Funeral bureaus are a key part of the public’s access to funeral services. They provide assistance with arranging a funeral and helping families deal with death in a compassionate manner.
The funeral bureau also regulates and inspects funeral establishments and crematory authorities. It investigates consumer complaints and takes disciplinary action when required standards are violated.
An arrangement conference is a time set aside for you and your funeral director to meet and discuss the many details of a funeral service. This meeting typically takes about 2-3 hours.
During the conference, your funeral director will guide you through the available options and answer any questions you may have. You’ll also be given a General Price List and an Itemized Statement of Services and Merchandise to help you make your final decisions.
The basic services fee covers the funeral director and staff’s availability to respond to a death, arrangements conference, securing permits, filing the death certificate, sheltering remains, preparing notices, and other related activities. You must disclose this charge to consumers unless they can decline it.
Funeral homes are allowed to set prices for goods and services but must provide you with a General Price List before you sign a contract. The price list must include current pricing for all merchandise and services regularly offered by the funeral home.
Pre-Need Funeral Planning
Pre-Need Funeral Planning relieves your family of the responsibility of making decisions for you and gives them time to focus on your final wishes. It also helps relieve the financial burden for your survivors during an emotional time.
A funeral bureau can offer you two main types of pre-need services: prepaid funeral plans and final expense insurance.
With a prepaid funeral plan, you enter into a contract with a specific funeral home to cover all of your pre-determined funeral expenses. You can pay in one lump sum or with monthly premiums.
Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-need life insurance policy that will be paid to the funeral home upon your death. This type of plan has become very popular as the population ages.
In addition, a prepaid funeral plan can be paid for by a revocable trust where you set money aside to pay for your funeral expenses in the future. However, you must be aware that these plans have a certain degree of flexibility and are not guaranteed.
Pre-Need Funeral Arrangements
Pre-Need funeral arrangements offer consumers the opportunity to lock in prices for funeral goods and services. They are usually funded through a funeral trust, annuity or insurance policy.
The benefits of pre-need contracts are that they can be used to pay for funeral items and services in advance, thus removing the financial burden from family members during a difficult time. However, these contracts can be complicated.
Many state laws regulate pre-need contracts. The regulations vary, and some states also have separate statutes covering funeral and burial contracts.
In general, you must comply with the Rule when you sell pre-need contracts for funeral goods and services to individuals. You must also comply with the Rule when you change a person’s pre-need contract after that person’s death.
Funeral bureaus offer a variety of final arrangements. They can provide traditional burial or cremation services, or you may choose to have your body cremated with a new process called alkaline hydrolysis.
In addition, many providers offer pre-need funeral plans. These can help relieve your survivors of the burden of making these difficult decisions at a time when they are most stressed and confused.
These plans can also include other options, such as donating your organs or tissue to medical science. If you choose to pre-need your funeral, be sure to consult with an attorney to make sure that you have a written plan and your wishes are carried out.
Whether you decide to pre-need or not, it is a good idea to discuss your preferences with your family members. It is also a good idea to have a funeral planning agent appointed to oversee your decisions and carry out your wishes.