The death of a loved one is always a difficult time. However, planning a funeral can compound the grieving process because there are so many decisions to make. These decisions include deciding on a burial or cremation service.
The Funeral Bureau licenses funeral practitioners and establishments and investigates complaints. The bureau also offers resources for consumers.
It licenses embalmers and graveyards
The Funeral Bureau licenses embalmers and regulates the practices of graveyards. It also oversees the qualifications of death care professionals, and ensures that they maintain their credentials through continuing education courses. The Bureau also conducts annual inspections of licensed establishments and cemeteries, and investigates consumer/provider complaints.
The Bureau’s disciplinary panel has authority to temporarily suspend or restrict a funeral director or embalmer’s license. The panel must consider the facts presented to them at the hearing in order to make a decision. However, new evidence that was not known to the disciplinary panel at the time of the initial hearing may be considered in subsequent proceedings.
When choosing a funeral home, be sure to get an itemized statement of all costs and services offered. The statement should include casket options, burial fees, and all other costs associated with the funeral. The statement should also disclose all unallocated overhead, including taxes, insurance, and advertising. Lastly, you should get the total dollar amount in writing before signing any contracts.
It regulates the funeral industry
When a loved one dies, you may be faced with dozens of decisions to make in a short amount of time. These can include whether to bury the body or have the body cremated, and what funeral arrangement services you want to purchase. These decisions can be complicated, especially if you are not familiar with funeral industry terminology. Fortunately, the funeral consumer protection laws can help.
Under the Funeral Rule, consumers are entitled to a general price list from a funeral provider upon request. They also have the right to choose their casket and other funeral merchandise, and funeral providers must not refuse to handle a casket bought elsewhere (unless required by law).
The Board of Funeral Service licenses funeral practitioners, funeral establishments and crematoriums and registers intern embalmers and apprentices. It also investigates complaints against professionals and imposes disciplinary sanctions when necessary. The Board’s regulations are available here. The Board is an independent agency funded by fees collected from funeral homes and other industry members.
It offers assistance to families
When it comes to planning a funeral, it is important to know your rights and shop around. If possible, ask someone else who isn’t as emotionally involved to make the arrangements, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Taking the time to compare options will save you money and stress in the long run.
Many funeral homes charge a basic arrangement fee, which covers the availability of staff and equipment for an arrangement conference and securing necessary authorizations such as filing a death certificate and getting permits. Some home-based providers offer lower cost options.
Some states offer public assistance funeral funds for families who need help paying for their loved ones’ burial expenses. Families should contact their county agency to see if they are eligible for these programs. They should also be sure to document their loved one’s wishes for tissue and organ donation. This can save them thousands of dollars in the future. A good way to do this is by filling out a donor card, signing up for the New York state registry and including it in their wills.
It offers competitive prices
When someone dies, it can be a difficult time for family members. To help them make informed decisions, the FTC’s Funeral Rule requires funeral providers to give consumers a price list. However, some funeral homes don’t post these lists on their websites, making it harder for consumers to compare prices.
To help address this problem, the Commission is considering a change to the Funeral Rule that would require all funeral providers that maintain websites to make their GPLs, CPLs, and OBCPLs available online. The change would also require funeral providers to provide a link, button, or email address that consumers can use to request price information.
Commenters have also suggested other ways to improve the Funeral Rule’s disclosure requirements. For example, they suggest requiring funeral providers to offer a consumer-friendly tip sheet explaining what must be included in the price lists. Some also suggest that funeral directors should be required to review their price lists at least annually.