Planning a funeral? Know your rights

Planning a funeral can be challenging, whether you’re making arrangements ahead of time, or helping others at a time of need. The Funeral Rule, enforced by the FTC, gives you rights that can make planning a funeral more satisfactory. For example, you have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service). You don’t have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.

We recently updated our information for consumers about funeral planning:

Paying Final Respects summarizes a consumer’s rights when buying funeral goods and services.

Shopping for Funeral Services is a detailed guide to funerals, goods and services, with a full-page pricing checklist.

You can order free copies at ftc.gov/bulkorder.

We also have a series of articles on our site that explain your rights, describe types of funeral products and services, and help you compare providers. You can share, copy or adapt the articles online or in your community.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

How do you go about getting a veterns burial, who do you contact and what documents are required?
What are the cost involved with a veterns burial?

Hi, Geo,

I think you'll find this website about military funeral honors helpful.

Geo, a veteran's burial can be provided at no expense to the Next of Kin and family if buried in a national cemetery. There are no reservations for national cemeteries. The DD-214 (Standard Discharge Form) or any form that states your loved one's discharge from the military other than dishonorable, is necessary to apply for burial in a national cemetery (as well as funeral honors and burial flag). The discharge paperwork must show the date of entry and date of discharge, name, SSN or Service Number, as well as the term "honorable" on it. It is best to go through a funeral home to schedule all of this because it can take time to do so. As a funeral director, I would contact the National Scheduling Office to request burial in a specific National Cemetery. Once accepted, the cemetery calls me back with a schedule and the burial proceeds from there. If you plan a burial in a private cemetery (cemetery other than national), there are Veteran's Administration benefits that you can apply for reimbursement through. Currently, the VA will reimburse up to $1,400 (the cap may have been raised recently so it's best to check with a funeral home or the Veteran's Administration). The reimbursement costs are primarily for cemetery fees and transportation to the place of burial. Other VA benefits include a standard marble or granite headstone, or bronze plaque. If you request a plaque, you will need to purchase a marble or granite base to secure it to through the cemetery. Also, you must check the cemetery's requirements and limitations to their acceptable grave markers. If a private marker has already been purchased, part of the $1,400 reimbursement amount may be applied towards it. If the plaque/headstone was also privately purchased, you may request a military service medallion to be furnished at no cost to be placed on the marker. To obtain the best service for veteran's, please check for the "We Honor Veteran's" symbol on funeral home websites as well as certificates in the funeral home that show the agency participates in this national program. You can visit the We Honor Veteran's page here to find local agencies (hospice and funeral homes) that participate near you: http://www.wehonorveterans.org/

I already posted a comment, but when I incorrectly entered the code letters and numbers,the comment box came back empty. I would suggest that you make the code words a little more readable so as not to inconvience everyone.
See if you can retrieve my comments as I wouldn't be able to retrieve what I said exactly like I said it the first time.
Just another government waste of time in my estimation at tax payers expense.

Bye!!

Geo, you know what I do when leaving a comment is copy it so if this happens you can go back in the box and paste it and you can do this over and over again as long as you don't cut or copy anything else. Sometimes I'll keep a word document and copy and paste important things I may want to share, ask, or state on several sites. The link above should point you to the info. you need. When my dad died he was given a military burial but you have to call them based on the persons ststus: retired, active duty, reserved, etc. I hope I helped and didn't offend you by answering your questions. A Friend

This is so helpful, the link to the site for this category and all the others are necessary. This was a smart and thoughtful move on your part, keep us updated and call on us when you need the people...

Thanks for helpful info!

This is helpful...people really need this.
Thanks!!

IS IT REQUIRED TO BE BURIED IN A CEMETERY? CAN I BE BURIED ON MY OWN LAND?

you mean, your backyard?

Generally speaking, yes a cemetery is the mandatory method of burial. Being buried on private land has many restrictions and qualifications. Check with your state, city, and county offices to ask about their specific restrictions. Most of the time, you will be required to have a special permit stating that humans remains are buried on the premise and you must disclose it to whomever the property is being sold to.

You may want to contact some of the groups listed in Funeral Groups and Contact Information for information about burial options.

Does my mom need to report to the credit bureaus a death of her husband?

WoodyStew, my condolences for you and your mother's loss. It is best practice to notify the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) of her husband's death. This prevents identity theft. On the note of identity theft, if your grandfather had a passport, that will have to be returned to a government agency (generally an approved post office or local social security agency), even if it is expired. This way, the government knows they have personally discarded the passport, so if the passport comes up in the future, they immediately know it is identity theft.

I want to be put in a freezer with a generator and be transported from AZ back to Lamar MO, the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman, I don;t want to be embalmed. Is this possible?

gsmartin13, yes it is possible! Refrigeration is required after 24 upon death. Be mindful of the actual temperature of a tractor trailer freezer. Generally we keep our mortuary refrigeration around 40 degrees. You may be required to purchase dry ice (our substitute for off-site refrigeration) because there is always the possibility of the freezer unit on the trailer failing and dry ice is our standard anyways. We usually change out the dry ice every 8 hours, so a trip from AZ to MO may require a few changes. You would also have to check with the transportation company if they accept transporting human remains. Generally you have to find a private third party livery company to do this. This is necessary because human remains are considered biohazard and companies can not transport food and human remains with the same vehicles (just an example, I really hope there is no one out there doing this). The best, and quickest way, we transport human remains from state to state is via airlines. Currently, I only know of three domestic airlines that do this, Southwest, Delta, and United. Frontier stopped their services late 2013 (at least in the Colorado area). You do not have to be embalmed for a flight, but dry ice is required (no more than 5 lbs) which is plenty enough. Human remains are shipped two ways, with a combination unit (simple cardboard with plywood reinforcement and padding) in which the remains are tied with straps to prevent extreme movement. The second method is to be placed in a casket or container known as a zeigler case, and in turn placed on a plywood tray, covered with cardboard to prevent damage to the container, and strapped to prevent tipping over or being exposed to damage. In either case, you do not have to be embalmed, simply 5 lbs of dry ice strategically placed in known areas of rapid decomposition, in order to slow the process. More information than you asked, but I hope this all helped!

The funeral home told my mom how much we owe on my daughters bill. is this legal, since she has no affiliaton with the account, the contract and financial document is in my name

I HAVE A COMPLAINT ABOUT A CEMETARY. WHO DO I COMPLAIN TO.

If the cemetery has a funeral home on the same grounds, you can file a complaint with the FTC.  If there isn’t a funeral home involved, you can contact your state Attorney General’s office, local consumer protection agencies or the ICCFA Cemetery Consumer Service Council .

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