Losing a loved one is the most difficult thing most of us will ever face. Planning a funeral often compounds the pain because it involves making numerous decisions, both financially and emotionally.
The New York State Board of Funeral Services licenses and regulates funeral directors, crematories, and funeral homes. It also investigates consumer complaints and takes appropriate disciplinary actions when necessary.
The funeral industry is a highly regulated one and the licensing process can be a frustrating and time-consuming rite of passage. Fortunately, the Board has taken measures to streamline this process.
The agency has also made it a point to provide education and training on a variety of topics related to the industry, including the latest developments in regulatory technology.
In addition to regulating funeral establishments and licensed funeral directors, the agency is also responsible for the regulation of embalmers and apprentices; the sale of pre-need funeral contracts and cemeteries; and the operation of cremated remains disposers, hydrolysis facilities, and crematories.
The Bureau has a comprehensive web site containing links to the most relevant laws and regulations affecting the death care industry in California, along with other useful information. The agency is also a member of the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. Using a private sector testing service, the Board administers monthly standardized tests for licensees.
If you work in a funeral bureau, it’s important to keep your license up to date. This means continuing your education and taking seminars, conferences or dedicated courses on specific topics.
Aside from academic coursework, a funeral arranger may also need to complete a practicum. Often, these are internships that take place in funeral homes where you’ll apply what you learned in your program.
Depending on your state, you may also need to pass a licensing exam to earn a funeral arrangers license. While requirements vary by state, they generally require a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science or a related field and a certain amount of experience.
The New York State Funeral Directors Association publishes a Manual of the Laws and Regulations affecting funeral directing, which is a useful guide for anyone interested in becoming a licensed funeral director. You can download this document to get an overview of the state’s requirements.
Planning ahead and comparing options can spare families the stress of making decisions at an extremely emotional time. This can also save money by avoiding hasty and expensive arrangements at the last minute.
Arrangements can include basic services, such as preparing necessary documents; transporting remains; embalming; renting rooms for memorial services; and proceeding with burials or cremations. They can also include extra services, such as purchasing caskets and outer burial containers; renting hearses or limousines; arranging for burial in a cemetery or crematorium; and storing the decedent’s remains.
Funeral establishments must comply with the Rule when customers make pre-need arrangements. They must give customers a General Price List, show them a Casket Price List, and provide them with an itemized Statement of Goods and Services Selected.
When someone close to you passes away, the cost of a funeral can be stressful and overwhelming. While there are ways to reduce the expense of funeral services, it’s important to price shop and compare prices from different providers before making a decision.
One of the biggest expenses that families often face is a traditional full-service funeral with burial. This can easily exceed $10,000 depending on the type of service chosen.
Casket costs also play a major role in determining the final price of a funeral. A typical casket costs between $2,000 and $5,000, but some mahogany, bronze or copper caskets can go for as much as $10,000 or more.
Cremation is another alternative for those who want to keep their funeral costs low. It can be a more affordable choice for some families and is growing in popularity as it allows the body to be disposed of without causing the environmental harm associated with burial.