When a loved one dies, family members are confronted with dozens of decisions, often under great emotional duress. These include what kind of funeral to hold, what funeral home to use, and whether the body should be buried or cremated.
To help consumers, the Board regulates funeral establishments, funeral directors, and embalmers; and cemetery brokers, salespersons, and managers. It also investigates consumer complaints.
They are regulated by the California Department of Consumer Affairs
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau licenses, regulates, investigates complaints against 13 different licensing categories: funeral establishments; funeral directors; embalmers and apprentice embalmers; cemetery brokers/branch/additional and cemetery salespersons; cremation service providers; and nearly 200 licensed private cemeteries in California. The Bureau also promotes advance funeral planning and protects consumers’ right to choose a meaningful, dignified, and affordable funeral.
It is important to ask questions and compare prices when shopping for funeral services. Federal law requires funeral establishments to provide you with a General Price List and Casket Price List when you ask for them in person. They must also include a separate list of the prices for outer burial containers.
You should always check the website of your state’s department of consumer affairs to find out whether the funeral home and cemetery are regulated. In addition, you should be wary of fees and charges that may not be necessary.
They are a non-profit organization
Funeral services can be very emotional and stressful for both the deceased and their family members. It is important to consider the options carefully and make arrangements that will be meaningful to you and your loved ones. Funeral directors can help you find the right casket or urn and arrange a service that will honor your deceased loved one’s wishes. They can also provide assistance with submitting papers to state authorities and filing a death certificate. They can also help you get information about pension or insurance companies so that your loved ones will be able to claim their benefits.
Licensing and education requirements vary by state for funeral service professionals. If you are planning to work as a funeral director, you should contact your state funeral board to learn more about licensing and certification requirements. It is also a good idea to ask your funeral home to provide you with an itemized statement of goods and services selected (not just the bundled “funeral package”). Also, it’s important to have your funeral home obtain at least five or ten copies of the death certificate.
They are a middleman
Arrangements for a loved one’s funeral are often made under stress by individuals who are grieving or under time constraints. These people may not be able to fully understand the options available to them, how much they cost, or which products and services are required by law. To help them make decisions, the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requires funeral providers to give consumers price information over the phone or in person and to let them keep it.
It is illegal for a funeral provider to charge interest on an unpaid balance unless it was disclosed when arrangements were first made and listed on the itemized statement. It is also illegal for a funeral home to charge for products or services that you do not want, even if state law requires them.
Many funeral homes offer prepaid burial or cremation plans that allow you to pay in advance and relieve your family of the burden of arranging and paying for the funeral later on. Generally, these plans must be backed by a bank guarantee.
They are a career
Funeral service workers are caring people who help bereaved families arrange a dignified and respectful ceremony for the deceased. They meet with the family to discuss the wishes of the deceased, including where a funeral or memorial service will be held and whether burial or cremation is desired. They also arrange transportation for the deceased and mourners. They may also assist with the paperwork involved, such as submitting papers to state authorities and notifying pension or insurance companies about a death.
High school students interested in pursuing a career as a mortician or funeral director should consider taking science and social studies courses. Many colleges and universities offer associate degrees in mortuary science. After graduating, a funeral service worker must complete an apprenticeship with a licensed funeral director or embalmer. This internship usually lasts one to three years and may be completed before, during, or after the student’s education program. Students must also pass a national board exam administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards to become licensed.