The decision to preplan your funeral is a very personal one. It is very normal to approach this decision with a great amount of anxiety due to the sensitivity that can surround this subject. Those who ultimately take the important step of documenting their wishes regarding their funeral and ultimately sharing these decisions with loved ones usually express a great sense of comfort and relief.
How do I start the process?
Begin by identifying what you and your family need and want for a funeral and how much you can afford. You should know that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Funeral Rule regulates funeral providers. The rule protects consumers by requiring all funeral homes to provide a General Price List with the current cost of each item and service offered. The price list must also disclose information about your right of selection, embalming, containers for cremation, cash advances and any required purchases.
Cash advances are for goods and services that may be paid for by the funeral provider on your behalf, such as flowers, obituaries, a cemetery plot, pallbearers or clergy honoraria. If the funeral provider adds a service fee or receives a discount, refund or rebate for providing this service, it must disclose this fact to you.
Can you plan a funeral in advance without paying for it?
Yes. It is possible to select funeral goods and services in advance with a specific funeral home without prefunding a funeral. You many also choose to pay for a funeral in advance without selecting specific goods and services. If you do either of these, be aware that the price of a funeral usually will not be guaranteed.
When you choose to fund a funeral in advance, you’re entering a contractual agreement with the funeral home. Each state regulates preneed agreements (or contracts), and many states strictly regulate the content of the preneed contract.
Check with your funeral director, the attorney general’s office or funeral regulatory board or agency in your state for specific information.
Who can help me prearrange my funeral?
In several states, only funeral directors may prearrange funerals. Check your state laws and the credentials of the person offering the preneed contract. If he or she is not with a funeral home, ask to see a copy of the agreement between this person and the funeral home you wish to use to conduct the funeral.
How can I learn more about planning my funeral in advance?
To obtain detailed information about arranging the funeral you want, contact a funeral home in your community with a reputation for reliability and quality service. NFDA-member funeral homes, as a condition of membership, are required to follow the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct signifying their commitment to ethical business practices. Every circumstance, every person and every family is unique. Your NFDA funeral director will help you plan a meaningful funeral that meets your personal needs and purpose.