Funeral Directors and the Funeral Bureau

funeral bureau

Some funeral directors enter into arrangements with certain religious groups, burial societies and memorial societies to provide their members with package funerals at special prices. If you offer such packages, you must still comply with the Rule.

You cannot condition the furnishing of any funeral good or service on the purchase of another. This includes cash advance items such as cemetery or crematory services; pallbearers; public transportation; clergy honoraria; flowers; musicians or singers; nurses; obituary notices and gratuities.


The Department regulates the business and practice of funeral directing for 1800 funeral firms, 4000 practitioners, and 90 registered residents (individuals in training) through Public Health Law section 3401, including licensing, inspections, investigation of consumer/provider complaints, and education and training. The Commission also sets the Funeral Rule, which requires all funeral providers to offer a General Price List, Casket Price List, Outer Burial Container Price List, and Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected.

Some funeral homes enter into agreements with groups or associations to offer their members special prices on funeral goods and services. If someone from one of these groups inquires in person about funeral arrangements, you must give them your price lists.

You must also give a GPL to consumers who want to modify funeral goods or services purchased under pre-need contracts. You must also give them a Casket Price List at the beginning of any discussion about caskets and an Outer Burial Container Price List before showing them containers.


Cremation is the process of incineration that turns the body into ashes. Before cremation the remains are usually embalmed and placed in a coffin or casket for viewing or a funeral service. The casket is then moved to the crematory in a special trolley.

Before cremation a number of checks are carried out to ensure the identity of the body and that all paperwork is in order. The remains are then burned in the cremation chamber. The ashes can be buried in a grave or columbarium or scattered on private property. They can also be incorporated with concrete into a memorial statue or monument or mixed with paint for a portrait.

If you offer cremation services, you must include at least two package prices that describe the services and the outer burial container included in each price. You must also describe what is not included in each package price, such as the cost of a casket. You may also choose to list a basic services fee that is non-declinable and include in it any charges for overhead that you do not allocate to the other items on your GPL.

Home Funerals

The cost of a home funeral can be less than a traditional burial. However, it may still be more than some people can afford.

Consumers who want to avoid high costs should comparison shop. Many local family-run funeral homes offer lower prices than national chains. People can also save money by buying caskets and other funeral items on their own instead of through a funeral home.

A funeral provider must comply with the Funeral Rule by giving consumers accurate price information, including at least a basic services fee, removal and transfer of remains, embalming, other preparation of the body, caskets, funeral ceremonies, use of facilities and staff for viewing and ceremony, and memorial printing packages. The Rule requires providers to give consumers a General Price List (GPL) for them to keep at the beginning of the arrangements conference. The GPL must also include an Outer Burial Container Price List and a Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected.

Final Arrangements

When a loved one dies, grieving families face a multitude of decisions quickly and often under great emotional duress. Among the most important decisions is how to dispose of the body, whether to bury or cremate.

The Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to disclose the basic arrangements fee, which covers the availability of a director and staff to respond to an inquiry or a death call, arranging an arrangement conference, filing a copy of the death certificate, obtaining permits and copies of birth certificates, and sheltering the remains. This fee cannot be declined by a consumer and must be included in the total cost of a funeral.

In addition, the Rule requires funeral providers to give consumers a General Price List that itemizes the cost of all goods and services regularly offered. If the funeral home also sells caskets or outer burial containers, they must offer a Casket Price List and Outer Burial Container Price List.

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