Losing a loved one can be quite a rough experience, and it can be even more overwhelming if we have to make many tough decisions regarding funeral planning. The last thing anyone wants is dealing with financial frustrations from funeral costs.
The good news is there are rights protecting funeral home clients. Unknown to many, the funeral rule was enacted to help mourners run their burial plans smoothly despite the emotional turmoil.
Many families often assume they must buy their caskets and coffins from the funeral homes serving them. Let’s take a look at this and many other laws regarding funeral planning that you should know about before you start your send-off journey, and click here to find more information:
The Funeral Rule
The funeral rule refers to federal law covering funeral directors. The set of rules gives you the right to:
- Only buy funeral services and goods that you want.
- Purchase separate goods online such as caskets and provide funeral homes with the casket purchased elsewhere without adding extra charges.
- Decline any package that has items you do not want.
- Not be misled, lied to, or have state and federal requirements and laws misrepresented to you.
Buying a coffin that’s on sale online then arranging for its delivery to a selected funeral home for the funeral service is legal in all 50 states. It’s also illegal for the providers to enact unreasonable restrictions on when such items must be delivered or who should receive the delivery.
Federal law also prohibits funeral directors from imposing extra fees such as ‘casket handling’ charges to clients who buy caskets online. Funeral homes are also only allowed to have a non-declinable fee. However, the fee must be charged on an essential service or good.
If a funeral home tells you something is a legal requirement, request for a copy of the law. It’s illegal; for funeral homes to misrepresent or lie about cemetery or funeral rules, laws and regulations. Examples of common misrepresentations include the quality of coffins or caskets bought online.
Filing a Complaint Against a Funeral Home or Funeral Director
If a funeral director or home has broken the law, file a complaint to the state’s funeral agency or board. You can do this directly or speak to an agency to file the complaint on your behalf.
Apart from Hawaii and Colorado, every state has an agency or funeral board that regulates all funeral directors. Similarly, about half the states also have a cemetery regulation.
Funeral boards or state redresses will usually have several ways to compensate you. It may order them to refund you, reduce the funeral bill, order an apology, impose a fine or require the funeral home to have additional education.
The board may also issue a warning to the offender and place them on probation. In severe cases, their license may get revoked.
Educate Yourself On Funeral Planning
Before visiting a funeral home, create a draft of your preferences for the burial and burial services. Inquire for a general price list on the itemized services and goods. You are not obliged to disclose your plans on purchasing a coffin, casket, or any other item from an external vendor. Select which of the services and items on the list you want to get.
Once you have your funeral plan, contact an external vendor to compare the prices before you finalize. Remember that you are the client, so you are in charge of the entire process.