Did you know that you do not have to buy funeral packages from your funeral home? Whether you plan your own funeral in advance or you have to plan the funeral of a loved one, you should know that you have rights in regards to funeral services.
The Funeral Rule is a law monitored by the Federal Trade Commission. Understanding your rights when purchasing funeral goods can save you money and allow you to only get the services you wish to have.
The Funeral Rule requires a funeral home to provide you with prices for services and goods via the phone and by written statement before you purchase those services. The funeral home must let you know all services that are included in a package and give you the exact price for each service. They must also let you see a price list of caskets or urns. Seeing individual prices can help you shop around for the lowest priced funeral goods. Once you have made your choices, your funeral home must give you an itemized list of all that you are purchasing before you pay.
Funeral homes will often try to sell a package that includes many services that are not actually required by law. For services that are legally required, your funeral home must provide a written explanation. They also must allow you to use an urn or other container instead of a casket if you choose cremation over burial. If you wish to shop around and save money on a casket or urn, your funeral home must accept whatever container you purchase. They cannot require you to use one of their caskets or urns.
This rule was enacted to ensure that funeral homes don’t take advantage of grieving loved ones during a time of distress. If you have questions about what funeral homes can or can’t do, contact your estate planning attorney and they can help advise you on your next step.