Know Your Legal Rights


Under the Funeral Rule, The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that you have the right to use the casket of your choice without paying an extra fee to the funeral home.  Unfortunately, there are still some funeral homes that take advantage,  either refusing to sell the package without the casket, or charging an additional fee for using a pre-purchased casket.  (It has been reported that some funeral homes charged up to $1500 to use a casket that had already been purchased.)

If you meet with a Funeral Home that refuses to use a pre-purchased casket or tries to charge you a fee for using it, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Say "no thanks" and leave. There is NO reason to do business with a Funeral Home that does not comply with FTC regulations and puts money above the needs of you and your family during a difficult time.   
  2. Find a funeral home that will not charge you an extra fee.  If your loved one is already in a funeral home that wants to charge you an extra fee, a reputable funeral home will be glad to go pick up your loved one and not charge you for what has already been completed.  This is making the best of a bad situation.
  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the extra fee they were going to charge you. The Funeral Rule clearly states they cannot charge an extra fee.

The Funeral Rule also states:

  • You have the right to choose the funeral goods and services you want (with some exceptions).
  • The funeral provider must state this  in writing on the general price list.
  • If state or local law requires you to buy any particular item, the funeral provider must disclose it on the price list, with a reference to the specific law.
  • The funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket you bought elsewhere.
  • A funeral provider that offers cremations must make alternative containers available.

                          Louisiana monks win coffin case again

   The Associated Press, NEW ORLEANS --- A federal appeals court said .... that Benedictine monks may keep selling coffins from their monastery in Louisiana.

   The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in favor of St. Joseph Abbey and against the state board of funeral directors' rule that only state-licensed funeral directors can legally sell coffins in Louisiana.

   Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote that the directors offered no rational basis for their rule.

   An attorney for the monks calls the decision a landmark.  Jeff Rowes said ... that it's among a handful of federal appeals courts decisions since the New Deal striking down economic regulations as unconstitutional.