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When a loved one passes away, you may be surprised to find out how many decisions there are to make when planning the funeral.
You may not even know that you have certain rights. This can make the process go more smoothly, even in a time of great emotional stress.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has a regulation in place known as the “Funeral Rule.” The most important component of that rule is that you can choose only those goods and services that you want or need for the funeral, and you must pay for only those goods and services that you prefer.
While many funeral homes offer package deals that provide various goods and services for a fixed cost, the Rule gives you the right to pick and choose so that you aren't stuck with more than what you want or need.
The Rule, however, does not apply to sellers of caskets or monuments (gravestones), or to cemeteries that aren't tied to a funeral home.
You also have several rights under the Rule to get information about the goods and services that funeral homes offer:
The bottom line is that the Funeral Rule entitles you to make the choices that are best suited to your wants and needs in this difficult and emotional situation. Once you make those choices, you have the right to see a written statement of the goods and services, as well as their prices, before you pay for them.
The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Funeral Rule. If you have a complaint about a funeral home or funeral services provider, you can contact the FTC or speak to an attorney.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified estate planning lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.