When a loved one dies, people often face a great deal of pressure to make funeral arrangements. By making good choices and asking the right questions, you can make arrangements that are meaningful to your family, while controlling costs.
The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau licenses and regulates funeral practitioners, establishments, and crematoriums to ensure proper and dignified disposition of the dead. It also receives and investigates consumer complaints.
Arrangement conferences are often conducted by funeral bureaus in the family home, at the place of death, or remotely (such as by telephone). The conference involves discussions about the deceased person’s needs and preferences for final disposition.
The arrangement conference is a very important first step in the process of arranging the funeral, so prepare for it. Make sure that all the necessary information is available, such as insurance policies or estate information.
Some funeral providers enter into agreements with government agencies to arrange special funeral arrangements for indigent persons or those who are entitled to a government benefit. If you enter into these arrangements, you must follow all Rule requirements.
You must give price lists to the agency or persons who qualify for these special arrangements. These price lists may be added to your regular price list or prepared as a separate price list.
Preparation of the Body
After a loved one dies, the funeral bureau will prepare the body for transport or burial. This includes washing the body, bathing, and positioning the body in a casket or other container.
This process will help preserve the body, prevent further decomposition, and delay the onset of rigor mortis (the body’s natural state). The body will be dressed and placed in a refrigeration unit for cremation or prepared for transport to another location by ground or air travel.
Embalming is the process of preserving a dead human body by washing it and replacing it with a preserving fluid that helps to reduce the rate of decomposition and delay the onset of rigor morris. It is a delicate procedure, and it can only be performed by a licensed funeral director.
If a consumer asks you by telephone about your offerings or prices, you must provide accurate information from your General Price List and Casket Price List. You must also provide them with a Statement of Goods and Services Selected.
Choosing the right funeral service is one of the most stressful and difficult things you will ever do. Most people aren’t in the best frame of mind when they need to make decisions, and they often don’t know what options are available or how much they cost.
But the good news is there’s a federal law that protects you and helps ensure that your choices are wise and meaningful. This rule, called the Funeral Rule, is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.
The Funeral Rule requires funeral providers to give you itemized prices for goods and services when you ask in person or over the telephone, as well as any other information that’s reasonably needed to help you choose what to buy. It also requires providers to tell you if they charge a fee for buying certain items (called “cash advance items”), and if they get refunds, discounts or rebates from suppliers of cash advance items.
Funeral merchandise is any property sold or offered for sale to the public in connection with funeral services. This includes but is not limited to caskets, outer burial containers, alternative containers, clothing, monuments, flowers, memory folders, prayer cards and register books.
Funeral providers must comply with the Funeral Rule if they sell or offer to sell funeral goods and services. This includes not only licensed funeral homes, but also cemeteries and crematories.
General Price List (GPL)
The Funeral Rule requires all “funeral providers” to give a General Price List to consumers who ask, in person, about the prices of funeral goods and services. This includes competitors, journalists, and representatives of businesses, religious societies, government agencies, or consumer groups.
Cash advance item
The Funeral Rule prohibits you from making a misrepresentation to consumers that they must buy a particular good or service because of a law, cemetery or crematory requirement. You must disclose this fact on the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected or in writing.