Some firms may, depending on the risk of exposure, choose to meet with some or all families virtually. This can be done via tools such as:
- Google Hangouts
This article offers helpful overviews of various tools.
When making arrangements virtually, it’s important that you give everyone a chance to speak and share their perspective, especially if the family has not gathered in one location; however, be sure you know who the legal next-of-kin is and confirm all decisions with him or her.
If arrangements are made online or over the phone, there is no requirement in the Funeral Rule for presenting or transmitting price lists to the consumer. The requirement to hand out a price list is only triggered by a face-to-face discussion. Of course, funeral homes can email their price lists or post them online so consumers have access to them when planning a funeral over the phone or electronically.
You may also wish to email copies of or links to various product catalogs.
If funeral arrangements are made, a Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected does have to be sent to the purchaser. This can be done by text, email, fax, or by mail. The Funeral Rule does not require the Statement to be signed, although most funeral homes require this so they have a written contract with the family.
All states recognize the validity of electronic signatures by consumers as long as it clear on the document they sign that they are binding themselves to a contractual obligation by applying their electronic signature. A tool like DocuSign (https://www.docusign.com) can be helpful in obtaining the needed signatures.
Please take time to review the Visitations and Funerals page in our COVID-19 information hub for information of public gatherings and suggestions about how you can accommodate the needs and wishes of families during the pandemic.