramatory and copies of the death certificate. 
  • Written list of all available caskets, including less expenses models not on display, which must be given to you before you view them.

Educate Yourself on What Is and Is Not Required by Law

According to the FTC

  • No state requires embalming unless the body is not cremated or buried within a certain time limit. If you do not want embalming, or services will go past the limit, ask about refrigeration services.
  • Casket liners and vaults, designed to keep graves from collapsing as the contents decompose, are not required by any state. However, this may be an item required by the cemetery.
  • You may provide your own urn or casket, and the funeral home is not allowed to charge extra for handling those bought elsewhere.
  • You are not required to have a casket. If you would like a green service, you may bury the body in a biodegradable shroud, at a minimal cost. Biodegradable wool caskets are also available for much less than a steel or wood model. Not all cemeteries allow green funerals, though.
  • You are not required to have a viewing in the funeral home. You can have your memorial service anywhere you like, and you can also have printed materials done wherever you wish, even on your own printer.

Non-Profits Can Help 

If planning the funeral is just too much for you, check for nonprofits or volunteer groups in your area that provide funeral planning services. They can work with the funeral home to negotiate a lower price for the funeral you would like for your loved one.

For more information, contact Fletcher Funeral Home PA or a similar location.