The Funeral Bureau

The Board regulates the practice of embalming, funeral directing and the operation of funeral establishments. The Board also investigates complaints and imposes disciplinary sanctions.

The Human Resources Administration offers financial assistance to reimburse for funeral expenses for low-income New York City residents. Find out more here.


Licensed funeral directors, embalmers and apprentice embalmers and funeral establishments are regulated by state law. Funeral service workers must take continuing education courses to stay current with the latest changes in the funeral profession. This is to ensure that they offer the best possible service to families during one of their most difficult times.

In New York, it is against the law for anyone to make funeral arrangements or prepare a body without a license. It is also illegal to charge interest on an outstanding balance after a loved one’s death, unless the charge was disclosed when arrangements were first made.

If the deceased was a tissue or organ donor, it’s important to honor those wishes. This can be done by checking the registry, signing a donor space on the back of a driver’s license, including the wish in a will, and informing family members. It is also a good idea to get a copy of the death certificate for insurance purposes, banks, probate court and for bringing any lawsuits.


Your business must comply with the Funeral Rule if it sells both funeral goods and funeral services to the public. The Rule defines “funeral goods” as caskets and outer burial containers, and “funeral services” as your basic professional fees and other charges you make for items or services that you purchase from a third party on behalf of consumers — for example, transportation costs, newspapers, clergy honoraria, flowers, musicians or singers, and obituary notices.

Some funeral providers enter into agreements with religious groups, burial societies or memorial societies to provide arrangements at special prices for group members. Even so, you must provide price lists to anyone who inquires in person about your funeral goods and services, including representatives of these groups.

You must offer the General Price List (GPL) to anyone who asks about it, whether in person or by telephone or mail. You must also offer an itemized Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected to anyone who chooses a package.


Whether you’re dealing with a funeral director, embalmer, or cemetery salesperson, you want to be sure they will honor your wishes. If they don’t, you can file a complaint with the state’s licensing and regulatory body.

Keeping your loved ones’ wishes in mind is especially important if they chose to be organ or tissue donors. This means signing the donor space on their driver’s license, including their intentions in their wills and informing family members.

The California Cemetery & Funeral Bureau regulates and investigates complaints against funeral establishments, funeral directors, embalmers, apprentice embalmers, and cemetery salespersons as well as the nearly 200 licensed cemeteries in the state of California. For more information, visit their website. The Funeral Consumers Alliance has promoted advance planning for funeral needs and the consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral since 1963. The LAFS is an independent, non-profit, education organization devoted to these goals. This website is a resource for consumers, students, educators, and industry professionals.


Compassion is a social feeling of concern for the welfare and happiness of others and a genuine desire to help alleviate their suffering. It is not the same as pity, empathy or love, and it involves active engagement with suffering, rather than simply wishing or hoping that someone will experience less pain.

To become more compassionate, one must first understand the human experience. The best way to do this is by putting yourself in other people’s shoes and imagining what they are going through. You must also avoid judgment and instead focus on the person’s humanity and dignity.

True compassion interrupts your routine, your schedule, and sometimes even your comfort zone. It may mean sacrificing something more valuable with your time (in the business world, this is called opportunity cost) for the sake of helping a friend in need. It could mean offering to help a stranger on the side of the road, or it could be as simple as lending an ear to someone who needs to talk.

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