Someone close to you has just passed away. It’s up to you to plan the funeral, and along with the fact that you don’t have much time to do so, you’re also distraught, meaning that decision-making is all the more difficult. Add to this the fact that most average Americans have little or no experience when it comes to planning a funeral, and you can become easy to take advantage of.
Enter the Funeral Rule. It’s a law that was passed in 1984 and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Under the Funeral Rule, funeral providers are required to be straightforward with potential customers concerning pricing of products and services, and whether or not the services offered are required by law. For instance:
- You’re not obligated to buy a funeral package. Instead, a funeral provider is required to let you choose the services you want. For example, if your father has just passed away and you want to use a casket from a source other than the funeral director handling his arrangements, the funeral provider is required to let you use the casket.
- A funeral provider must provide you with accurate pricing for products and services. If you inquire in person, you should be given a written price list that you can take with you.
- A funeral provider must be forthright with you about what services are- and aren’t – required by law. For instance, in Florida, embalming is not a strict legal requirement.
If you have questions about what funeral homes are –and aren’t – allowed to do, your estate planning attorney can help.