A funeral may be the last big purchase you make in life. It’s not unusual for a funeral today to cost more than $12,000. Like any product or service, it is important to shop around and know your legal rights as a consumer.
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces a “Funeral Rule” that governs funeral planning and the obligations of funeral homes. The Rule is designed to prevent funeral homes from forcing you to buy a “package” funeral that may include items you do not want. According to the FTC, the Funeral Rule requires a funeral home to:
- Give you an itemized price list upon request.
- Disclose any state or local requirement to buy a particular funeral-related item.
- Allow you to use a casket purchased elsewhere without paying an extra fee.
- Provide alternative containers for cremations.
Many states also regulate funeral homes and funeral services. You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes with respect to funeral, burial or cremation services are clear to your executor and heirs. Your estate planning attorney can also advise you on the legal requirements funeral homes are obliged to follow in your state.