FAQ for Funeral Payment Plans

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by Lori Pace

Before applying for Funeral Assistance Program, it is essential to understand your rights, funeral rules, and funeral payment plans.

Your Funeral Rights Regarding Funeral Payment Plans

When a family suffers from the loss of their beloved one, they are left with countless decisions about the funeral, which need to be made quickly. These include:

  • What kind of funeral?
  • Which funeral services should we use?
  • How much should we spend?
  • Is there anything else to buy besides a casket?
Flowers, Funeral, Memorial, Goodbye, Mourning, Death
A loss of family members left you with countless decisions and confusions

Each year, thousands of families struggle with the expensive funeral costs. Sometimes, families will end up paying for services and goods that they don’t need.

An excellent first step is understanding your rights regarding funeral expenses and other burial costs.

Funeral Laws and Regulations regarding burials vary from state to state, and understanding them can be daunting. Knowing and understanding all of your options will help reduce the stress of funeral planning and protect your rights when interacting with funeral homes. Learn more about what to do when a loved one dies.

What is the Funeral Rule – General and Funeral Payment Plans?

In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) instituted the Funeral Rule. The rule stops funeral homes from forcing clients to buy their services and goods.

The main aim of the rule was to assist clients in knowing their rights when it comes to paying for funeral costs.

The Funeral Rule outlines the rights that consumers have when paying for funerals. The rule gives the following rights for the consumers:

Only buy the goods and services you want

There are funeral homes that offer package deals that include goods and services that you don’t need. Under the Funeral Rule, you won’t have to buy a funeral package that items that you don’t want or need.

You can receive the prices over the phone.

Funeral homes have to give out their pricing information about their goods and services. You have the right to request this from a funeral home.

Also, you don’t have to give your personal information to funeral homes when you request their pricing information.

You have a right to receive an itemized statement for their goods and services.

A funeral home must provide a General Price List (GPL) that you can keep with the Funeral Rule. This list will include each cost of their goods and services.

You have the right to see a casket price list.

You have the right to see a casket price list, thanks to the Funeral Rule. These price lists should include a date and a printed list of casket prices that have the ones that aren’t on display.

Remember that most funeral homes will only display a few caskets in their showrooms. These will often be their best, and sometimes more expensive, caskets. The list will give you more options from which to choose.

Get a written price list for outer burial containers / grave liners

Grave liners or outer burial containers box in the cask when it’s placed in the ground. According to state laws, caskets don’t need grave liners for burial. But there are plenty of cemeteries that want grave liners so that the graves won’t cave in.

Some funeral homes might not sell these grave liners. If you find a funeral home that does, you’ll need to ensure that it’s listed on the GPL you’re given. You can also request a price for these containers if it’s not listed on the GPL.

Get a written statement after you’ve decided what you want

Before you pay for the services and products you’ve chosen, you should get a written statement. This written statement should include what you selected and the precise cost of each item and service.

There should include of the products and services and their cost. You should also tell the funeral home of any needed services that might cost extra money.

Find an alternative container for cremations.

In the US, no law says you have to buy a casket for cremation. A funeral home needs to let you know about any alternative containers that they have for sale.

Use your own urn or casket.

You don’t have to buy a casket or even an alternative container for cremation. A funeral provider can’t prevent you from using a casket or urn that you brought in somewhere else.

By law, the funeral provider can’t charge you a handling fee. The funeral home receives the casket or urn after the cremation. You don’t have to be present.

Skip the embalming process with funeral arrangements

Not all state laws say that the deceased needs to be embalmed. If there isn’t a burial or cremation in some states, you should have the body embalmed in a certain amount of time.  

In some cases, it’s acceptable to use refrigeration as a substitute for embalming. If you use immediate burial and direct cremation services, you don’t need to use embalming. It’s also important to remember that a funeral home can’t embalm a body without your permission.

FAQ about Payment for Funerals

Are you allowed to create a fundraising campaign to pay for funeral expenses?

Yes, you can have a fundraiser to pay for funeral expenses. Hosting a fundraiser has always been an option for struggling families.

You can reach out to your local church and social groups for fundraisers. You also have the option of hosting a car wash and bake sale to raise funds. Now, there are online crowdfunding platforms to reach out to more people.

Are there funeral benefits for victims of crime?

Yes, there is help for victims of crimes. Different states have crime victim compensation programs. Other grants might not cover the expenses covered by this victim compensation program. 

Do labor and trade unions offer funeral help?

If the deceased was a trade or labor union member, the union might pay the death benefits. The union might even pay death benefits for members’ relatives and their spouses.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!